Have you ever noticed those fixtures of a building which serve no purpose? Like a staircase with no door, or shutters without a window? These architectural relics are named Thomassons, after the baseball player Gary Thomasson, who missed so many balls he was nicknamed the “Electric Fan.”
The term “Thomasson” was coined by Genpei Akasegwa, a Japanese artist who, in the 1980s, began to photograph these architectural relics for a magazine column. His column became wildly popular among Japanese youth, who saw in his photos a sense of humanity in a de-humanizing city. Before “Thomassons,” Akasegwa and his friends called these relics “hyperart,” where even though the objects served no purpose, they continued to be aesthetically stimulating. In 1985, Akasegwa published his Thomasson photographs and writings in the book, Hyperart: Thomasson.
Last week, 6sqft rounded up Thomassons in New York, and we couldn’t help but share. Here are some photos we found of Thomassons around New York City, France, California, and elsewhere.
The buyers of this building in Brooklyn Heights changed the entrance from the first floor to the basement, but decided to keep the second floor door for bloggers like us.
Get the book Hyperart: Thomassons on Amazon. For more “failed” architecture in New York, check out photos these six architectural calamities in NYC and Paris. Also, if architecture is your thing, check out our upcoming Vertical Tour of St. John the Divine and our tour of the off-limits Woolworth Building.