Illusional architecture

An overview of projects, products and exclusive articles about illusional architecture

Project • By MVRDVHousing

Balancing Barn

The MVRDV project is built on a beautiful site by a small lake in the English countryside near Thorington in Suffolk. From the road, the barn is almost invisible; the front being only 7 metres wide, with a pitched roof, faces the long straight driveway approach, suggesting a small house with a traditional shape. The volume, however, has a length of 30 metres. At the midpoint it starts to cantilever over the descending slope; a balancing act made possible by the rigid structure of the building; resulting in 50% of the barn being in free space, and giving a wide view over the Suffolk landscape, adjacent lake and surrounding gardens. The long sides of the structure are well hidden by trees allowing privacy inside and around the barn. The exter... More

Project • By EASTERN Design OfficeCities

On the Corner

A castle where the boys and girls of the story of Michael Ende could be entering. It is a triangular building configured by the square elements! On the corner ------------- The site is a manufacturing area in Youkaichi City in Shiga Prefecture. There are many big factories in this town. A lot of immigrants from South America live here among the local people. This is a residential area as well an industrial area. It is also a popular drinking area where many bars and restaurants for such common people are scattered. There is a highway interchange nearby the town. The shape of the lot is a sharp triangle which is unusual for building a house. The site is a wedge-shaped flatiron lot which remained at a corner where two streets meet a... More

Project • By AL_A (Amanda Levete Architects)Offices

10 Hills Place

Many narrow streets and alleyways off Oxford Street, London are currently misused and underdeveloped. These under regarded areas are ideal not only for improvement, but also for relatively unconventional design opportunities. Our proposal acknowledges this by providing an architectural intervention that subtly draws attention to the building through the intrigue of a sculptural façade. Inspired by the art work of Lucio Fontana large glazed areas orientated towards the sky are slashed into the façade, maximising the natural light available in this narrow street. This sculptural form is achieved using a system of aluminium profiles used in the production of high quality, ship hulls. The facade is fabricated using curved 140mm wide aluminium... More

Project • By Ants of the PrairieGolf Courses

Intensified Reflections

INTENSIFIED REFLECTIONS is Hole 7 in “City of Dreams,” a nine-hole miniature golf course constructed and installed as part of the FIGMENT Festival during the summer of 2008. If there is any ‘sport’ that is emblematic of the spirit of democracy it is Miniature Golf. In 1867, when it was considered ‘unacceptable’ for women to swing golf clubs back past their shoulders, the Ladies Putting Club was formed in Scotland. During the period of the Great Depression, when American Society looked toward inexpensive forms of leisure, Miniature Golf took on the status as a form of entertainment for the masses, with the first corporate miniature golf franchise established in 1929. In 1926, the skyline of Manhattan was already subtly reshaped by over 150 r... More

Project • By EASTERN Design OfficeApartments

Slit Court

The essence of this architecture lies in an inner court. The site is at Sumizome, Fushimi, Kyoto. It is a small town with a long and distinguished history, situated south of Tofukuji temple. Facing to south, the building is built on a gentle slope. It is a collective housing of five stories. Two tenants occupy the front and back side of the first floor. There are four units on the second to fourth floor and two units on the fifth floor. The site of a Japanese house is generally small and a narrow lot is facing to a narrow street. Even in a historic town, it happens that such a narrow street is turned to a main street to be the transportation route for cars, then it is no more a place where town people had once shared joy of living t... More

Project • By BIG - Bjarke Ingels GroupLaboratories

Paris Parc

BIG + Paris-based architects OFF, engineers Buro Happold, consultants Michel Forgue and environmental engineer Franck Boutte is the winning team to design the new 15.000 m2 research centre for Sorbonne’s Scientific university Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. The new multidisciplinary research centre, Paris PARC, located between Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe and the open green park of the Jussieu Campus will become a significant addition to the campus, strengthening the international appeal and openness of the leading French University for Science and Medicine. The facility will bring together academic scholars and the busi­ness community, while re-connecting the university physically and visually with the city of Paris... More

Project • By OUALALOU+CHOI (formerly named Kilo)Masterplans

Place Pietri

Situated in the heart of Morocco’s capital city of Rabat, the plaza creates a dynamic new public gathering space which encourages both planned and spontaneous urban and cultural events. Previously, the plaza consisted of the residual space between four vehicular roads. By sinking the core of the plaza and re-attaching two sides of the plaza to pedestrian thoroughfares, we created an urban ‘living room’ which shelters public activity from the busy streets. The primary entry to the plaza consists of an integrated ramp structure which gives the plaza the quality of an outdoor auditorium. The materiality and tectonics of the plaza are intentionally mute, and the use of local granite reinforces the illusion that the project is carved out o... More

