Digital Collage and Dirty Realism in Contemporary Architecture

The relationship between architecture and photography and the emergence of a new understanding of realism, based on the production of architectures and images from fragments of reality.


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Title Information

Jesús Vassallo. Prologue by Juan Herreros

1st edition

, 2016


200 pages, 164 color and 7 b/w illustrations

17 x 24 cm

ISBN 978-3-03860-019-0

Architecture at Rice


During the past fifty years, documentary photography and architecture have become increasingly interdependent, blurring the disciplinary boundary between the two. Seamless looks at the work of a new generation of European photographers and architects working together to produce images of architecture made from fragments of reality. At the same time, it investigates how shared digital technologies influence the creation of architecture and its photographic representation through images.

Based on a series of interviews, Seamless discusses the collaborations between Filip Dujardin and Jan De Vylder, Philipp Schaerer and Roger Boltshauser, and Bas Princen and OFFICE Kersten Geers David van Severen. Each of the three sections is illustrated with a series of images that form parallel narratives within the book. In the concluding essay, architect Jesús Vassallo pulls together the threads of the conversations to investigate questions about the impact of digital technology on the value assigned to images, how shared technological platforms enhance the influence photographers and architects have on each other, and why they have often chosen to focus on the dirty realism of urban spaces.


Received Bronze at the Spanish Laus Design Awards 2017.


Designed by Tres Tipos Gráficos, Madrid.


Other titles in the Architecture at Rice series:

The Continuous City: Fourteen Essays on Architecture and Urbanization

Totalization: Speculative Practice in Architectural Education

Epics in the Everyday: Photography, Architecture, and the Problem of Realism

Nueva Vivienda: New Housing Paradigms in Mexico

System of Novelties: Dawn Finley and Mark Wamble, Interloop—Architecture

Authors & Editors

Jesús Vassallo

 is a Spanish architect and writer, and an assistant professor at Rice University’s School of Architecture in Houston, TX.


“While the processes outlined by Vassallo aren’t necessarily available to all working architects, the pairings outline interesting potentials for collaboration and highlight the increasingly elusive role of image in architecture, raising questions that impact traditional roles of representation and the comprehension of architecture.” Jesse Hager, Texas Architect