MVRDV’s Illusionistic “Glass Farm” Has No One Fooled

Dutch firm MVRDV has always had a talent for turning somewhat jocular or absurdist architectural fantasies into actual built and inhabitable structures (think of Book Mountain, their recently completed mecca for book lovers in Spijkenisse, or the Peruri 88 scheme for Jakarta, the frighteningly literal manifestation of the “mixed-use” building). One of the firm’s most recently completed projects, dubbed the Glass Farm, is no short on this sort of tongue-in-cheek humor: The multifunctional building — home to a number of shops, restaurants, offices, and a wellness center — boasts a modern all-glass exterior that is printed with full-scale images from typical local farms, which are collaged to appear like the facades of a traditional gabled-roof enclosure sitting in a quaint Dutch market square. The end result looks a bit like something you’d encounter in a video game: impressively realistic at moments, but somewhat bizarre when the illusion of three-dimensionality slips. Whether or not this tactic of camouflage is more or less respectful of the surrounding context is up to individual viewers to decide. See more photos of the project on URdesign.

Photos: Persbureau van Eijndhoven, courtesy of MVRDV