In architecture and urbanism, both proximity and distance from a certain object of study, whether on a building scale or urban scale, are frequent strategies that help us better visualize details and also have a broader overall perception, both essential for understanding the object in question. Changing the point of view allows different perceptions of the same place. By moving from the ground level, or from the eye-level, which we are accustomed to in everyday life, to the aerial point of view, we can establish connections similar to those achieved through site plans, location plans, and urban plans.
Aerial Photography: The Latest Architecture and News
"Soy de Azteca" (Or "I'm from Azteca") is a photographic project by Zaickz Moz that seeks to re-think the expressions of community and identity of the periphery of Mexico City—which is becoming more diffuse and overflows beyond its geographical limits. The objective of this project is to re-think the interpretations of community and identity of the residents of Ciudad Azteca (State of Mexico) manifested in private, public and urban spaces, through photographic series that addresses issues such as appropriation and modification of space habitable, urban development and the sense of community in the neighborhood of Ciudad Azteca.
The particular characteristics of a community give the inhabitants a sense of identity and belonging. Does this happen in any inhabited place? When observing that the history of Ciudad Azteca always exists in relation to Mexico City, it is worth asking if identifying traits have emerged among the inhabitants of Ciudad Azteca. As in other areas of the capital's periphery, it is possible to observe in this group of neighborhoods located in the municipality of Ecatepec the capacity of the locals to build and transform a space into a variety of forms of urban habitat.
Exploring the streets of foreign cities is profoundly engaging. Whether it's meeting new cultures, observing new architectures, or trying new food, travelers usually go for the typical sightseeing activities. However, some have quite a unique take on tourism and choose to think outside the box - or in this case, above it.
Hungarian photographer Márton Mogyorósy chose to explore the Catalonian capital from above, capturing aerial shots of the city. Drone photography has helped us see cities from a unique perspective, and with Barcelona’s dynamic urban fabric, the coastal city’s buildings and beaches have turned into vibrant geometric artwork.
The winning entries of the Siena International Photo Awards 2018 have been unveiled. The “Architecture and Urban Spaces” category winners offer a wide range of subjects, locations, and perspectives, from the relationship between the Moon and the Leaning Tower of Pisa to snow-capped “Toy houses.”
The Siena International Photo Awards saw 48,000 images submitted from 148 countries. The announcement of the winners coincides with the launch of the “Beyond the Lens” exhibition of the winners, running until 2nd December 2018 in Siena.
On construction sites, workers are increasingly using drones to do what humans can’t. In the past, we’ve covered brick-laying drones, their impact (for better or worse) on the urban environment, and how the technology can help improve the accuracy of architectural renders. CNBC recently reported on how drones can be used to take aerial photos of construction sites at hard-to-reach angles—an innovation that has caused drone sales to sharply increase. According to the article, "construction drone usage has skyrocketed by 239 percent year over year."
Beauty or Tragedy? Aerial Imagery of Spain’s Abandoned Housing Estates Wins DJI Drone Photography Award
The winners of the DJI Drone Photography Award have been announced, a competition calling for ideas to make creative use of drone photography, and to explore subject matters impossible to experience on foot. This year, the two winning projects consisted of a new perspective on Spain’s 3.4 million abandoned houses, and the documentation of salt production across Europe.
Each year, on the first Friday in June, people in the US celebrate National Donut Day. The origins of this commemoration go back 100 years: soon after the US entrance into World War I in 1917, the Protestant Christian church and international charitable organization The Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to France. It was during that mission that volunteering women began serving free donuts to soldiers on the front lines with the aim to boost the troops’ morale. These women, dubbed “Donut Lassies,” are often credited with making donuts widely popular in the United States when troops returned home from war.
In celebration of Earth Day, we invited Benjamin Grant—founder of the Daily Overview—to select the five "overviews" which he considers to be among the most inspiring that his platform has shared. The image above, taken on Christmas Eve in 1968 by astronauts of NASA's Apollo 8 mission is, according to Grant, "believed by many to be the first "overview" of our planet, captured by astronaut Bill Anders." This photograph dramatically pulled into focus the simultaneous magnificence, intricacy, and terrifying fragility of the planet we inhabit. Since that moment the advent, acceleration, and accessibility of satellite imagery has made one thing abundantly clear: that humankind has had a considerable effect on Earth, for better or for worse.
