Hong Kong’s ‘Building of 1,000 Assholes’ reimagined as giant Tetris game

Jardine House, with its perfectly uniform windows and pitched, angular roof, is one of Hong Kong’s most iconic skyscrapers. It held the title of Asia’s tallest building upon completion in 1972, has been called a “honeypot for photographers,” and bears the crude nickname “Building of a Thousand Assholes.”

Now, the Central skyscraper is also a massive Tetris game board—in the eyes of two Hong Kong-based artists, that is.

Blair Sugarman and Will Markezana, both part of photography collective Beyond Visuals, worked together to transform the silver monolith into a display for the classic tile-matching game.

 

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A post shared by Blair Sugarman (@blairsugarman1)

Sugarman told Coconuts that he had always thought Jardine House—with its round, recessed windows—looked like a Connect 4 board.

“Every time I walk past it, I’ve always imagined what it would be like if the lights were coordinated in a way that shows the game being played,” Sugarman, who is from London, said.

“I actually work in the building next to Jardine House, so for the past few years it’s really driven me crazy to look out the window and be reminded of a vision that I hadn’t yet completed.”

Amid the pandemic inertia of being stuck in Hong Kong, Sugarman got cracking. But reimagining Jardine House as a game of Connect 4 would be more complicated—there’d need to be two colors of tiles as it’s multiplayer, for one—so Tetris it was.

Jardine House at dusk. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Jardine House at dusk. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sugarman took numerous drone shots of Jardine House with as many of the windows’ lights on as possible, then played with Photoshop to create variations of images, including one with all the lights off.

With those composites, Markezana programmed a playable version of Tetris on the skyscraper.

“This piece uses a combination of drone photography, compositing and Python coding to turn one of Hong Kong’s most iconic buildings into a classic game of Tetris,” Sugarman wrote on Instagram.

Sugarman is working on getting the piece ready for the upcoming Digital Art Fair, where his photography will be displayed alongside other artists.

Given the geometric design of Jardine House, Sugarman said, the facade has potential to host other games—board, video, or otherwise.

“We’re trying to gauge the reception to the first piece of digital art first,” Sugarman added. “For the other games, we’ll see how it goes.”

Read more: Hong Kong artist with eye for the ‘surreal’ turns city into a playground

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