Credit: Asif Khan

  • Credit: Asif Khan

From the caryatid columns on the Acropolis to the presidents on Mount Rushmore, people are always looking to put their faces onto the landscape. Now, London-based designer Asif Khan is creating a "Mount Rushmore for the digital age" for this year's Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Khan's installation for the MegaFon pavilion will enable attendees of the games to temporarily project their faces onto a giant façade.

Similar to portable pin screen devices, the building envelope will be made of thousands of narrow tubes that extend and contract, quickly forming larger-than-life versions of visitors' digital face scans. The façade will be clad in a textile membrane to even out the sharp 3D pixels, making the faces appear more natural and smooth. If all goes as planned, more than 170,000 visitors will be able to temporarily project their countenances onto the space during the Olympics, creating an architecture that is a true—if superficial—reflection of the people it serves.

Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a regularly featured columnist whose stories appear on this website each week. His views and conclusions are not necessarily those of ARCHITECT magazine nor of the American Institute of Architects.