Iwan Baan: Going Up

While you might not recognize him, you know his work; much of today’s most famous buildings are being archived through the lens of Iwan Baan. As the go-to photographer for many of the world’s leading architects, Baan is constantly on the move and exploring new places. And, just as he describes in the NOWNESS video above, he has found that the best way to understand a new city is to “go up” and view it from above.

Chicago Biennial: “The State of the Art of Architecture” Will Feature Photo Series by Iwan Baan

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The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial now has an official name, with co-directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda announcing “The State of the Art of Architecture” as the biennial’s theme last week. Taking its name from a 1977 conference organized in Chicago by Stanley Tigerman, which focused on the state of architecture in the US, next year’s Architecture Biennial will aim to expand that conversation into the “international and intergenerational” arena.

In addition to the new name, the Biennial also announced its first major project, a photo essay of Chicago by Iwan Baan, which will contextualize the many landmarks of the Chicago skyline within the wider cityscape and within the day-to-day life of the city.

Read on for more about the biennial theme and more images from Iwan Baan. 

Images of SOM’s Completed One World Trade Center in New York

© James Ewing OTTO

The first tenant has moved into the One World Trade Center, making Monday, November 3, the official opening of the (arguably) tallest building in the Western hemisphere 13 years after the tragedy of 9/11. The “extraordinary moment was passed in the most ordinary of ways,” described the New York Times, as employees of Conde Nast entered into the white marble lobby (taken from the same quarry that produced marble for the original twin towers) and headed straight to the elevators to start their work day.

To celebrate its completion, renowned architectural photographers Iwan Baan and James Ewing took it to the sky to capture the One World Trade Center in all its glory. The images, after the break.

Take a Walk on the High Line with Iwan Baan

View looking west along one of the Rail Track Walks. Image © , 2014 (Section 3)

Sunday marked the completion of the New York City High Line, a three-phased project that transformed the once disused elevated rail tracks on Manhattan’s West Side into one of the world’s most respected public parks. With the first section opening in 2009, architectural photographer Iwan Baan has been documenting the entire process. Now, for the first time we present to you a photographic journey through the completed High Line designed by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Take a look, after the break.

World Photo Day: Iwan Baan by Steven Holl

Museum of Ocean and Surf / Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Solange Fabiao. Image ©

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, Steven Holl writes on behalf of Iwan Baan

Iwan Baan to Judge Avant Guardian Photography Contest

Makoko, Lagos, Nigeria (Featured: Makoko Floating School by NLE Architects). Image © Iwan Baan

Surface Magazine’s reintroducing its famed Avant Guardian photography contest, a competition that has helped launch the careers of many photographers. Surface editors and a star jury – featuring international photographer Iwan Baan, along with Johan Lindeberg, Klitos Teklos (Air Paris), Benoit Lagarde (Splashlight), and Keren Sachs (Offset) – will select 10 finalists. Finalists’ work will be showcased in Surface’s October 2014 issue and in a traveling exhibition.

To inspire you to apply, we’ve rounded up some stunning images of Iwan Baan. Enjoy – and remember – the deadline for submissions is Thursday July 24th at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time!

The 20 Most Inspiring TED Talks for Architects

Iwan Baan on the unexpected in his travels as an architectural photographer and documenter. Image via on YouTube

Are you feeling short on inspiration today? For a jump-start, try watching one of these twenty TED Talks – a follow-up to last year’s post “The 10 Most Inspirational TED Talks for Architects.” Wherever your interests lie, the passionate people featured in these – from WikiHouse founder Alastair Parvin to famed photographer Iwan Baan and architectural great Moshe Safdie - will get your creative juices flowing. See them all, after the break.

AD Round Up: The Photography of Iwan Baan

Torre David in Caracas, Venezuela. Image © Iwan Baan, Image courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery

After reading this great profile in the Wall Street Journal, we thought now would be a great time to round-up the iconic shots of “the Indiana Jones of Architecture Photography“, Iwan Baan. From his first commission, documenting the construction of OMA‘s CCTV Headquarters, to projects such as Herzog & de Meuron‘s VitraHaus, he has brought us some of the most enduring images in contemporary architecture. But he is also known for certain trademarks: taking time for lesser-known humanitarian projects, such as MASS Design Group‘s Butaro Doctors’ Housing; focusing on human interaction with buildings, as seen in his photographs of the Torre David in Caracas for the Venice Biennale in 2012; and his penchant for helicopter shots – which resulted in the stunning photo of Manhattan in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (read the story behind the shot here).

A Seductive Abstraction: Architecture & Photography’s Tacit Pact

Courtesy of The Architectural Review

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.

Herzog & de Meuron Completes First Project in Brazil: Morro Arena

Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron. Exterior.

This last Wednesday, April 9th, Herzog & de Meuron opened its first project in Morro Arena - located in the city of Natal. With a capacity for 350 people, the arena features multipurpose rooms for dancing, classrooms, a terrace overlooking the sea, locker rooms and a sports court.

