Lately, architects are sharing an increasing captivation with ruins. As our technologies for envisioning the buildings of the future become ever-more accurate – enabling us not only to walk through, hover over, and inhabit walls, but also to calculate exact quantities of materials, structural load capacities and costs – our fascination for ruin, a process that is governed by laws of nature and time in a manner that is spatially unpredictable and rarely uniform, has also seen a rise in popularity.
Blogs such as Ruin Porn, Abandoned America and Architecture of Doom draw from a recent sub-genre of photography, identified as ‘ruins photography’ or ‘ruin porn’. While buildings can go into decay for many reasons, these images tend to focus on urban decay, especially in cities such as Detroit, Chicago and Berlin, which saw a surge of industrialization in the last century that has since dwindled.
In honor of World Photo Day (August 19th) ArchDaily wanted to thank the photographers who bring to life the projects that we publish every day. So we asked 15 architects to weigh in on the work of some of our most-appreciated architecture photographers. Here, Andrew Freear of Rural Studio writes on behalf of Tim Hursley.
In 1994, a routine construction technique that has been practiced in Hong Kong for over 100 years caught the attention of photographer Peter Steinhauer - and led him to put almost a decade of work into capturing this unique urban phenomenon. The bamboo scaffolding and fabric wrappings he photographs serve the simple purpose of catching construction debris, but at a glance they look more like works by Christo and Jeanne Claude, the artists that have made their name wrapping buildings like the Reichstag in Berlin.
The resulting photos showcase the colossal towers of Hong Kong wrapped in brightly-colored fabric; their usually varied facades are made monolithic, like a plastic massing model rendered full-size. Steinhauer named his photo series “Cocoons” due to the effect they create over time: the buildings metamorphose under cover and emerge transformed.
Read on for more photos of these urban cocoons
ArchDaily has partnered with The Architectural Review to bring you short thematic introductions to the magazine’s monthly editions. Up now: AR’s April 2014 issue, which examines the complexities of architecture photography. Editor Catherine Slessor asks “what happens when controlled views of buildings are redefined by and adapted to new technologies?”
Roland Barthes once observed that there is no such thing as a photograph. ‘Whatever it grants to vision and whatever its manner, a photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see’, he wrote in Camera Lucida. What we do see is the scrutinising gaze of the photographer, which can beguile or unsettle, but should always evoke some kind of response.
As a scientific and ‘truthful’ medium, photography has served architecture well, especially in the Modernist era when the evolving medium synthesised perfectly with a new approach to design. Yet the relationship between architecture and photography is an inherently compromised one. Unlike art practice, architectural photography lends itself less to searching critical enquiry, being essentially an unspoken pact between architect, photographer and publisher to render buildings in a way that discreetly flatters architectural ambition and sells copies of books or magazines.
In this interview, originally published by Paperhouses as “Decisive Moment: Conversation With Fernando Guerra“, the Portuguese photographer details his career in architectural photography, and how he approaches the art of photographing buildings. As an advocate of free sharing and online publicity, and one of a new breed of photographers who – shock horror – likes to include people in his shots of buildings, Guerra is well placed to explain how the world of architectural photography has changed over the past decade.
I do not want to call it an interview—it was a fabulous discussion that Fernando Guerra led as a loose narrative with notes on work that he practices with hedonism and filled with life. They are all stories dedicated to the great beauty of doing what one loves and letting it grow.
Read on after the break for the interview
Last June, we published our first list of must-see Instagram feeds to follow, but we knew it was only the tip of the iceberg. Once again we’ve scoured the web (and followed your excellent suggestions) to track down the 25 Instagrammers who will be sure to inspire – including dare-devil adventurer raskalov, up-and-coming architecture photographer nicanorgarcia, and our very own editor-in-chief.
See the 25 awesome architecture instagrammers, after the break…
Steven Holl Architects has shared with us an impressive gallery of images of their recent project, Nanjing’s Sifang Art Museum. Rising above the lush landscape of the Pearl Spring, the new museum was designed as a physical manifestation of the parallel perspective, a technique prevalent in early Chinese paintings. From a subtly distorted courtyard with no vanishing points to an upper level gallery with calculated views and pristine light, the experience through the Sifang Art Museum is unlike any other.
See for yourself, after the break…
The talented photographers of Hufton + Crow have shared with us their visual archive of Bjarke Ingels’ recently completed Danish Maritime Museum. Built within the crevasse of a dry dock in the historic surrounds of Helsingor’s Kronborg Castle, the subterranean museum is visible only as an imprint of a ship. By looping the museum around the dock’s 60-year-old walls, Ingles was able to preserve the heritage structure while transforming it into a courtyard that provides daylight deep into the heart of the museum.
Experience the Danish Maritime Museum through a whole new lens, after the break…
UPDATE: The winning images will go on show February 28th in London at the “Building Images: The Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Awards 2013″ exhibition. They will remain on view through April 25th inside a renovated factory on 7–9 Woodbridge Street.
The Architectural Photography Awards, hosted by Arcaid Images, have announced the winner, runner-up and shortlisted images for this year’s best architecture photos. A distinguished panel architects and editors that included Catherine Slessor, Eva Jiricna, Zaha Hadid, Ivan Harbour and Graham Stirk were asked to look beyond architecture and into composition, atmosphere and scale to ultimately judge four categories of images: Interiors, Exteriors, Sense of Place and Building In Use. Their selections reflect this vision admirably.
Architectural photographer Victor Enrich has shared with ArchDaily a series of 88 images — one for every key in the classical piano — exploring the various formal possibilities of the NH Deutscher Kaiser Hotel in Munich, Germany. “I found it beautiful,” says Enrich, “to connect two distinct artistic disciplines such as photography and computer graphics with the piano.” See further illustrations and read a full description of his thought process following the break.
At the opening of the newly constructed De Rotterdam building in his home city, Rem Koolhaas spoke at length about how this “vertical city” was designed to appear scaleless, despite its urban context. More about what Koolhaas had to say about the project and the city, after the break…
Our friend and architectural photographer Felipe Camus recently embarked on an architectural pilgrimage to the valley of the Rhein. Located in the Graubünden region in Switzerland, the valley boasts many of the seminal works of Pritzker Prize Laureate Peter Zumthor, all within a 60-kilometer radius. Born in Graubünden himself, Zumthor designed the works in relation to their location and time by paying special attention to details and materials. As a result, the works all present Zumthor’s unparalleled skills of craftsmanship and his uncompromising integrity.
Join us for a special AD Architectural Mountain Guide, including a detailed map, photos and descriptions of Zumthor’s works, after the break….