The Architecture Of Fairy Tales

A competition from the new architecture project Blank Space asked participants to tell stories through design.

Blank Space, an organization founded in 2013 that aims to change how architecture is communicated, has just announced the results of what it calls “the first ever architecture storytelling competition,” an exploration of architecture in fairy tales. The competition asked participants to come up with narrative-driven designs that would “rewrite the way architecture communicates itself to the world, and to do so in the most unconventional way,” as the project brief states.


The winners are dreamy, fantastical explorations of the architecture of a fictional world of each designer’s making. Participants had to write their own fairy tale, then design around it, and entries were judged on their narrative as well as the strength of the design itself. More than 300 designers from 50 countries entered.

Image: Anna Pietrzak

The winning entry, “Chapter Thirteen,” was envisioned as a continuation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in which Alice, as an adult, flees a futuristic wonderland-turned-dystopia. “Man and Ground,” the second-place winner, is a black and white rumination on the role of the ground as an architectural element. In “Oscar Upon A Time,” the third-place winner, architecture plays the role of a lifelong companion to a boy as he grows up, from nestling in his crib to becoming part of his first home. The winners will be featured in Blank Space’s first publication, Fairy Tales: When Architecture Tells a Story.

“We are glad that when asked to think differently about architecture, so many people were up for the challenge,” the founders of Blank Space said in a press statement. (All the organization’s employees have chosen to remain anonymous, and they go enigmatically by “the founders.”) “Blank Space started exactly for this purpose: to uncover better means to communicate architecture, and in turn, to change the way the world perceives architecture.”

Architecture: It’ll give you a hug! Or, in Alice’s case, it’ll trap you in a trippy dystopia.

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.