What would you do if you had the superpower of invisibility? Tip-toe around secret meetings? Show up to parties you weren't invited to? Would you sneak into the locker room of your choice? It's no wonder that invisibility is one of the most intriguing plot lines in fantasy and sci-fi stories.
Despite its reoccurring role in fiction, the realities of invisibility are still far away. There are several technologies in development, but the most feasible has been the "invisible coat," made with microscopic reflectors that act as a movie screen while cameras capture imagery behind the object, projecting it from within like a TV screen.
New York-based architects stpmj have used a similar concept to create an invisible building. Coating the "Invisible Barn" in reflective mylar, the 2x4 shed appears like a giant mirror, capturing the forest around it, and thus nearly disappearing into thin air.
The project was the firm's submission to the Architectural League’s Folly Competition, and it reinforces the theory that runners up are sometimes more interesting than the winners. An invisible building in the landscape, barely noticeable without prior knowledge of it, produces more spatial effects than any of the previous winners, and being able to walk inside of it is just the icing on the invisible cake. The openings that connote doors and windows offer yet another layer of experience into the Invisible Barn.
Of course, it's easier to make a building vanish than a person; the building is immovable, and simple mirrors capture a forest background that appears the same from all sides. The reflection of surroundings has also been used by architects such as Dan Graham, Rogers Partners, GLUCK+, and the Swedish duo of Tham & Videgard. While the military works on invisible tanks, let's hope that more architects are dreaming up invisible buildings — there are certainly a few that would benefit from this treatment.
Article by Matt Shaw.