Invisible Barn: Mirrored Surfaces Create Camouflaged Folly

invisible structure windows reflections

Like a mirage on the horizon, the structure seems to shimmer into and out of existence, playing tricks on the eye with a combination of see-through portals and reflective surfaces.

invisible barn at night

Designed for the 2014 Folly Competition held by The Architecture League, the idea was to slip something into an existing park context that would draw attention and generate interaction.

invisible architecture mylar plywood

Deceptively, the building itself is nearly two-dimensional, adding another element of camouflage depending on the angle of view or direction of approach. Unlike its more solid cousin the invisible cabin, the result in this case could really catch you by surprise, but is still probably less dangerous to walk into by accident than a mirrored fence.

invisible mirrored architectural concept

One of the self-imposed problems its designers sought to solve revolved around the question of year-round engagement – how to make something that changed and was worth revisiting from one season to the next.

invisible building site plan

From the design brief: This mirror-finished folly is placed in the middle of the grove and reflects its surrounding environment: different species of trees and plants, sky, ground and the seasonal changes of the site. The reflection of the folly within its enclosed grove allows the structure to smoothly assimilate into the nature.”

invisible design concept drawing

“The incisions that penetrate through the folly allow visitors to maneuver in, out, and around the structure. Invisible Barn is a folly that loses its man-made architectural presence in nature but adds novel experience and interaction to the users.””