When online architecture platform, Blank Space, invited contestants to create fantasy architectural environments based off of modern fairytales, contestants Kevin Wang and Nicholas O'Leary knew exactly how to dazzle the competition.
"The images were not intended to present an 'ideal' world, but one that is somewhere between dark and light, somewhere open for interpretation, a world between natural landscape and constructed cityscape," said author, Wang, and artist, O'Leary, of their winning entry, Chapter Thirteen. "The architecture was integrated as architecture should be integrated—as an auditorium for life."
Chapter Thirteen extends Lewis Carroll's twelve-chapter Alice in Wonderland. Half-illustrated reimagining, half-continuation of the original story, Wang and O'Leary recreated the titular heroine as Alice L. Dodgson, a matured version of the original wanderer, as she traipses an overgrown, industrial Wonderland, immersed in ennui. Wrote in the first person, Alice's story is a diary entry of frustrations and unfulfillment after an unsuccessful reintegration from Wonderland back into "reality." Beating out 300 other entries, Wang and O'Leary's update is a feat of both architectural illustration and spellbinding existential fantasy.
An excerpt from Chapter Thirteen:
"This is not the world I grew up in. A chess piece pinned on a two hundred square foot white box. Bounded. Absolute. Unrelenting walls inexorable after the hours I stare. Whispering a language without articulation, its only response the occasional pounding from the other side. A glimpse of life beyond these walls in the briefest of moments returns stoic as the door slams shut. Severed from desire, yearning of what is beyond reach. A barrier exists unseen and unnoticed. Few inches of air that separate its surface to me. I clean, I polish, I scrutinize over these encapsulating shells. They surround my life, yet recede into the background. There is no reason for contact. There is no reason to exist."
See stills from the astounding project below: