Artists Build Fictional Worlds in Book of Architectural Fairy Tales

Artists Build Fictional Worlds in Book of Architectural Fairy Tales

Designers use the traditional narratives as a foundation for works that show the storytelling power of architecture

Vashti Hallissey
  • 15 august 2014

Architects went from building storeys to stories in a recent competition that challenged them to tell a fairy tale. Blank space, an online architecture platform, launched the first architecture storytelling competition in the world, asking designers to create narratives through text and graphics.

Image from Oscar Upon A Time by Joseph Altshuler, Mari Altshuler & Zachary Morrison.jpg

24 winning entries were selected from over 300 submissions and have been compiled in Blank Space’s first book, Fairy Tales: When Architecture Tells A Story. Featuring text-based stories with stunning imagery, the book contains all sorts of takes on the fairy tale theme.

Image from The Extravagant Journey of Mr. Blue by Gladys Cheung, Lisa Sato and Elizabeth Belina-Brzozowski.jpg

New York-based Blank Space has a mission to reinvigorate the way architecture is seen by the outside world. The founders, Matthew Hoffman and Francesca Giuliani, explain in the press release:

Fairy tales might seem like a completely foreign topic for the architecture community, but at their core is the power of communication. As children, fairy tales are our first training in logic, empathy, and creativity, all elements that are key to great design. Encouraging architects to tell a story helps their messages reach a much wider audience, reinstating architecture’s value and place in society. Design affects all of us, and engaging with the public is our responsibility as designers.

Image from Endeavourism by Mark Rukamathu & Yarinda Bunnag.jpg

Readers of the book can follow a modern day Alice in Wonderland journey through a dystopian city, visit futuristic theme park where stories are told and experience a Detroit that becomes a Chinese owned S.A.R. The styles include coming of age stories, comic strips, love stories and sci-fi thrillers, all of which take architecture as a central theme.

Image from Man and Ground by Anna Pietrzak.jpg

The founders explain:

If there is a moral to these architectural fairy tales, it is that architecture is an untapped source of magnificent stories waiting to be imagined, visualized, and built. The world can’t wait to be told stories like this.

Image from Revolve by Ivana Radmanovac and Iva Bekic.jpg

Fairy Tales: When Architecture Tells A Story is not your typical book on architecture: it’s a book you would probably enjoy even if you haven’t studied the subject. By inviting designers to let their imaginations loose on fairy tales, Blank Space has created a collection of stories that is gorgeous to look at and makes architecture accessible to everyone.

The book is available in stores around the world and at Blank Space’s website.

Image from Untitled by Heidi Lee.jpg

Blank Space

Images from “Fairy Tales: When Architecture Tells A Story” by Blank Space


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