Buildings That Don’t Exist: Fake Facades Hide Infrastructure
Article by Steph, filed under Cities & Urbanism in the Architecture category.

Fake Building Facades 1

From the sidewalk, this Paris building looks just like those around it, complete with doors, windows and balconies. but take a look at Google Maps, as Paul of the blog Paris by Cellphone did, and you’ll notice something strange: there’s nothing behind that facade. Like many others all over the world, this ordinary-looking building is just a shell to disguise unsightly infrastructure.

Fake Building Facades 2

Fake Building Facades 3

The building, at 154 Rue La Layette, is hiding a giant ventilation chimney for the metro. The chimney is about as large as one of the real buildings that surround it. In another location in Marais, artist Julien Berthier constructed a false door to go on the side of one of these buildings that wasn’t quite as well-disguised.

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The facade meets local architectural codes and bears an address plate reading ‘J.B. & S.B. Specalistes.’ Wonder how many people have knocked on it over the years, waiting for someone to answer?

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BLDGBLOG discovered another such facade, in Brooklyn. The windows of this particular house are blacked out, making it a bit curious. What are those people trying to hide? Upon closer examination, answer is revealed: it’s a ventilator for the subway. Once, it was a real brownstone, built in 1847, but it was gutted in 1908 when subway service was started in Brooklyn. See more photos of the facade at BLDGBLOG.

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The Brooklyn Daily Eagle explains, “the exit disguised as a brownstone leads to a grimy-lit set of metal stairs that ascend past utility boxes and ventilation shafts into a windowless room with a door. If you opened the door, you would find yourself on a stoop, which is just part of the fa├žade.” Looking for more? Check out additional faux architecture and trick facades in London, Toronto and beyond.

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