These Modernist Sand Castles Are Cooler Than Any Architectural Model

These Modernist Sand Castles Are Cooler Than Any Architectural Model

All buildings eventually die: Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. But artist Calvin Seibert’s work lasts no longer than a turn of the Earth. Seibert spends his free time sculpting incredible models on the beach — and they’re unlike any sand castles I’ve ever seen.

Seibert, who goes by Box Builder on Flickr, has been making sand castles since childhood — he only recently started photographing his creations, as he told me today over email. He also uses traditional techniques — though the results are incredibly weird and beautiful.

Here’s how Seibert explained his fascination with sand to me:

When I was a kid I made structures that looked like buildings in the early stages of construction. I wasn’t interested in finished looking scale models. We lived in a neighbourhood where houses were always just being built and I was attracted to that. I thought then that I would be an architect but by high school It became clear that what I had really been making all along were sculptures and so I went to art school and became an artist.

I grew up in Colorado and the sandcastles only got started when I moved to New York and had access to a beach. For many years I never bothered to photograph what I made. Then as I started doing so I also started taking them more seriously. Thinking about how they might evolve. How I push the shapes and ideas.

What’s so fascinating, to me, is that each of his models seems to reference a particular period of architecture. Some have the jagged edges and bombastic angles of Soviet Constructivism:

Others look like the heroic cities designed by Italian futurist Antonio Sant’Elia:

Others still hearken back to the sinuous, organic curves of Le Corbusier during the later years of his life:

It’s amazing work — and fun whether you care about the architectural history behind these models or not. Check out a few more below, or head over to his Flickr page.

Thanks Andrew!