Modern Architecture: Dutch Building Has Emojis As Gargoyles Of The Internet Age


A building in the Netherlands has some uncommon decorations worthy of the 21st century — instead of gargoyles, why not emoji cast in concrete?

Emoji have become ubiquitous nowadays, and there's a slew of emoji apps, keyboards, sticker packs, and what-not. Well, now they're on buildings too.

Emoji Architecture

Architect Changiz Tehrani thinks that emoji are among the most representative icons of the 21st century, so he decided to decorate a building in Dutch city Amersfoort using emoji cast in concrete.

"In classical architecture they used heads of the king or whatever, and they put that on the façade," Tehrani tells The Verge. "So we were thinking, what can we use as an ornament so when you look at this building in 10 or 20 years you can say 'hey this is from that year!'"

Emoji won the race, and instead of gargoyles, kings, or other symbols, they now decorate the unique building. The façade has 22 emoji in total, decorating one side of the building.

Although combining architecture with emoji might seem striking, it actually has quite a subtle effect, and the concrete faces blend in. The building has white concrete beams, grid lines, and decorative emoji at the intersections. The side with the emoji faces a town square housing a 150-year-old oak.

The building itself houses various shops at the ground floor and flats above, and the emojis lend it a unique, fresh look. The iconic digital symbols aim to memorialize contemporary society in the modern era, when emojis are making up their own language.

Making More Than A Boring Building

Tehrani works at the Dutch firm Attika Architekten and highlights that emojis are all the rave right now, and the building is full of young people. There's also a school and a library in the square, and the students have lunch and pictures there.

"They like it," adds Tehrani. "And with our architecture we always like to put in small details that makes the project a little bit more than a boring building."

Each emoji is different, and Tehrani took the design from WhatsApp's template then converted it into a 3D model. The 3D emoji models then made their way to a construction company part of the project, which made molds for each emoji and cast them all in concrete.

While there are a slew of available emojis from fruits to animals, cars, hands, and everything in between, the building only features emoji faces because they're the most recognizable and expressive.

The building was ready in 2015 and commercial occupation started in the summer of 2016, but official images only surfaced last month. According to Tehrani, the emoji building stirred positive reactions.

Lastly, the architect highlights the futility of aspiring to architectural immortality and instead he prefers basking in the "truly contemporary." Even if emojis will no longer be in use a decade from now, they will still serve as symbols of today, capturing the current age and trends.

What do you think of this unique building sporting emoji decorations? Let us know in the comments section below.

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