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Raphael Olivier

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Design Criticism Ignores the Places that it Could Help the Most

09:30 - 27 November, 2018
Design Criticism Ignores the Places that it Could Help the Most, Growing economies- and the inspiration of Western style architectural wealth - has led to the development of areas such as these across the world. This example, in Ordos, Mongolia, was built for a prospective population that never quite came.. Image © Raphael Olivier
Growing economies- and the inspiration of Western style architectural wealth - has led to the development of areas such as these across the world. This example, in Ordos, Mongolia, was built for a prospective population that never quite came.. Image © Raphael Olivier

This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "The Design Media Needs to Examine its Own Privilege."

Kate Wagner grew up in rural North Carolina. As a kid, her mom, who never went to college, worked in a grocery store deli and later in childcare. Her dad had a steady government job with a pension, and his time in the military meant he had the resources and benefits needed to get a college degree. Wagner describes her economic background as “one foot in the working class and one foot in the middle class, and it was always a negotiation between those two classes.” They were, she says, “just normal-ass American people.”

History's Most Notorious Unfinished Buildings

09:30 - 9 July, 2018
© Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família
© Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família

Both today and in centuries past, it is a reality of building that not every project is destined for success. Financial issues or unrealistic timetables can complicate a building’s construction but, while usually the final result eventually meets the initial expectations, other times the worst-case scenario of a building being abandoned during construction becomes a nightmare come true. Unfortunately, these failed projects have an extensive history. Economic factors are the most common cause of unfinished construction, but buildings have also been stranded in limbo by wars, geopolitical shifts, epidemics of disease and other unpredictable obstacles, leaving partial structures as haunting reminders of what might have been.

Whether partially completed and left as ruins or still under construction decades (or centuries) after initial groundbreaking, unfinished buildings offer an alternative history of our built environment, promising long-delayed gratification or examples of design so ambitious that they prove impossible to realize. Initiated by civilizations across the globe, the following list details just a few examples of history’s most interesting and infamous unfinished construction projects.

Image by Ilya Ilusenko <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Palace_Of_Soviets_8.JPG'>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain) © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/4675714481'>Flickr user hisgett</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> © Raphael Olivier © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tourists_posing_at_the_National_Monument_of_Scotland.jpg'>Wikimedia user Colin</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/'>CC BY-SA 4.0</a> + 12

The Best Photos of the Week: The Beauty of Concrete

12:00 - 20 August, 2017

Due to its ability to be shaped into complex forms and the diversity of textures that it can offer, concrete is one of the favorite materials of many architects, who appreciate its capacity to help them realize their designs. For this reason, for this week's Photos of the Week we have selected 20 images that highlight the beauty and expressiveness of this material. Read on to see a selection of renowned photographers such as Brigida González, Bruno Candiotto, Élena Marini Silvestri, and Raphael Olivier.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Élena Marini Silvestri © Ivan Brodey © Fernando Stankuns + 21

World Photo Day 2017: Our Readers’ 100 Most-Bookmarked Architectural Photographs

08:00 - 19 August, 2017

This August 19th is World Photo Day, which celebrates photography on the anniversary of the day on which France bought the patent for the daguerreotype, one of the earliest photographic processes, and released it to the world for free in 1839. At ArchDaily, we understand the importance of photography in architecture—not only as a tool for recording designs, but also as a discipline that many of us enjoy. To celebrate the occasion, we decided to reveal the most popular images ever published on ArchDaily, as selected by you, our readers. Using data gathered from My ArchDaily, we have ranked the 100 most-saved images from our database; read on to see them.

Hyundai Motorstudio Goyang / Delugan Meissl Associated Architects

22:00 - 26 June, 2017
Hyundai Motorstudio Goyang / Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, © Katsuhisa Kida
© Katsuhisa Kida

© Katsuhisa Kida © Katsuhisa Kida © Raphael Olivier © Katsuhisa Kida + 16

Korean Curiosity: Is Seoul Experiencing a "Neo-Brutalist Revival"?

09:30 - 25 April, 2017
© Raphael Olivier
© Raphael Olivier

During his frequent travels to Seoul, Hong Kong- and Singapore-based photographer Raphael Olivier noticed a new trend taking the South Korean capital: a crop of geometric, concrete buildings of all genres. He calls the new style Neo-Brutalism, after the modernist movement that proliferated in the late 1950s to 1970s, in which raw concrete was meant to express a truth and honesty. Olivier's observation led him to capture the phenomenon in a personal photo series—a photographic treasure trove of these projects which, when taken as a whole, uncovers a cross-section of this trend in the city's architecture.

© Raphael Olivier © Raphael Olivier © Raphael Olivier © Raphael Olivier + 19

Photographer Raphael Olivier Explores the Suspended Reality of North Korea’s Socialist Architecture

09:30 - 8 September, 2016
Photographer Raphael Olivier Explores the Suspended Reality of North Korea’s Socialist Architecture, Ryugyong Hotel. Image © Raphael Olivier
Ryugyong Hotel. Image © Raphael Olivier

North Korea is one of the few countries still under communist rule, and probably the most isolated and unknown worldwide. This is a result of the philosophy of Juche – a political system based on national self-reliance which was partly influenced by principles of Marxism and Leninism.

In recent years though, the country has loosened its restrictions on tourism, allowing access to a limited number of visitors. With his personal photo series “North Korea – Vintage Socialist Architecture,” French photographer Raphael Olivier reports on Pyongyang’s largely unseen architectural heritage. ArchDaily interviewed Olivier about the project, the architecture he captured, and what he understood of North Korea’s architecture and way of life.

The Workers Party Foundation Monument . Image © Raphael Olivier Pyongyang International Cinema House. Image © Raphael Olivier Pyongyang Ice Rink . Image © Raphael Olivier Overpass. Image © Raphael Olivier + 21

The Folded Apartment / More Design Office

20:00 - 2 February, 2016
The Folded Apartment / More Design Office, © Raphael Olivier
© Raphael Olivier

© Raphael Olivier © Raphael Olivier © Raphael Olivier © Raphael Olivier + 20

With "Ordos – A Failed Utopia," Raphael Olivier Captures the Contradictions of Chinese Construction

09:30 - 1 February, 2016
With "Ordos – A Failed Utopia," Raphael Olivier Captures the Contradictions of Chinese Construction, © Raphael Olivier
© Raphael Olivier

For the past quarter century, China’s rapidly expanding economy provided architects with an almost endless supply of building opportunities. Easy lending allowed for an exponential rise in infrastructure projects – China used more concrete in three years than the United States used in the entire twentieth century. But in a country where the number of cities with over a million inhabitants jumped from 16 in 1970 to 106 in 2015, the speed of development enabled high profile, but flawed, experiments alongside the many necessary building projects. There is perhaps no better example of this phenomenon than the city of Ordos. The Inner Mongolian metropolis – home to 100,000 – which sprang from the northern desert in the mid-2000s was designed for over a million inhabitants. The reality of the city came to public attention in 2009 when Al Jazeera wrote about an early uncertainty in the Chinese real estate market.

After living in China for a number of years, photographer Raphael Olivier finally gave in to the nagging urge to see Ordos for himself. Visiting last year, he found a well-maintained city that is still largely uninhabited. I interviewed Olivier about the project, his views on Ordos, Chinese prosperity, and what it means to photograph architecture.