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‘Extracts of Local Distance’ Putting Vanishing Points Into Perspective

Architectural photography is often biased towards a certain composition, usually one featuring the tyranny of shortened perspectives and vanishing lines, giving a stylized but slightly inaccurate visual of the room or building it’s portraying. So why not take this skewed perspective and generate something entirely new from it? A project from Benjamin Maus, Frederic Gmeiner, and Torsten Posselt has used that idea as the foundation for their series Extracts of Local Distance.

The project uses the Cubist idea of collage to create unusual perspectives on various modern buildings—the Jubilee Church in Rome, Jüdisches Museum in Berlin, Barcelona Pavilion and many more—in a artfully mashed-up way. Extracting common photographic features from architectural photos they’d taken using the biased composition styles mentioned previously, the creative team then deconstructed the images piece by piece, categorizing each part and creating metadata for it. They then used the image data to transform the resulting “building blocks” into something wholly new, creating an alternative way of looking at these contemporary constructions.

The collaged images become something else—a new form that is neither representative of nor derivative of the original architecture. Designer Dennis Paul explains in the video: “You really create different new spaces here. This gets an entirely different depth, a different spatial effect and concept from that of the original material—the pictures, as well as the architecture itself”.

The photos get cut up, deconstructed, fragmented then reformed merging the various buildings together to form multi-layered hybrid shapes. The photos and architecture become displaced generative pieces analyzed with relation to their vanishing points. While maintaining their component parts, they are assembled into spiky collages that coalesce to create abstract but compositionaly accurate new spaces. Spaces that look like they have no place in the real world, much like M.C. Escher’s impossible constructions, but which nonetheless offer a perspective on the building’s origin, taking the structures back to their elemental forms.

The design team explains how the images are composed:

Digital scans of analogue architectural photography form tiny pieces of a large resulting puzzle. The original pictures are being analyzed and categorized according to their vanishing-points and shapes. Based on this analysis, slices are being extracted from the source image. These slices retain the information of their position corresponding to their original vanishing-point and thus form a large pool of pieces, ready to be applied to new perspectives and shapes.

You can watch how they’re created in more detail in the video above and see the results in the slideshow. Interestingly, the team also tried to create 3D prints, which you can see in the video below. The idea, we suppose, being that if you can create new ways of looking at buildings, you can include these abstract insights into new designs.

Images by Klaus Frahm

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