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THE ART OF MISDIRECTION - INVISIBLE ARCHITECTURE

Today the growing trend in modern architecture is the desire to blend into the landscape to be striking yet subtle to be ‘invisible’!

Whilst it may seem impossible to make a building completely disappear, architectures are able to blend buildings into their surroundings by creating an optical illusion using camouflage, screens, mirrors and mimetic mesh.


Below we look at some stunning examples from around the world...


Tower Infinity - Seoul, South Korea

Tower infinity in Seoul, South Korea, is probably the best example of ‘invisible architecture’ used in commercial design. Designed by U.S based GDS Architects the glass 1,476 building creates the illusion of invisibility through the use of a sophisticated digital processing system attached to the façade which by using series of cameras captures real time images of the buildings surroundings and then projects them off the buildings glass surface.



In total eighteen optical cameras have been placed around the building at varying heights – these cameras then transmit real-time images of the buildings background to over 500 rows of strategically placed LED screens creating a seamless image and merging the building into it’s surroundings rendering it completely invisible.


The Cira Centre - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Known locally as the ‘ghost building’ the Circa Centre was designed by renowned American-Argentine architect Cesar Pelli who by using a clever reflective surface and LEDs is able to create the optical illusion of blending this imposing building into the cities skyline.

Standing at over 133 meters in height the building is a highly visible landmark but thanks to the varying design angles and use of a clever lighting system which uses LED’s and a silver glass curtain the façade darkens during the day to reflect the surrounding city skyline, and at night changes colour to create different patterns and effects.


Whilst this building is not completely invisible the clever reflective qualities of the glass curtain and the varying design angles of the building means the building reflects the ever changing patterns of the sky looming like a shadow on the horizon



‘Mirrorcube’ - Tree hotel - Harads, Sweden

Nestled within the trees just 60meters for the artic circle the ‘mirrorcube’ by Tham and Videgard Architects is a lightweight mirrored structure, which reflects its surroundings and the sky above creating a camouflaged refuge.

At only 4 meters high, and 4 meters wide and hanging 4 meters above the ground the ‘mirrorcube’, which is anchored to a single tree and clad entirely in mirrored glass reflects everything around it; the trees, the birds, the clouds, the sun, everything rendering it completely invisible which caused birds to fly directly into it. To prevent this the designers covered the walls with a infrared film which is invisible to the human eye but highly visible to birds.



Cairns Botanic Garden & Visitors Centre - Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Designed to be invisible amongst the surrounding trees the Cairns Botanic Garden is a mirror –clad building, which literally reflects the surroundings in which it is set in.

Drawing inspiration from the 1987 sci-fi film Predator, Architects Charles Wright used panels of reflective material each placed at slightly different angles to muddle the reflected images to simply camouflage the building.


Palaon Research & Experience - Zurich, Germany

The camouflaged Palaon Research & Experience centre designed by swiss firm Architects Holzer & Kobler in collaboration with AG blends effortlessly into its stark surroundings thanks in part to its metallic mirrored skin which reflects the changing light.

The mirrored aluminium planks, which are placed diagonally across the building, absorbs the natural light and has the unique ability to reflect 360 degrees of its natural scenery thus becoming one with it’s environment.


Natural light flows into the centre via tinted windows, which are carved out of the building in sharp cuts that sprawl across the mirrored surface – it is these cuts which prevent this building from being completely invisible

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