All posts filed under: Architectural Effects

Faces on buildings

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Architectural Effects / Forgotten Spaces / Popular / Uncanny
face in the east village

There’s something special about faces on buildings. I don’t mean advertising billboards—even when painted on, billboards are too slick to have the same affect. Faces on buildings stare out at you like a totemic god, a tiny shrine writ large. I spotted this first face in the Greektown neighborhood of downtown Detroit. It’s wry and literary-looking. This face, a portrait of Ann Frank, is more commanding. It’s visually stark in large blocks of black and […]


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Architectural Effects / Material Culture / Popular / Rococo / Uncanny
1767 Fragonard

I have fallen in love with Bittertang. They are a duo of artist/architects who refer to their studio as “the farm.” Michael Loverich and Antonio Torres spoke last Tuesday night at Parsons, accepting The Architectural League Prize (one of six firms to win it this year), and introducing their bizarre work. They espouse a love for the hilarious and the pleasurable, and point to the Rococo as an underutilized source of inspiration. (They showed a […]

Outlines and dark reveals

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Architectural Effects

There’s significance in an outline, especially a black one. Van Gogh began painting objects and subjects with a heavy outline after discovering an aesthetic affinity for Japanese woodcuts, which used the same technique in a flattened space. Consider the pool table in The Night Café (Yale University Art Gallery, 1888), or the coat in Self-portrait with bandaged ear and pipe (private collection, 1889). In sculpture and architecture, outlines are less common. Objects are three dimensional, […]