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.

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)

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