Swiss architect/artist Philipp Schaerer has an aptitude for building. Moreover, he has a remarkable sense of architectural composition. The stark contrast of black concrete and the sharp edges against the sky quickly establishes the building’s presence. Yet the banality exudes a sense of calm and subtlety. He quietly places a single window on an otherwise empty wall, drawing attention to the glass gate between inside and out. Too bad it’s not real.
It takes me a few ganders before I really convince myself that this is fake. In his series of “architectural photographs,” titled Bildbauten, Schaerer creates a set of completely fabricated, yet strikingly convincing images of architecture. It’s quite difficult to even write about the work and describe it – we so often freely use photographs of buildings as surrogates for the real thing and reference the images in describing them as if we were really there. Schaerer addresses and takes advantage of this to create these monolithic, yet beautifully quiet compositions. The question of media and representation in architecture has been an ongoing battle in the academic world. Regarding Schaerer, it boils down to this: Is this architecture?