Project • By Make ArchitectsPrivate Houses

Thetford Forest Aerial Walkway

This treetop walkway and interpretation centre for a unique visitor attraction in the heart of East Anglia's Thetford Forest have been designed in collaboration with Expedition Engineering.The walkway creates a new aerial route that loops half a kilometre through the canopy of the mature woodland, rising from 13.5 to 27 metres above the forest floor and offering a unique perspective on the natural environment. A supporting web of timber spars and cables is minimal enough to be virtually invisible against the background treescape. Wheelchair access is provided by a windmill-powered passenger lift counterbalanced by a tank of water, ensuring the project is entirely carbon neutral in use. At the entrance to the site, a ticket office and int... More

Project • By VeeV DesignMemorial spaces

Beyond Quantities: National Aids Memorial

". . .It sometimes seems to me that a pestilence has struck the human race in its most distinctive faculty. . .that is, the use of words. It is a plague afflicting language, revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous, and abstract formulas, to dilute meanings, to blunt the edge of expressiveness, extinguishing the spark that shoots out from the collision of words and new circumstances. . . ." Italo Calvino, "Exactitude" Six Memos for the Next Millennium, 1985 Since 1981, when AIDS was discovered and has become part of our awareness, we have responded with fear and awe at the horror of the epidemic. Now, AIDS and HIV appear in our consciousne... More

Project • By EnotaShops


Gruškovje border shop is situated between two border controls, on the border crossing between Slovenia and Croatia. This is an environment where everything is subordinated to function, and where are only few typological settings to which one could relate to when planning a building. It is a space in which direct spatial answers to numerous functional predicaments intertwine and where unrelated elements of distinctive technical solutions are cumulated, while an integrated approach and aesthetics are often ignored. Gruškovje border-crossing shop is situated in a narrow space between two roads. It has a very simple program where, besides the placement of the entrance for visitors and the service entrance, the facility does not need any other... More

Project • By EASTERN Design OfficeHousing

Villa Saitan

Villa Saitan The site is in Nishioji-hachijo, Kyoto. From the main street we enter into a covert place along an alley of 4 meters in width. This construction is a collective housing consisting of 11 units. The impersonality of segmental housing complex is completely concealed in this architecture. Instead it is built to be seen as one big house. The architecture is covered with a wall in which holes are cut. The shape of the holes resembles a trunk, leaves, a root and bulbs. It also can be seen as clouds floating over the trees. Concrete shape which is based on nature turns into a hollow cave, light, and sunbeams filtered through trees. The idea of windows like sunbeams filtered through trees has developed with the followin... More

Project • By SO – ILPavilions


Get It Louder (, an acclaimed biannual media and arts festival sponsored by Modern Media of China, features a series of lectures, screenings and exhibitions by over one hundred Chinese and foreign designers, artists, writers and filmmakers. Organized by an international team including Chinese curator and writer Ou Ning and design writer Aric Chen, this year’s theme “SHARISM” focuses on the relationship between public and private realms in the digital age. SO-IL was commissioned to design Get It Louder’s main pavilion, which serves as a central hub for the event and houses many of the festival’s activities. SO - IL conceived the "Flockr" pavilion as a structure that responds to its environment while also creating a s... More

Project • By Rojkind ArquitectosOffices

Nestle Application Group

In his “Atlantida de hormigón”, Reyner Banham posits “a casual connection, conscious and cultural, between modern architecture and industrial utilitarian structures of an industrial epoch”. From Loos and Berhens to Gropius and Le Corbusier among others, in the beginning of the 20th century, a constant back and forth was established between architecture and industrial construction - up until this time marginalized in Architecture - that would continue to be a characteristic of contemporary architecture. To reinvent the industrial world was a task with which architecture had paid back the favor of having been shown the path as to how to disengage of the heavy formal and stylistically weight of almost two centuries of vacuous rhetoric and eccl... More

Project • By UNStudioTownscapes

Burnham Pavilion

Placed on the unique location in the middle of Millennium Park framed by the Lake Michigan on one site and Michigan Avenue on the other, the UNStudio pavilion relates itself to diverse city-contexts, -programs and -scales. Programmatically the pavilion invites people to, gather together, walk around and through, to explore and watch. The UNStudio pavilion is sculptural, very accessible and it acts as an urban activator. Based on the specificity of the site, the design of the pavilion develops an elaborated relationship to the existing form of a rigid geometry but it also introduces a floating and multi-directional space. It orients itself to the city texture, to the flows of visitors exploring Millennium Park and most importantly introdu... More