Signs aren’t always an afterthought – sometimes they’re integral to the design of the building itself,
carved in towering letters right into the facade or even serving as structural support. The marriage between typography and architecture is particularly eye-catching in these 13 examples, where the graphic beauty of type and, at times, moving lines of poetry add another layer of identity and emotional connection to built environments.
Wales Millennium Center, Cardiff, Wales
(images via: wikimedia commons)
‘In These Stones, Horizons Sing’. Written in both Welsh and English, this sentence makes a bold statement on the facade of the Wales Millennium Center in Cardiff, an arts center that holds performances of opera, ballet, dance, comedy and musicals. The inscription was written by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis, who wanted the words to reflect the architecture of the building. “The strata of the slate frontage of the Wales Millennium Centre reminded me of the horizons just beyond Penarth Head … The stones inside the theatre literally sing with opera, musicals and orchestral music, and I wanted to convey the sense of an international space created by the art of music.”
Minnaert Building, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
(images via: architravel)The Minnaert Building, designed by Neutelings Riedijk and added to Utrecht University in 1997, uses the letters in ‘Minnaert’ to form columns, making them essential structural supports for the section of the building that juts out over a bicycle parking area.
Fukutake House, Megijima Island, Japan
(images via: heartfish)Fukutake House, a project started by seven of Japan’s leading art galleries, brings art to rural communities that tend to be isolated from it. Occupying a new location each year, Fukutake House reinvents itself annually, but its 2010 incarnation was more stunning than ever with a typographic installation covering the facade of the elementary school that the festival temporarily occupied.
University of Toronto Graduate Housing, Toronto, Canada
(images via: wikimedia commons, morphopedia)Text is embedded into the design of the Graduate Housing building at the University of Toronto, with massive
letters shielded by a glass and steel screen, the ‘O’ seeming to hang precariously from a ledge. The structure is one of the more important works designed by Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne.