Monday, 16 September 2013


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15 Amazing Examples of Invisible Architecture
By Alison Nastasi,
Flavorwire, 15 September 2013.

Architecture the James Turrell way states: “The qualities of the space must be seen, and the architecture of the form must not be dominant.” That’s the approach one firm is taking with the Tower Infinity in South Korea. It’s being marketed as the first “invisible skyscraper.” The building will be wrapped in a “reflective skin” that reveals the surrounding environment.

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South Korea’s Tower Infinity. Credit: © GDS Architects, via Inhabitat.

Camouflaged buildings are nothing new, but architects and designers are still learning how to refine and conceptualize these structures to help people experience form and space in unique ways. This transparency lends a beautiful and often fragile quality to buildings, but it can also be a poignant statement about man’s intrusion upon the environment. Here are 15 examples of invisible buildings we love.

1. Cairns Botanic Gardens, Australia

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Photo via Dezeen

The Cairns Botanic Gardens in Australia, designed by Charles Wright Architects, minimizes intrusion upon the landscape. “We proposed a design which literally reflects the gardens as camouflage for the building,” designers stated. The surrounding tropical plants mirrored along the visitor’s centre transformed the entryway into an inviting, nature-filled space.

2. Cadyville Sauna, New York, USA

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Photos via Architizer

The Cadyville Sauna sits along the Saranac River in upstate New York, built against a cliff (part of which is used as an interior wall) and covered in mirrors. Reflections of trees and the surrounding space toy with your sense of perception. The sauna is a true meditative hideaway.

3. Moses Bridge, Netherlands

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Photos via Simbiosis News

RO&AD Architects designed this pedestrian bridge (the Moses Bridge) that creates the illusion people are walking through water.


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The perfect space for a game of hide and seek, MIRRORRORRIM was designed by 360 Architecture and totally blends into its grassy surroundings. Holes along the mirrored surfaces of the towering fort allow people to see out.

5. Blur Building, Switzerland

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Photo credit: Norbert Aepli/Wikimedia Commons, via Alphabet City.

The Blur Building was a pavilion at the Swiss EXPO 2002 that cantilevered out over Lake Neuch√Ętel in Switzerland. The structure camouflages itself through a built-in system of nozzles and jets (over 13,000 of them) that spray a mist of water and fog around the building. A 400-foot ramp leading up to the pavilion reinforced the illusion of walking into a giant cloud - which measured over 300 feet wide and was controlled by an on-site weather station.

6. Juniper House, Sweden

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Photos via PVC Construct

Hans Murman and Ulla Alberts designed the Juniper House. The optical illusion of its vanishing facade was created with a three-sided, semi-transparent cloth and steel structure. A printed photo of the surrounding juniper trees helped to disguise the house, depending upon your viewing angle.

7. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

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Photos via Dezeen

The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland consists of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, created from an ancient volcanic eruption. This visitor centre creates an additional sculptural element along the landscape. “It is both visible and invisible; invisible from the cliff side yet recognizable from the land side,” firm Heneghan Peng Architects said.

8. Treehotel, Sweden

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Photos via Facade Point and via Buamai

9. MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts, USA

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Photo via Cogadget

Master architect Fumihiko Maki designed the new MIT Media Lab. It’s made from over 163,000-square-feet of glass, which conceptually emphasizes the institute’s goals of collaboration amongst researchers.

10. Log House, Hilversum, Netherlands

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Photos via and via Dornob

This structure, a modular recording studio and part-time living space designed by Hans Linberg, blends in with its woodsy surroundings when the doors and windows are closed.

11. Camouflage View by Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch

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Photos via Mocoloco and via WeWasteTime

Architects Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch created the ultimate secret garden with this invisible privacy screen. [More images]

12. Optical Glass House, Hiroshima, Japan

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Photo via ideasgn

The Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura offers a unique view of a courtyard filled with trees just beyond a glass brick wall. “The serene soundless scenery of the passing cars and trams imparts richness to life in the house,” the architect said.

13. Concept Glass Home by Carlo Santambrogio

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Photos via Trend Hunter

The Santambrogiomilao Group’s concept house is made entirely of glass - even the furniture.

14. H’ House, Maastricht, Netherlands

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Photo via Archdaily

One couple’s home in the Netherlands - the H’ House by Wiel Arets Architects - defines private and public space with glass walls and curtains. Their formal garden is sometimes open to the public for performances, so flexible visibility was key.

15. The Pinnacle at Symphony Place, Nashville, USA

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Photo via Uberly

The eco-friendly Pinnacle at Symphony Place in Nashville proves that skyscrapers can be unassuming. [Pinnacle at Symphony Place website]

Top image: South Korea’s Tower Infinity. Credit: © GDS Architects, via DesignTAXI.

[Source: Flavorwire. Edited. Top image and some links added.]

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