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Drone Photography: The Latest Architecture and News

"There is Power in Seeing the World from Above": An Interview with Overview's Benjamin Grant

Seeing from above – the aerial vantage point – is the illusion of knowledge. This was the idea of Frenchman Michel de Certeau, a historian who was interested in the everyday practices that occur on the ground, on the streetscape. In contrast to Certeau's view, satellite images can be a powerful tool to understand, predict, and strive for a better future for humankind. This is the mission of Benjamin Grant, founder of Overview, a platform that explores human activity on Earth through aerial imagery.

Interested in fostering "an experience of awe" through elevated vantage points of our world, Overview offers snapshots featuring traces of human activity on the surface of the planet. Photos of cities and other cultural artifacts join pictures of mesmerizing topography and natural beauty in an impressive archive of drone and satellite images. Awe abounds as we face not only some of the most impressive human endeavors seen from the sky, but also as we are confronted with the rather gruesome side-effects of our very existence on Earth.

Monte Fuji, Japão. Image © OverviewAeroporto de San Francisco. Image © OverviewRio Nilo, Egito. Image © OverviewArco do Triunfo, Paris, França. Image © Overview+ 20

Social Inequality, As Seen From The Sky

Across the world, urban clusters have —to a greater or lesser extent— social and economic differences. Reflected in space, these imbalances of income and access to education, health, sanitation, and infrastructure generate ruptures more or less visible —although drastically felt.

Although a daily reality for some, socio-spatial inequalities can often go unnoticed. Photographer Johnny Miller states, "Discrepancies in how people live are sometimes hard to see from the ground... Oftentimes, communities of extreme wealth and privilege will exist just meters from squalid conditions and shack dwellings." Miller's photo series 'Unequal Scenes' seeks "to portray the most 'Unequal Scenes' in [the world] as objectively as possible."

Cidade do México, México. Image © Johnny Miller PhotographyNairóbi, Quênia. Image © Johnny Miller PhotographyAssentamento Kya Sands em Joanesburgo, África do Sul. Image © Johnny Miller PhotographyAssentamento Kya Sands em Joanesburgo, África do Sul. Image © Johnny Miller Photography+ 16

Aerial Imagery Depicts Iconic Modern and Contemporary Architecture in a New Perspective

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.

Palace of Sports / Félix Candela. Image: © Daily OverviewLöyly / Avanto Architects. Image by @joelmiikka shared with @dailyoverviewJewish Museum Berlin / Daniel Libenskind. Image: © Daily OverviewSuperkilen / Topotek 1 + BIG Architects + Superflex. Image: © Daily Overview+ 25

Losing Scale: Airports Seen from Above

Jandakot Airport, Australia. Nearmap image. <a href='https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd1khcWFqIZ/'>Via Instagram</a>
Jandakot Airport, Australia. Nearmap image. Via Instagram

At different periods in history, the human scale and the approach of the building to the sensitive dimension correlated to the body were values pursued by the architects and an object of reflection for the theoretical production of the area. Although it is a virtue that a space can be perceived in a direct relation between the person and the building, there are cases, and more than that, some project scales, that can only be realized from the furthest perspective.

The Beauty of Sea Salt Landscapes From Above

Munich-based photographer Tom Hegen has published a set of aerial images capturing the beauty of sea salt production seen from above. The images, shot from a small airplane in Western Australia, demonstrate the impact of human intervention on natural environments, and depict how even seemingly rural landscapes are alive with the hyper-globalized demands of humankind.

© Tom Hegen© Tom Hegen© Tom Hegen© Tom Hegen+ 12

How To Create 3D Environments From Images Taken With Drone

This video tutorial will teach you how to create detailed, 3-D environments from images taken by drones, using Photogrammetry to better contextualize our architectural projects.

The video covers the entire process, from flying the drone to using the RealityCapture software, including identifying plants and trees through an application for mobile phones and lastly viewing the architecture in 3D using Lumion.

Bird's-eye Barcelona

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.

© Márton Mogyorósy© Márton Mogyorósy© Márton Mogyorósy© Márton Mogyorósy+ 9

A Guide to Drone Photography/Cinematography for Architecture

Drone photography has been one of the biggest advancements in aerial photography and cinematography. Drones began making a huge impact on filmmaking in the early 2000s, but vast advancements in aerial and camera technology have dramatically increased the use of and demand for aerial footage in nearly every industry focused on digital content.

The construction industry has begun implementing drones on construction sites as a way to get a birdseye view of a project, capture the finished building from a unique perspective and even be used in the actual construction of the building itself. But when it comes to architectural photography and cinematography, we are just beginning to scratch the surface.

Read on for ArchDaily's Guide to Drone Photography/Cinematography.

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.

"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo"Sand Castles (part II)" by Markel Redondo. Image Courtesy of Markel Redondo+ 12

New Drone Footage Shows Construction of the Largest Residential Development in Bushwick, New York

ODA New York’s design for Bushwick II, a high-end residential complex on the former site of Brooklyn’s Rheingold Brewery, is coming to life in the fast-growing neighborhood of Bushwick, New York. Developed by All Year Management, 123 Melrose is already being clad. Meanwhile, Rabksy Group’s development, 10 Montieth, recently topped out.

Together, the projects will cover three full city blocks, totaling 1.35 million gross square feet. Bushwick II will be the largest housing increase this neighborhood of Brooklyn has ever seen.

