The Art of Architecture: 10 Incredible Installation Projects


Where is the line between art and design? If “function” is the word that comes to mind then there are many works which fall somewhere in the gray area between extremes. Perhaps the most engaging works to exist on both sides are architectural and interior art installations – those works that are interactive and spatially complex but are still more about aesthetics and experience than a strict singular function.


The Dollhouse was once a modest two-story farmhouse, abandoned decades ago to the elements but left remarkably intact with furniture, furnishings and fixtures on the inside. One artist, however, envisioned a new function for this abandoned building – a hyperbolic showcase of interior space frozen in time.


What does one do to transform a bland space into something engaging for employees who toil in their offices day in and day out? One way to enliven a space is through art. This staged architectural explosion literally lights up the central courtyard of this office building but also provides something of visual interest from every possible angle.


There is no reason to let a soon-to-be-demolished building go to waste – at least that was the viewpoint of the artistic talent behind this exploding house art installation. More than merely something for spectators to gawk at, this design invites participation by allowing visitors to move through the vortex to the other side.


While some architectural installations address buildings as a whole or simply from the outside in, others rework with existing spaces to create interior experiences. One group of artists took buildings abandoned after Hurricane Katrina and breathed new life inside of the deserted structures.


Regular readers may recognize the work of one Robbie Rowlands, an installation artist with a different way of looking at the world of architecture and urban design. His works literally (and otherwise) break down conventional aspects of buildings, pealing, bending, and twisting them in unique ways.


Walls are what hold a building together, define its spaces and are reliably located in conventional places throughout – particularly in traditional old buildings, right? This artist comes into existing architectural interiors and adds offbeat elements that turn conventional spaces into paradoxical interior designs.


As the previous example demonstrates, the starkness of contract between new elements an old spaces can have a profound aesthetic impact on the person experiencing a hybrid interior. These glowing arrows draw visitors into an old mansion and through it in ways that defy the traditional layout of the building interior.


This rain art installation project goes against two basic associations we have with rain: that it falls only on the outside of buildings and that it is always in motion and difficult to see while moving. By contrast, people can walk through this controlled space and see, feel and push each individual drop of rain.


The building envelope is what defines the difference between interior and exterior, public and private. This moving building wall project contorts and distorts that strict boundary, literally spinning a section of wall visible to pedestrians passing by on the street below.


Over 1600 chairs went into making this incredible urban art installation project. The chairs are aged, each with its own history that contributes a piece of the story of the overall installation. The sheer volume and time associated with placing these chair-by-chair in place is impressive enough, regardless of intention.