Evil vs. Impressive: How do Scale and Lighting Affect Perception of Architecture?

When it comes to viral architecture, readers love a sense of the theatrical. This trend has led to a new internet obsession: ‘evil’ buildings that look like they could be the home of a supervillain or nefarious corporation.

Compiled on sites such as Reddit and BoredPanda, lists of ‘Evil Buildings’ tend to feature structures that feel sterile to non-architects, photographed in dramatic lighting or surrounded in fog. Projects by Zaha Hadid Architects, Frank Gehry and Ole Scheeren are among those represented. But what exactly makes these buildings feel evil?

This phenomenon represents an age-old quandary in architecture: how to make laypersons feel more comfortable with architectural styles they may be uncomfortable with. This issue is most commonly seen in the differences in public and architect opinions on Brutalist buildings, which even publicly elected officials have decried as “"aesthetically worthless” and “ugly.”

Check out the full subreddit of ‘Evil Buildings’ here.

Is it possible for a building to be ‘evil’, or is it simply a product of photography? How should architects react to the way their buildings are perceived?

About this author
Cite: Patrick Lynch. "Evil vs. Impressive: How do Scale and Lighting Affect Perception of Architecture?" 04 Jan 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/802901/evil-vs-impressive-how-do-scale-and-lighting-affect-perception-of-architecture> ISSN 0719-8884


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