REUTERS

OK, who dropped acid into England's water supply?

Britons strolling past 1-7 Ashwin Street this week are no doubt getting the heaving heebie-jeebies from an other-dimensional house squatting on a formerly vacant lot. The domicile sports a normal Victorian facade; the only trouble is it appears to be a super-strong magnet for flesh, with people scurrying up and down its facade like round-headed chimps.

Did somebody drop acid into London's water supply? No need to grab your "go bags," holders of physics Ph.Ds: This mind-warping house is only an illusion created by Argentina's Leandro Erlich. The artist has positioned a fake exterior horizontally on the ground and propped a huge mirror above it at a 45 degree angle. Pedestrians seeking a bit of fun can plod across the facade to make it look like they're wearing Velcro shoes, or pretend to dangle from windowsills like the kitten on that iconic motivational poster.

The Barbican Art Gallery was responsible for commissioning Erlich's so-called "Dalston House." Sited on the ruins of an old home the Germans bombed during World War II, the artwork is meant to "resemble the houses that previously stood on the block," writes the gallery, and will serve as the site for upcoming talks and performances about architecture, urbanism and perception. It's all part of a "Beyond Barbican" blast going on this summer, which also includes an appearance by Irish supergroup "The Gloaming" and a fairylike theater show with puppets inside a bank.

A few more views of the topsy-turvy rowhouse:

Last year, Erlich erected a similar wacko-house in Paris, called In Perceptions. He's also designed an absurd swimming pool that people can stroll across, a la Jesus, which has shown at PS1 in Queens and elsewhere. Here's what that looks like:

Photos via Luke MacGregor/Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  2. Design

    The Curious Politics of a Montreal Mega-Mall

    The car-dependent suburb it’ll be built in wants to greenlight Royalmount against the city government’s wishes but it needs them to pay for the public infrastructure.

  3. Multicolored maps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tampa, denoting neighborhood fragmentation
    Equity

    Urban Neighborhoods, Once Distinct by Race and Class, Are Blurring

    Yet in cities, affluent white neighborhoods and high-poverty black ones are outliers, resisting the fragmentation shown with other types of neighborhoods.

  4. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  5. Design

    There’s a Tile Theft Epidemic in Lisbon

    With a single azulejo fetching hundreds of euros at the city’s more reputable antique stores, these tiles, sitting there out in the open, are easy pickings.