Perceiving Distances: Void and Negative Space

Vanessa Heider


The open-pit mine at the Iron Ore Mine in Kirkenes, Norway, intricately carves into the landscape.  Within it, distances transcend human scale, eluding precise measurement. Particularly, visual distances may not always align with measured ones. This fascinating phenomenon challenges conventional understanding of negative space, leaving the vast distances concealed within the open-pit mine uncertain, and posing challenges for accurate perception.

‘Perceiving Distances: Void and Negative Space’ explores how to navigate these spatial enigmas. A series of representations of the open-pit mine’s cavity demonstrate the mesmerising illusions posed by this void. An interplay of 2D and 3D visualisation strategies thoughtfully investigate how distances of various scales and proportions can be skillfully manipulated to become perceptible under different conditions.


Vanessa Heider was born in Germany and is currently pursuing a Master of Architecture, Urbanism, and Building Sciences at the Technical University of Delft. To her, architecture is more than a profession; it is a medium for conveying emotions and making bold statements.