Reverse Perspective
Reverse Perspective is the topic of investigation for an Architectural Design Studio at the KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture Campus Sint Lucas Ghent, and an Elective in collaboration with Luca School of Arts.

Perspective had an immediate and profound influence on art and architecture since Leon Battista Alberti wrote ‘Della Pictura’ (On Painting) in 1435. From then on we could represent the architectural image with the principles of distance, dimension and proportion. It influenced not only our way of representing architecture but subsequently also how we read it, thought about it, and designed architecture. Perspective has become integrated in our understanding, at the most implicit or unconscious level.

Contrary to perspective, where lines converge towards a vanishing point in the back of an image, with reverse perspective lines converge towards the viewer. You are the focal point.

Reverse perspective was first recognised in Byzantine icons. Ever since, art historians and philosophers like Erwin Panofsky and more recently Clemena Antonova have researched the topic extensively. In the world of contemporary art, David Hockney and Andrei Tarkovsky have specifically referred to reverse perspective when discussing their work. Besides the art world however, reverse perspective is less referred to in architecture.

Our interest in reverse perspective lies not in what it represents but rather in what it does. We want to investigate the presence and possible applications of reverse perspective in architecture. A possible architecture where you are the focal point. An interaction where your presence feels essential for the existence of the architecture. Moreover, we want to have a broader understanding of the consequences of (reverse) perspective on our world and how relations could be established.

You start with a reference with specific relevance to Reverse Perspective.

An investigation of your fascinations, impulses and misconceptions relating to the reference leads you to a certain observation.

Your observation is translated into an architectural work.

This work in combination with your reference are your main tools for designing a pavilion.

The reference, the work and pavilion are all interconnected, not a linear dialogue but rather triangular.

You will be judged based on the individual relevance of these three entities as well as their interconnectedness.

The studio focusses on translating the impression of reverse perspective into architecture. As such, for the work as well as the pavilion, students are expected to create this impression in their presentation. The presentation material should thus be autonomous and not representations.

The project knows its only limit in its proof of understanding in the reflection note

Wim Goes: Lector Architectuur – KU Leuven Faculteit Architectuur, campus Sint-Lucas Gent

Dr. Volkmar Mühleis: Docent en Bijzonder Gastdocent Kunst – KU Leuven LUCA School of Arts, campus Sint-Lucas Gent en Brussel

Johannes Berry: Praktijkassistent Architectuur – KU Leuven Faculteit Architectuur, campus Sint-Lucas Gent en Brussel