PARALLAX is a pavilion in which the virtual effect of parallax, or perspectival distortion, is compressed onto a real object. Two imaginary vanishing points WARP the even space of the neutral Cartesian site grid with an implied vision field, pulling nearby lines out of parallel into convergence. The resulting form has an inconsistent scale, subtly appearing slightly too large or too small depending on one’s position in the site.

This landscape pavilion is an almost ordinary object which only provokes attention as it appears to unexpectedly shift scale depending on an observer’s location.

The form of the pavilion results from a perspective distortion applied to a rectangular prism. Two vanishing points pull the edges of this initial prism out of parallel into convergence. This embeds a distortion of a pre-applied two-point perspective – as if the neutral object is already being viewed in perspective. Viewed on site, the result is a formal mutability ranging from an extreme foreshortening to an elusive flattening. The perspectival warping affects not only the perception of the object but also the neutrality of the visual field.

Looking at the first vanishing point from within or through the pavilion creates an intellectual paradox: a literal one-point view of this vanishing point appears as a two-point perspective because of the embedded distortion created by the second vanishing point. Moving to the first vanishing point and looking back at the pavilion, the side walls and roof disappear entirely, resulting in an impossibly flat, depthless object.

LOCATION: Lotus, California

PROGRAM: 600 sf landscape pavilion

Structural, Derrick Roorda (Buro Happold)