The project is the first finished part of a broader urban plan for the region developed by the Swiss Office in partnership with the Centro Sócio Pastoral Nossa Senhora de Conceição in 2009.

Why Iwan Baan’s TED Talk Was Right

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Iwan Baan’s recent TED talk on ingenious informal settlement ‘architecture’ became instantly popular, clearly striking a chord with people across the globe. The lecture has been called everything from heartwarming to condescending, but for Parsons graduate students Meagan Durlak and James Frankis it was reaffirming. Durlak and Frankis have spent time working in Sao Paolo’s and understand that finding a balance between the good and the bad is key to the revitalization of these settlements. This article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine as “Response to Iwan Baan’s TED Talk,” journals some of their experiences working in South American slums, and why we need to stop treating those slums as a blight. 

Meagan Durlak and I were excited to see the talk by architectural photographer Iwan Baan on the ingenuity found within informal settlements. In his presentation he walks us through a range of communities across the world, capturing many such settlements, including houses above a lagoon and a repurposed office block.

Baan’s view of informal settlements resonates with our own work; it’s an under-told story that we very much applaud. He shows an overview of people’s lives and their unique methods for adapting to difficult conditions. Perhaps as interesting as his film are the reactions to it from TED viewers. Many found the innovation in informal settlements to be inspiring and heartwarming; others claimed that this talk is just a life affirming story for the rich 1% of the world, perpetuating inaction for areas which need immediate aid. The two sides of the argument reminded us of our own work and the battles we have gone through in trying to wrap our heads around the systems of informal settlements, as well as the difficulties we have had in explaining their hidden properties to others.

Iwan Baan on Light and the Louvre Lens

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Most architects are familiar with the work of , the eminent photographer who has documented some of the most famous buildings of our time. But what you may not know is that Baan had not originally intended to photograph architecture. Had it not been for a chance meeting with Rem Koolhaas, things may have turned out quite differently. 

In the video above, Baan speaks with ERCO at the , a SANAA-designed offshoot of the Paris Louvre located in a small mining town in the north of France. As he traipses around the museum’s campus, he speaks about everything from his approach to photography (one that is less wrapped up in architecture than you might think) to the importance and transformative properties of light . 

TED: Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places / Iwan Baan

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Iwan Baan’s curiosity for the built environment has led him to be one of the world’s most preeminent photographers whose skills are in constant demand by architectural elites worldwide. Constantly on the move, Baan has found himself documenting fascinating testaments to human ingenuity. From the informal vertical community of Torre David in Caracas to the floating Niagara of Makoko, Baan’s encounters with thriving communities in some of the most unexpected places has led him to believe that there is “no such thing as normal” and humans can truly adapt to anything.

Watch TEDCity2.0: Dream me. Build me. Make me real.

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Calling all urban innovators, organizers, stewards and builders: Today, September 20th, from 9am to 5pm EST, curators Chris Anderson, John Cary and Courtney Martin will kick off TEDCity2.0: Dream me. Build me. Make me real. The day-long event, which will be live-streamed for free, will share stories of urban ingenuity and interdependence from across the globe, while featuring an unexpected mix of over 20 speakers, including walkability expert Jeff Speck, world renowned architectural photographer Iwan Baan, and several 2012 City 2.0 Award winners. View the event program for more details.

WORLD PHOTO DAY: The 13 Architecture Photographers to Follow Now

© Leonardo Finotti

In honor of World Photo Day, we’ve rounded up the 13 architectural photographers who have been impressing us most in 2013. From industry heavyweights, like and , to relative new comers, such as Miguel de Guzmán and Fran Parente, these photographers have traveled the world, getting the architectural shots we only dream of. See all 13, after the break…

Photography: Toyo Ito by Iwan Baan

Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture ©

“Whoever reviews Ito’s works notices not only a variety of functional programs, but also a spectrum of architectural languages.” — From the 2013 Pritzker Jury’s Citation

Toyo Ito has just been announced the winner of the 2013 Pritzker Prize. To commemorate this master architect, we’ve reached out to Iwan Baan, architecture’s premier photographer, and assembled a retrospective of some of Ito’s greatest works (all photographed, of course, by Baan) – including the Za Koenji Public Theatre, Toyo Ito’s Museum of Architecture, Silver Hut – TIMA, Ken Iwata Mother and Child Museum, Yaoko Kawagoe Museum, Suites Avenue Hotel, Huge Wineglass Project, Mikimoto 2, Tama Art University Library & White O. See them all, after the break…

Tama Art University Library / Toyo Ito by Iwan Baan

Once again, Iwan Baan shared with us another impresive photoset. This time, we are presenting the Tama Art University Library in , Japan, by .

Za Koenji Public Theatre / Toyo Ito by Iwan Baan

Once more, Iwan Baan shared with the Za Koenji Public Theatre by Toyo Ito in , Japan. An impressive black volume in the middle of the city of Suginami in and managed by Creative Theatre Network (CTN), a non-profit organization led by president Ren Saito.

You can see the complete photoset on Iwan’s website.