Architect David Bülow sketches quarantine moments on the 'edge of architecture'

The Copenhagen-based architect and artist draws vignettes of cities submerged in the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and people experiencing strange days of isolation.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Apr 21, 2020

At 11:23 pm on Thursday, they suddenly became aware of each other and realised that they had all secretly enjoyed this space for years. Seeking the same kind of freedom, the undesigned and sculptural world and the complex backsides of big cities were created. Liberated from architectural narrative, iconic gestures and state-of-the-art insta-friendly placemaking, they found a serene presence in the backsides.

Danish architect and self-taught artist David Bülow narrates The silent incident while visualising moments around what he calls the 'edge of architecture' – a landscape defined by the often-unsightly spaces such as terraces, back alleys, parking lots, and balconies. His black and white compositions reveal fragments of life that start to take shape from the time architects leave the building and human experiences take over.

A series of recent drawings by Bülow show cities submerged in the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and people experiencing strange days of isolation. The work trigger our present collective emotions as it captures people in an array of hiding spots, either busy in virtual socialising or having a lone moment perched on their windows and terraces observing the time passing by.

'The silent incident' | David Bülow | STIRworld
'The silent incident'Image Credit: David Bülow

In times when we cannot step outside to explore great architecture of our cities and the world, what we have and is in our capacity is to experience our own spaces in a new light, especially those that never caught our attention before. Bülow's work is an effort to do exactly that.

His sketches seem to weave a newly acquired relationship between the people and the spaces the former previously neglected in their everyday life – the spaces that were so close yet out of sight.

Here are a few such vignettes from his collection:

Climate Change | David Bülow | STIRworld
Climate Change Image Credit: David Bülow
Urbanism drowning in the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic  | David Bülow | STIRworld
Urbanism drowning in the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic Image Credit: David Bülow
Strange days of isolation | David Bülow | STIRworld
Strange days of isolation Image Credit: David Bülow
Social distancing | David Bulow | STIRworld
Social distancing Image Credit: David Bülow
Staying social | David Bülow | STIRworld
Staying social Image Credit: David Bülow
All stacked up and nowhere to go | David Bülow | STIRworld
All stacked up and nowhere to go Image Credit: David Bulow
How will you remember these strange days? | David Bülow | STIRworld
Toilet paper is the new currency Image Credit: David Bülow
Current mood | David Bülow | STIRworld
Current mood Image Credit: David Bülow
 Survival | David Bülow | STIRworld
Survival Image Credit: David Bülow

Urbanism comes across as a recurring subject in Bülow’s sketches that he fondly describes as the pressure cooker of humanity. “To me it is an ongoing social experiment. Often it is the fascination of so many lives living so close, and yet so rarely touching each other,” he reflects.

“When you look at films or read books, the most important emotional scenes often take place on the edge of architecture reminding us that we as architects need to leave a fray in our designs for life to unfold.”

David Bülow with his daughter | David Bülow | STIRworld
David Bülow with his daughterImage Credit: David Bülow

Lastly, summing up his creative process, Bülow muses: “I find great inspiration in overhearing glimpses of other people’s lives, and then imagining the rest.”

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and research. She has worked in design communication for more than three years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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