Architecture

Dutch architects adorn a building’s facade with emoji

The emoji look a lot better than you'd expect them to, in large part because the architects didn't paint them
The emoji look a lot better than you'd expect them to, in large part because the architects didn't paint them
View 7 Images
The project came about as Attika Architekten is handling the master plan for Vathorst in the Netherlands
1/7
The project came about as Attika Architekten is handling the master plan for Vathorst in the Netherlands
The inspiration for the idea came from the House with the Heads, which lies nearby the firm's office
2/7
The inspiration for the idea came from the House with the Heads, which lies nearby the firm's office
The emoji look a lot better than you'd expect them to, in large part because the architects didn't paint them
3/7
The emoji look a lot better than you'd expect them to, in large part because the architects didn't paint them
Architect Changiz Tehrani modeled the emoji from those used in WhatsApp on his Android phone
4/7
Architect Changiz Tehrani modeled the emoji from those used in WhatsApp on his Android phone
Tehrani argues that emoji is the fastest growing international language, and has a historical value
5/7
Tehrani argues that emoji is the fastest growing international language, and has a historical value
Obviously not everyone's going to be a fan of this kind of thing
6/7
Obviously not everyone's going to be a fan of this kind of thing
The building lies next to a school full of teenagers 
7/7
The building lies next to a school full of teenagers 

Many older buildings are ornamented with gargoyles, grotesques, famous figures, and the like – but emoji? That's a first as far as we know. In what could be seen as a sign of the digital times we live in, Amsterdam's Attika Architekten has adorned a building with 22 of the grinning, laughing, and scowling images.

The mixed-use building is part of a larger masterplan in the center of Vathorst in the Netherlands. It opened last summer, but was only recently officially photographed.

Attika Architekten's Changiz Tehrani told us that inspiration for the unusual project was partly derived from Amsterdam's House with the Heads, which is located near the firm's office. He was also fond of how the emoji looked while using WhatsApp on his Android phone, and commissioned a mason to replicate them in concrete. The emoji were then integrated into a decorative concrete belt on the building's exterior.

Honestly, we're just surprised someone else didn't think of doing this sooner – at least as far as we can tell, anyway – and it looks a lot better than you might expect, in large part because the architects had the sense not to paint them.

Architect Changiz Tehrani modeled the emoji from those used in WhatsApp on his Android phone
Architect Changiz Tehrani modeled the emoji from those used in WhatsApp on his Android phone

Tehrani told us that there are a few reasons his firm chose to use emoji for the building: he argues that emoji is the fastest growing international language, and has historical value, plus it's fun. Also, the building is situated next to a school full of teenagers, so may appeal to them on some level.

Obviously, not everyone's going to be a fan of this kind of thing. That said, architecture tends to be quite a serious and inaccessible subject, especially to young people, so maybe injecting a sense of fun into a building is a good idea.

Source: Attika Architekten (in Dutch)

2 comments
FabianLamaestra
Just like getting a bad tatoo, they will regret this in a few years.
KaiserPingo
Just wonderfull :-D Not different to earlier times use of Gargoils.
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.