Merleau-Ponty proposed ‘Vision is thebrain’s way of touching.’ I couldn’t agree more, as it is the most compellingsense possessed by architects and is essential to turn abstract concepts intoreality. An illusion is a deceptive impression ofreality; an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted perception of sensoryexperience. Men have been practicing illusions in architecture since antiquity.The sense of space can be modulated by altering ‘proportions and appearance’ ofbuilding elements. Architects achieve this by creating illusions of shape,scale, texture, distance, ‘weightlessness,’ and even ‘dematerialisation’ of thesurfaces.  Vitruvius noted that, Agatharchus, the selftaught painter from Samos, in Ancient Greece, was the first to realize thatparallel lines converge to a single ‘vanishing point.

‘ The early history ofperspective began ‘after the end of the Greco- Roman’ period. The technique wasdeveloped during the Italian Renaissance, the time of ‘rebirth,’ when artisticgrowth and discovery burgeoned.  We find the most famous use of illusion inthe construction of the Parthenon by Ancient Greeks. In the contemporary world,we often see the use of illusionism in architecture to control the appearanceof form and fabric of structures. ‘Diminishing courses,’ are often used tocreate facades that seem much larger than they are in reality. I find Prague’s ‘Dancing House,’ alsoknown as ‘Fred and Ginger,’ by architect Vlado Milunic, built in collaborationwith Frank Gehry to be one of the notable example of illusionism. One of thedual towers of the building appears to be twisted, warped and squished upagainst the other. The alluring thing about illusions is theymake us realise things may be different from what they appear, and that ourexperiences of the world fashion our comprehension of it.

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