a building bearing the imprint of what was once the adjoining building, or house

A building in Stockholm bearing the imprint of what was once the adjoining building. Copyright: Brett Ascarelli, 2012.

Goofy paradoxes aplenty at this construction site made me do a double take.

Not only does a house, something one normally expects to be three-dimensional, lose nearly all its depth, but the inside of one building somehow becomes the outside of another: a facade accidentally gets caught wearing somebody else’s lingerie.

Essentially, demolition has flattened the house back to its original architectural elevation, life-sized and realized. And the effect is painterly and reminiscent of a dollhouse – not a few contemporary artists might imagine cutting the whole thing out and sticking it in a gallery.

While the poor leftovers of the house seem bare and honest, judging by looks alone it keeps its full history to itself. Sure, there are clues – the fire escape sign (which appears as a tiny green rectangle) over the door upstairs means people probably used the house as some kind of office. But could it have been built as a private house originally? And what about that little window to nowhere in the attic? Whose bust, if any, stood in the niche at the top of the stairwell?

It’s a pity it will get painted over.

Proposal: a generation of houses whose exterior walls reflect what’s inside – either via mixed-media murals in bas-relief, or giant architectural elevation stickers to affix to buildings. Any takers?