Design Observer’s Fairy Tale Architecture series features Astrid Lipka and Andrew Bernheimer

Projects by M.Arch Program Director Andrew Bernheimer and Astrid Lipka, thesis coordinator for the M.Arch program, are among the latest contributions to Fairy Tale Architecture, viewable now at Design Observer’s Places Journal. This series of “architectural fairy tales,” curated by Berhheimer and his sister, writer Kate Bernheimer, seeks to explore the domestic environments and structures of fairy tales through techniques of architectural representation.  As the curators note in their introduction to the series, “Houses in fairy tales are never just houses; they always contain secrets and dreams. This project presents a new path of inquiry, a new line of flight into architecture as a fantastic, literary realm of becoming.”


"The Universe," from The Tower of Babel, Rice+Lipka.  Image: Rice+Lipka

“The Universe,” from The Library of Babel, Rice+Lipka. Image: Rice+Lipka

For their contribution, Lipka and her Rice+Lipka partner Lyn Rice interpret Jorge Luis Borges’ short story, “The Library of Babel.”  The central element of this tale is a vast library containing every book ever written, as well as those not yet composed.  These books are not rationally catalogued, but instead randomly distributed throughout a seemingly infinite series of hexagonal rooms, linked together by broken staircases.


Bernheimer Architecture, The Juniper Tree. Image: Bernheimer Architecture

Bernheimer Architecture, The Juniper Tree. Image: Bernheimer Architecture

Bernheimer interprets “The Juniper Tree,” a characteristically dark tale by the Grimm brothers involving a stepmother, moderate violence, and a happy ending.  For this project Bernheimer creates “digital tracings” from both personal and found photographs, and keys them to words extracted from the story’s narrative.  Through these tracings, Bernheimer suggests parallels between the techniques of written storytelling and techniques of drawing.  The Juniper Tree is Bernheimer’s fourth contribution to Fairy Tale Architecture.