Robert Rickhoff's surrealistic city architecture blends "fun" with "fatalities."

It's a good thing that Robert Rickhoff isn't involved in any actual urban planning. Put in charge of a construction crew, he'd probably build a volleyball court in the middle of a highway or erect ramps so cars can catch some air.

Just such questionable public amenities are presented in Rickhoff's graduate thesis at ArtEZ in the Netherlands, appropriately titled "Out of Place." The surreal series of manipulated photos introduce a metropolis in which the architecture is twisted to spawn new, strange functions. In some cases, that means turning shared spaces like a crosswalk or public restroom into rec yards to get your sweat on. In others, Rickhoff seems intent on devising the worst planning idea possible witness his apparatus for slowing down speeding trains or either of his depressing, unpleasant-to-use swing sets.

Rickhoff's not the first person to envision the city as a staging ground for exercise and mischief. Earlier this year, for instance, French street artist Florian Rivière's gave Dublin a real-world track-and-field makeover. But whereas Rivière's interventions might at the worst lead to somebody getting wet or bruised, a few of Rickhoff's enhancement schemes would seem to involve certain death. Via e-mail, the artist said he was inspired to create a kind of Raumplanung, or urban architecture, that could never exist in reality. I think he's accomplished his mission handily:

 

All photos courtesy of the artist.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A scene from Hey Arnold! is pictured.
    Life

    Even Hey Arnold's Neighborhood Is Gentrifying Now

    Series creator Craig Bartlett explains how he built the cartoon city that every ‘90s kid dreamed of living in.

  2. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  3. A row of tractor trailers lined up at a truck stop.
    Transportation

    The Truckers Who Are Taking on Human Trafficking

    In Arkansas, the “knights of the road” are being trained to combat truck-stop prostitution.

  4. Equity

    Counting Down to a Census Doomsday

    Top-level vacancies and flatlined funding appear to be the Trump administration’s plans for the Census Bureau.

  5. Pont Des Arts in Paris
    Design

    Paris Wants to Build a Few Garden Bridges

    Here’s what it should learn from London’s infamous efforts to build one.