Seemingly built for Instagram, the 2 Girls Building, which opened in January in Melbourne, Australia, features a striking façade recreating photographer Samatha Everton's "Masquerade." The designers utilized a material called DigiGlass to impose the photo onto the side of the building. But according to architect Billy Kavellaris, director at KUD, the project is more than simply throwing up a three-story image, it's about integrating art and architecture into one medium. The combination, a project admittedly created to create a strong juxtaposition with the surrounding buildings, has generated strong reactions.
"The neighborhood is very polarized," he says. "I'm happy for people to have strong opinions on way or another. If it didn't get a strong response, I feel that it's failed."
Kavellaris took a theoretical view of the mixed-use project. Citing Robert Venturi's take on buildings—that they're either ducks, symbols themselves, or decorated sheds, generic structures identified by signage—he said the 2 Girls Building was an example of a decorated duck.
The initial brief from the owner was to use DigiGlass—he's a 50% shareholder in the company that makes it—as well as a photo from Everton for the project. Coincidentally, Kavellaris picked the image that featured the owner's two daughters. The design is meant to heighten the mood of the photo and recreate parts of the image within the building, such as using a similar wallpaper pattern within the hallways. Everton was initially skeptical of the project, but after seeing the finished structure, she took to it and even held a photo show within the building.
More Australia coverage [Curbed]