Cart Search
submit Remember my login

2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

Looking for a chapter event?

Past SPE Annual Conferences

Nate Mathews

SPE Member since 2009
Member Chapter: Midwest


Ersatz is a photographic exploration about how architecture influences those who inhabit it. Architecture plays an important part in how people interact, where and whether they interact, and how they feel about the activity that happens in the space. People recognize when they do not like a space or if it is lacking something and shown in this work is the attempts to rectify the flaws in the design.
Ersatz: [er-zahts]: An artificial substance or article used to replace something natural or genuine; a substitute.
This work examines artificial features that are incorporated into publicly accessible spaces: commercial, corporate, and institutional, constructed environments in an attempt to mitigate or lessen the effect of structures that, while functional, are essentially cold flat featureless boxes. This collection seeks to draw the viewer's attention to the presence of these ersatz elements in modern architectural spaces.
All of these images depict elements added to the environment to simulate comfort to those people who pass through these spaces. Some are of a more physical or sensory kind, such as a place for people to sit or something to look at. However, most ersatz elements relate to the connection of humans to nature. The place to sit or thing to look at becomes a place to look at nature or a representation therein.

Bike Rack

Bulletin Board


Night Class

Bulletin Board II

Bio Lab

Picnic Table

Vine Wall

Planter and Stairs

Four Trees

Resting Place

Bench and Plants

Sunset, Tree Shadow, and Benches

Mirrors on the Wall

Lecture Room 1


Green Window

Stairs to Nowhere

Ten Hexagons

Reflection of Sunset and Street Light

Ivy Tree

Three Flower Pots


Desk Chair

Bike Racks and Rusty Skeleton, 2010 Building

Leaning Tree

Email Sign Up

SPE email updates contain resources, news, and more!

About this piece

Comments about this piece

Dialogue and critique are important to the SPE mission.
Please join the conversation.

Exit Full Screen Mode