Optical illusions fascinate us, challenging our notion that what we see is real. They demonstrate that incoming sensory information is interpreted, yielding the internal representation of the world. Many illusions are found in architecture and, strangely enough, many of these were recognized long before painting developed beyond its primitive stages. The ever-changing relations of lines and forms in architecture as we vary our viewpoint introduce many illusions which may appear and disappear. This paper attempts to reveal the many illusions that are found in architecture from ancient times until today. From Ictinus and F. Borromini, to S. Calatrava and J. Nouvel, the study presents a list of selected projects –classified in three groups-that can reveal the magnitude of the illusory effect helping the observer to look for or recognize illusions. Particular concern of the paper lies in the way architects have approached optical illusions in each period and applied them in their projects in order to communicate ideas and concepts. For the purpose of showing the diachronic value of optical illusions in architecture, the study shows examples from classical architecture, where architects display a highly developed knowledge of many geometrical illusions, as well as from modern architecture where they introduce new illusory effects through digital technology.
|Keywords:||Architecture, Illusion, Optical, Visual Perception, Process|
PhD Candidate, Department of Architectural and Urban Design, School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece