Michael Jantzen Shadow House

If you watch the shadows thrown by a house on a sunny day, you might notice that they tend to form an almost entirely separate (imaginary) structure. Architectural artist Michael Jantzen created an optical illusion public art project that forever freezes the shadows of a structure into their own dark volume.

Michael Jantzen Shadow House profile
MIchael Jantzen shadow house back

“The Shadow House, Friday March 13th 8:35 am 2014” is a house-shaped object with a permanently attached shadow. The concept started with a scale model of the home placed on a platform in the sunlight. Jantzen traced the outline the shadows made on the horizontal surface, noting the exact date and time that he did so.

Michael Jantzen shadow house optical illusion

He then filled out the shape of the model to include the additional volume of the shadow. This was achieved by connecting points from the model’s surface to the corresponding points of the cast shadow. He added in the shadows cast by the stairs, windows, and doorway. The previously-illusory shape of the shadow became a real, physical extension of the home, painted black to contrast with the main structure.

Jantzen’s plan is to use this small model to construct a full-size Shadow House in a park. Every year on March 13th at precisely 8:35 am, as long as the sun is shining, the shadow of the “house” will be entirely swallowed up by the physical extension.

“My work is very well known around the world. It has been featured in thousands of articles in books, magazines, newspapers, and on the Web. My work has been shown in many galleries, and on various TV documentaries. It has also been exhibited at the National Building Museum, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the Harvard School of Design and Architecture, and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.”

You can find much more of Michael Jantzen’s truly delightful work, from bizarre sculptures to incredible architecture and much more, at Archinect.