The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Chapter has announced the winners of their 2019 Architectural Photography Awards. The 18 images, awarded in the Honor, Merit, and Citation tiers, were selected from 450 submissions of stellar quality, a two-fold increase on the 2018 edition.
The awards were founded as a “celebration of the use of architecture as a subject to make art, rather than a photograph as a documentational tool.” Recognizing the individuals driven to communicate the works of architects, the awards “celebrate the photographer’s eye, skill, and talent in expressing the transcendent nature of space."
This particular group of submissions was excellent and one of the markers of it that struck me was its diversity of approach. We’ve seen aerials, black and white, narrative, non-narrative, abstract, we’ve seen things we’ve never seen before—that’s always refreshing.
-Matthew Rolston, Juror, 2019 AIA|LA APA
Below, we have reprinted the photographs selected by the AIA. For more information on the awards, visit the official website here.
Title: Ragnarock - Museum of Pop, Rock & Youth Culture
Architects: Cobe, Copenhagen & MVRDV, Rotterdam.
Jury Notes: “This is a traditional, classical, iconic building - and if not the building, certainly the image of it. | The huge, gold structure cantilevered out looks almost dangerously powerful as if it’s going to crush a small child who is kneeling beneath it. That creates a lot of visual interest and helps tell a big story about the power of architecture. | So often when you see an important building like this, it’s flattened in the landscape – this really exaggerates the cantilever, makes you feel the grandiosity… and gives you a sense of awe.”
Title: Steel City
Architect: Smithfield-Liberty Garage, designed by Mr. Philips B. Bown (Altenhof & Bown)
Jury Notes: "Architecture is so much about context, and this photograph truly captures that. | This photographer, by design or by chance, caught a shaft of light between buildings, illuminating a very surreal structure – or at least it appears surreal compared to its neighbors on the street front. | The svelte, suave curves, the lightness, the purity of it versus the dark, but not threatening, traditional urban context. Poetics and composition are really beautiful. | It’s a wonderfully evocative dream image."
Luis Ayala, AIA
Title: Park Here!
Weil am Rhein, Germany
Architect: parking lot of the Vitra Design Center, designed by Herzog & de Meuron
Jury Notes: "This photograph derives power from its abstraction. There are some very rigorous compositional effects here. It’s a painting, as a photograph. | You understand so intimately what this space is, but here it’s presented in this new way that really makes you look. You see the tire marks, you see the way that we park in clusters, it really brings humanity to something that could feel really stark. | It is a very rich, pure, abstract, and human image. Parking lots should look and feel so good when you are in them as they do from this angle."
Florian W. Mueller
Title: Singularity No. 18
Architect: Planungsgruppe Stieldorf
Jury Notes: "Some photographs have a totemic quality: you just stare at them and you begin to meditate. This is one of those images. Is it the building or is it the photograph? Well, it’s both. | Framed by the sky, this abstract, minimal piece is incredibly engaging. It’s an object against space, but it could be an object on another field– it’s almost like a door, a window, or a gateway. | It draws the eye in. Looking up and down the color keeps the movement in the space. The photographer was very smart with how they composed to make it all sing."
Title: Clap Clap
Itsukushima Temple, Hiroshima, Japan
Architect: built c. 1170 by Taira-no-Kiyomori, rebuilt c. 1571 by Mori
Jury Notes: "Not all photographs are narratives or have narrative qualities – this one does. It almost looks like a scene from a film. It seems to tell a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. | There is a big idea here which is that architecture and people are a unity, a singularity, which isn’t always the case in architectural photography. | We’re not seeing the entire building, we’re getting information about the weathered wood, the woman praying, the prayers that are hung up, such a sense of place without having to be shown everything."
Title: To the Moon
Los Angeles, CA
Jury Notes: "This is a very intriguing photograph taken at The Broad, a shrine to contemporary art. We are truly in the belly of the beast. | It captures what is the most wonderous and a little threatening or scary about this particular ascent. | Without that context, it’s this image of people entering into the unknown- and I think that’s something we can all relate to, a visceral effect which is what architecture can bring. It isn’t about something being beautiful, it’s about a place that you go, in your mind, and physically in space."
Title: 100% Tempelhofer Feld
Title: Sydney Opera House Silhouette
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Architect: Jørn Utzon
Kip Harris, AIA
Title: Taj Mahal from Gardens at Dawn
Designer: Usually attributed to Ustad Ahmad, aka Isa Khan
Los Angeles, CA
Paul Turang, Affiliate AIA|LA
Title: Time For Dodger Baseball
Los Angeles, CA
Architect: Emil Praeger
Francis Ssu-ing Wu
New York, New York
Title: 911 Memorial
Manhattan, New York
Architect: Oculus, by Santiago Calatrava
Title: Ennis Midnight Storm
Los Angeles, CA
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Gregory Yager, AIA
New York City, NY
Javier Gil Vieco
Title: Glowing Profile
Architect: Museum of Pop Culture (former EMP Museum) by Frank Gehry (Gehry Partners, LLP)
Title: House on Lava
Ryan M. Gobuty, Assoc. AIA
Dominus Estate, Yountville, California
Architect: Herzog & de Meuron