Optically Illusive Architecture: Producing Depthless Objects Using Principles of Linear Perspective

Publication Type:

Conference Proceedings


ACADIA 2017: DISCIPLINES & DISRUPTION , Acadia Publishing Company, Volume Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), Cambridge, MA, p.274--283 (2017)






design methods, form finding, information processing, representation



Architecture is a discipline with a long history of engagement with representational techniques borrowed from artforms such as painting and drawing. Historically, these techniques enable artists to translate three-dimensional space into a two-dimensional medium, while architecture tends to work in reverse, using the latter to express yet-to-be-realized projects in the former. This investigation leads to specific methods of linear perspectival representation that manipulate our perception of spatial depth, such as trompe l’oeil and anamorphic projection. Referencing these methods, we introduce the concept of an optically illusive architecture. While referencing a wide range of visually deceptive effects, we focus on synthesizing two-dimensional patterns into three-dimensional objects for the purpose of producing a depthless reading of three-dimensional space. In this paper, we outline optically illusive architecture and look at the initial stages of a design experiment that attempts to bring the perception of flatness into a three-dimensional object. This is achieved by building a simple algorithm that reverses linear perspectival projection to produce two-dimensional effects through a three-dimensional physical object. We analyze the results by comparing the two- and three-dimensional projections against one another from varying points of view in space, and speculate on the possible applications for such a design.


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