‘Theatre for Magicians’ by Sara Shafiei

The project attempts to portray how magic and illusion can become an inherent part of the architectural design, which foregrounds the engagement of the user in the building.

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Theatre for Magicians: The National Botanical Gardens by Sara Shafiei | The Bartlett, London

The proposal begins by exploring how Harry Houdini’s ‘Vanishing Elephant’ trick is manifested within Albrecht Dürer’s ‘cone of light and vision’ to merge showmanship, optics, and illusion.The resultant building, a Theatre for Magicians, is located in the National Botanical Gardens in Rome.

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The building is situated at the peak of the site with picturesque views overlooking the site. The structure of the building is rooted in excess baroque ornamentation. The laser cutter is harnessed to create the detailed pattering on the façade of the building, allowing light to filter through the skin, creating a ‘glowing’ theatre in the hills, enticing visitors inside.

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The use of perspectival illusions (such as text and cone anamorphosis) aid in the creation of a landscape of deceptions, whose ornamental tectonics are revealed to the dynamic spectator.

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Theatre for Magicians: The National Botanical Gardens, Rome, Italy

Sara Shafiei at The Bartlett, London // Tutors: Marcos Cruz and Marjan Colletti

Source/Credits: saraben-studio