The beginning of a manifesto for a one-click architecture

Published in Emigre #57, February 2001 Guest editors Experimental Jetset


Some buildings are not really there.

Some buildings only appear to be where they are standing, but in fact it's a mistake. They belong to another place, and are holding their present post temporarily.

Black buildings are not there.

A black building is like a nightclub during the day. What you see is what you are missing. And what you are missing is the club. The nightclub is the lights, so the black building becomes a temporary container for light. By itself it's a drawing of a space, a part of reality that is hard to understand. A reality that is waiting to be rendered properly.

But daytime is more interesting. During the day the black building is like a cancelled form, a mistake. It refuses to accept the "eternal play of light on its volume". Instead it sits like an inverted void. The doors and windows are excuses for functions, since once you go in you forget everything.

By refusing shadows, a building is basically refusing the present reality. It is a building that wants to be backlit; it wants to exist like a 2-dimensional image, in a place of no shadows.

The black building wants to live on your screen.


Do you remember the last time you entered a building clad in mirror? The building itself is never present; it is only remembered because of the material used to cover it.

They cover buildings in mirror to hide them. They are office buildings that have been told to stand next to a beautiful old building, or a house. So the mirror will reflect the old thing, the trees, the sky etc.

In fact, mirror buildings are so there, it becomes an overdose of reality to watch them. The house and the old thing are immediately in the context of a building that is too glossy and too shiny for their reality. Too unreal.

The right amount of mirror buildings on a street, and the street is no longer there. The mirror building instead of disappearing, disappears the reality around it. It is longer there, because "there is no there there".

The mirror building is the ultimate contextual building, not because it reflects its context, but because it introduces the concept of a second reality, brutally into the reality that you think is one.

A mirror building wants you to live somewhere else.

To place a white building in a regular city is like not placing a building at all. Regular reality is full of colors, so a white building becomes an area of your sight where there is no reality. It is a cropping device for information.

A white building is a building that has erased itself.

The building functions as the outline of that missing reality. Instead of the usual mess you have a background reality of gray shadows on white background. Instead of a building you get a piece of a city that is not yet defined. Or perhaps it is yet to be defined. Anything that goes on in a white building is better that everything else.

The light looks better and the shadows are a pale gray. In fact all you can see are shadows of a building that is not really there. A blank page. A white sheet of paper.

As the sun goes down the white building becomes tired and starts to look a bit warmer, until everything around it is dark and the white building becomes a fake shadow in the night.
More than a building it becomes a pause in reality.


A black building wants to live on your screen, a mirror building wants you to live somewhere else and a white building leaves the choice up to you.

This is the beginning of a manifesto

for a one-click architecture.

Andreas Angelidakis, 2001.

International Style - Beige Architecture - Abstract - 2-D