New Drone Footage Shows Construction of the Largest Residential Development in Bushwick, New YorkCourtesy of ODA New YorkCourtesy of ODA New YorkCourtesy of ODA New York+ 24

Drone Video Shows Off Singapore's Stunning Architectural Sights

Diverse, green and dynamic, in this video Singapore is shown through a new kind of lens, one that exists above the city, pans down it, rolls over it and offers a view of its architecture from an alternative angle. André Eckhardt's drone hyperlapse video takes us onto the street, up in the air, and down by the sea as the weather shifts and changes, and as people go about their day to day lives. Using clever speed adjustments, Eckhardt switches between the fast-paced movements of the city up-close and moments of pause as he takes us up over it. Picking out architectural works including the iconic Bayside projects of Moshe Safdie, PARKROYAL on Pickering and the Oasia Hotel by WOHA, the Gardens by the Bay, and the Helix Bridge, Eckhardt brings Singapore's colorful skyline to life.

This Drone Video Captures the Mesmerizing Geometries of The World's Most Vertical City

The immense scales and geometric intricacies of Hong Kong have long held the fascination of the public consciousness, and has been further reinforced in recent years by mind-bending photography series such as Michael Wolf’s “Architecture of Density.”

In this new film from architect Mariana Bisti, this phenomenon is explored for the first time through drone videography. Not limited to vantage points accessible to humans, the video zooms and pans deliberately over, across and into the city’s enormous residential blocks, the cinematography bringing to mind that of Charles and Ray Eames’ seminal production, “Powers of Ten.” Special care to detail has been taken to align each composition to the Cartesian plane, resulting in mesmerizing experience that never breaks your attention.

Soar Through BIG's Twisting Miami Towers, the Grove at Grand Bay, in This Drone Video

In this video, drone Videographer Azeez Bakare takes us through BIG's recently-completed Grove at Grand Bay, a residential complex in South Miami featuring two twisting 20-story towers and a lush tropical landscape terrace designed by landscape architect Raymond Jungles.

Commissioned for the project by BIG, the video shows how the building transforms throughout the day: standing out as stark white sculptures during the day before turning an orange glow as the glass balconies reflect back the setting sun, and finally, lit up at night against the Miami skyline.

A 6000-Year Old Unplanned Community Photographed From Above

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.

This Drone Video of Los Angeles Highlights the City’s Many Murals

In this wide-ranging video, drone videographer Ian Wood captures the diversity of the built environment in Los Angeles, featuring architectural gems on equal footing with freeways and freight trains. The buildings and locations featured in the video span over a century of architectural history in LA, and cover the region’s vast geography, including such icons as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, Cesar Pelli’s Pacific Design Center, Eric Owen MossStealth building, and Morphosis’ recently completed Emerson College Los Angeles.

But what truly sets this video apart is how it highlights the many murals spread throughout the city. Often utilizing otherwise blank facades facing parking lots and alleys, these murals are nonetheless an integral part of LA’s urban fabric, as illustrated in this video. Sadly though, as Wood notes on the video description, there were many more murals that vanished before he was able to get them on video.

These Drone Photographs Reveal the Hidden Geometries of Late Soviet Modernism

Though the ahistorical dogma of modernism would seem a perfect fit for the Soviet Union’s mandated break with traditions, the architectural history of the USSR was somewhat more complex. Stalin’s neoclassically-inflected socialist realism superseded the constructivist heyday of the early Soviet Union, only to be replaced by a return to modernism under Khrushchev, facilitated by an opening to the West. Architectural photographers Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko recently used a drone to capture photographs of several landmark structures of the Khrushchev-era return to modernism, focusing on how these aerial views reinforce their rational geometries and regimented forms. Until the recent advent of satellite imagery and commercially available drones, these were views that were only ever seen by the architects, and the officials who reviewed the plans. Even so, the photographer notes that these methodical forms must have been very attractive to the state officers tasked with implementing Khrushchev’s mandated aesthetic.

The photographs, taken in and around Moscow, include works by several prominent Soviet architects. Leonid Pavlov’s long career spanned the full spectrum of state-sponsored architectural styles, starting as a constructivist, and moving into more historicist designs under Stalin, before emerging as one of the Soviet Union’s most prominent post-war modernists. Similarly, Yuri Platonov’s work received extensive state recognition, earning him the title of “People’s architect of the USSR,” as well as awards such the Silver Medal of the Arts Academy of the USSR, the USSR State Prize, and the State Prize of Russia.

Druzhba Multipurpose Arena / Y. Bolshakov, and I. Rozhin. Image © Denis Esakov and Dmitry VasilenkoOrlov Museum of Paleontology / Yuri Platonov. Image © Denis Esakov and Dmitry VasilenkoV. I. Lenin Museum in Gorki / Leonid Pavlov. Image © Denis Esakov and Dmitry VasilenkoInstitute of Bioorganic Chemistry / Yuri Platonov. Image © Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko+ 33

Video: Bird's Eye View of Brasília's Tesourinhas

Drone Brasília has shared with us a brief video filmed by a drone that gives a bird’s eye view of a signature feature of Brasília -- the “tesourinhas,” the so-called cloverleaf interchange that the city’s highways form.

In just thirty seconds the video shows the scale of the space, marked by cars traveling through the wide avenues, which themselves are projected onto an expansive green plane.