Artist's Animations Turn Iconic Buildings Into Characters

Michael William Lester
Michael William Lester / Michael William Lester

In his latest web project, Character Building, Michael William Lester—an English designer and illustrator whose previous work includes this tiny portfolio—makes international architecture approachable.

“Good architecture interacts with its surroundings," Lester writes on the site. "It gives off energy, sparks interaction and pulls so much life in that the building itself lives and breathes." To illustrate that concept, he chose 20 famous buildings and turned them into animated, anthropomorphic characters.

The animations bring the structures to life. The Petronas Towers (above) located in Kuala Lumur, Malaysia, become fist-bumping frenemies. Architect Michael Graves’ controversial Portland Building transforms into an engrossed reader. The Bitexco Financial Tower in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is given the ability to swat away a pesky helicopter like it’s an annoying fly.

Each animated building on the Character Building site comes with a jaunty description of the “character," as well as a few basic details about the architecture, such as its height, completion date, and function.

“A firm handshake let the Petronas Towers put their differences behind them,” the Malaysian skyscrapers’ entry reads.

Whether you’re an architecture buff or this is your first introduction to these famous skyscrapers, Lester provides a whole new way of looking at the well-known buildings.

And if you do have a special connection to a particular building, you can buy posters of the illustrations for less than $12 each.

All images by Michael William Lester.