As recently as a century ago the idea of viewing the world from above was little more than a fantasy: the airplane was still in its infancy, with rocketry and satellites still decades into the future. Those who could not take to the air had no recourse but drawing in order to represent their world from an aerial perspective. This limitation is difficult to imagine today when access to plan photography is never further than the nearest Internet connection. Anyone with a smartphone has, in essence, the entire world in their pocket.
Since time immemorial, and more recently, humans have wondered what the world looks like from above. This fascination has historically manifested in the plan drawing and aerial photography. In this vein, and using a motorized paraglider, National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz has captured a stunning bird’s-eye view of the ancient city of Ghadames, in Libya.
In a culture dominated by smartphones and Instagram, with estimates that over one trillion photographs will be taken this year alone, it might seem impossible for photographs to make and shape issues in the ways they once did. Despite this, images still steer debates with shocking resiliency and, with luck, become iconic in their own right. As architecture is synonymous with placemaking and cultural memory, it is only logical that images of the built environment can have lasting effects on the issues of architecture and urbanism. It's never been easier for photographs to gain exposure than they can today, and with social media and civilian journalism, debates have never started more quickly.
Photographer Amos Chapple has traveled the world, capturing well-known landmarks and cities from the perspective of a drone. From the Katshi Pillar in Georgia to New Delhi’s Lotus Temple and the star fort in Bourtange, the Netherlands, Chapple carried out “as much aerial work as weather and local laws allow.”
See 12 of his most impressive photos after the break.
Las Vegas vs The Landscape: Photographer Michael Light Exposes the Terraforming of the American Dream
“Nestled into the desert landscape that defines Nevada’s visage,
Ascaya feels as if it were shaped by the elements.
Where stone rises up to meet the sky, there is a place called Ascaya.”
- The Ascaya promotional website
Not quite, according to Michael Light’s soon-to-be released book, Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain. Covering the advance of suburban Nevada into the desert, this two-part book looks at Lake Las Vegas, a then-abandoned victim of the 2008 real estate crash which has since emerged from the other side of bankruptcy, and nearby Ascaya, a high end housing estate that is still in the process of being carved into Black Mountain. Light’s photography doesn’t so much question the developers’ summary as it does, say, blast it, scar it, terrace it and then build a large housing development on the remains. Featuring beautifully composed aerial shots of the construction sites and golf courses covering the desert, the book is a clear condemnation of the destructive and unsustainable development in Nevada. Much more than that, though, Light is highlighting a wider philosophy behind developments like Ascaya and Lake Las Vegas that fundamentally fail to connect American society with the American landscape in a non-destructive way.
Earthrise, a photograph taken on Christmas Eve of 1968 by astronauts of the Apollo 8 mission, was a defining moment for our collective understanding of the world in which we live on. For the very first time it dramatically pulled into focus the simultaneous magnificence, intricacy, and terrifying fragility of the planet we inhabit. Since that time the advent, acceleration, and accessibility of satellite imagery has made one thing abundantly clear: that humankind has had a considerable effect on Earth, for better or for worse. Daily Overview's self-defined mission is to "consider the places where man has left his mark and then conduct the necessary research to identify locations to convey that idea." They do so with incredible effect.
What is the draw of the aerial view? Whereas architects and designers often find solace in this particular spatial perspective there is a more inclusive, universal appeal to this way of seeing. The ease of access to online mapping services has increased our collective reliance on understanding our world from above.
Maps condense the planet into a little world inside our pocket, the commodification of which has universalised the ‘plan-view’ photograph. The question of whether or not their ubiquitous availability, having now been assimilated into our collective consciousness, is a positive step for the status of the plan is a discussion ongoing. Yet, in the face of this dilemma, architectural photographers are pushing the boundaries of drone technology in order to find new meaning.