Fab or Fake? The Best Improbable Architecture

Fab or Fake? The Best Improbable Architecture

Renderings and photo manipulations have become sophisticated enough to fool even the sharpest eyes. Meanwhile, architects are producing buildings that look too fantastic to be real. In the spirit of April Fools, we present a challenge: are these buildings fab? Or fake? Answers below.


1. Is this the shape of things to come? Or the shape of things already soaring over China’s Waicheng River?



2. Award-winning mall design? Or just the product of an overactive imagination?



3. Are these interlocking buildings a relic of mid-century experimentation, or experimentation of a different sort?



4. Is this the result of one farmhouse dweller’s stubborn refusal to sell her home? Or simply some creative Photoshop? Or neither?



5. Is this the figurative glass house brought to reality, or a demonstration of the latest rendering software?



6. Architectural whimsy gone wrong? Or artistic whimsy gone right?



7. Could this magnificent cantilever possibly hold up outside a student’s year-end project?



8. The trend towards blended typologies is going strong, but nobody would carry it this far…would they?







1 Real. The Sheraton Huzhou by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects opened in late 2013.

2 Real. Windgårdhs, based in Gothenburg, designed this luxury shopping centre in Malmö, Sweden; it opened in late 2012.

3 Fake. This image is part of a series by art and architecture firm m_gr_, based in Valencia, Spain.

4 Real. FAT Architecture’s sustainable “Community In A Cube” residential project from 2013 incorporates different house-inspired forms; it’s located in Middlesborough, UK.

5 Real. This glass house was built near Milan by Santambrogiomilano to showcase the glass manufacturer’s construction techniques.

6 Fake. Artist Víctor Enrich uses real photographs, then manipulates them digitally to bring fantastic architecture to life.

7 Real. The Gas Natural Headquarters in Barcelona, Spain, was designed by Miralles Tagliabue, and opened in 2008.

8 Fake. Filip Dujardin of Belgium is both a commercial photographer and an artist who combines architectural elements into images of surreal structures.

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