Beyond the Pale

Croydon Arts Store

16 August-26 August 2018

Rather than books, current topics in architecture magazines include extravagant designs, the promise versus the given, and the backstage aspects behind architecture in the practice.

'Building Stories' was an exhibition that took place in Lisbon by architects De Vylder Vinck Taillieu, Maio and Ricardo Bak Gordon. It is centred around the idea of what cannot be easily perceived at first glance in the built environment.

The action of turning walls inside-out to show what they are made off, often poorer materials in terms of aesthetics as much as in value, I believe shows the honest and humble side of building. It is an invitation to  think about the hands that make it.

In the same way, the photographic series by Fernando Alda's entitled 'The Aesthetic of Vanishing' not only shows the specific moment of architecture under construction but it also draws attention to the practical solutions in the process of building. These moments that are not meant to be beautiful or pleasing to the eye, but strictly fundtional, yet the way they are portrayed in the work elevates it to new aesthetics (don't know).

Another current discussion is the reality of finalized buildings versus their initially revealed architectural renderings. Herzog and de Meuron's 56 Leonard in New York is probably the project to have started the discussion on the visuals used to sell properties against what the final building looks like. By putting both together, the render and the pictures, clear discrepancies can be seen such as materials and constructive solutions such as window frames used in reality that were not considered for the visuals.


It is true that architectural visuals are made for advertising purposes such as any other product so the question is how far do hiper-realistic images should go. I believe another issue is the point of view chosen for the visuals. These are often impossible to actually be seen in real life that the question should also be, if these buildings made for which audience to enjoy, the pedestrian every day, birds, or maybe an office in a skyscraper.