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The value and influence of Professional Architectural Photography

Architects spend many years planning, designing and creating their architectural ideas and hoping for the recognition they believe should follow.  That said, most architects are not looking for the fame and the notoriety of someone like Frank Lloyd Wright, but everyone wants recognition for their hard work.  From the first sketch to the last cornerstone, it takes a great deal of vision and an enormous passion.

The upside for architects in today’s environment, they can be seen by their peers and many others through magazines and websites.Even though architectural websites and magazines might be interested in a given design, they do not want uninteresting, boring photos that you shot at various times of the day but do not showcase the architecture itself.  Professionals and novices, alike, are welcome to submit images to these places, but they must stand out and not lack inspiration.

Even though architectural websites and magazines might be interested in a given design, they do not want uninteresting, boring photos that you shot at various times of the day but do not showcase the architecture itself.  Professionals and novices, alike, are welcome to submit images to these places, but they must stand out and not lack inspiration.

This is where a new marketing niche has sprung up, the field of the architectural photographer!  Just because an architect has the gift of design and can create amazing structures, does not mean they are brilliant at photography!  Professional photographers who have jumped on this relatively new niche realize how important it is to create outstanding, captivating images of a given structure.  A good photographer fully understands that the images of an architect’s creation must command the same attention as the the architect’s vision.

Professional architectural photographers know that the beauty of a structure must be captured in their photographs.  They know that what they capture could decide the success of the architect’s work.  A leading architectural photographer will successfully capture the uniqueness of an interior, both in design and lighting while showcasing the building’s distinctive angles.  Photos should never appear as cold and distant but should apply time-sensitive shots that an amateur does not have the ability to do.

Architectural design firms are always looking for photographers that will bring their designs to life while enhancing their firm’s customer base.  The quality of excellent photography overrides what amateurs able to achieve.  Through natural lighting, attention to details, and emphasizing the structure will speak volumes.  Professional architectural photographers will go out of their way to stay away from distractions in order to capture the overall integrity of the photos.

One of the leading challenges for an architectural photographer is the best lighting.  Unless they are highly experienced with artificial lighting, they should stay away from it, especially with large structures.  Their shots must come across as simple and effortless while highlighting the best assets of a building in a very natural way without causing alterations to the image.

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An architect must collaborate with the right people to complete their designs with the right finale.  When hiring the right photographer, an architect must take a few things into consideration:

The architect must decide why they want photographs taken and where or how they will be used.

They should interview professional architectural photographers by letting them understand why photographs need to be taken and provide the overall theme of the building.

When a professional photographer fully understands the actual architecture, they will appreciate the technical challenges that lie ahead of them.  The best time for photo shots of the building should be taken into consideration.  The interior of a building should be photographed when the building is brand new.  On the other hand, taking photos of the exterior should not happen for an entire year.  This gives the landscaping a chance to grow and mature which will accentuate the building’s structure.  Photographing the exterior directly after construction will make the building appear cold and unapproachable.

The architect must keep in mind, the photographs should reflect the quality, artistic style, credibility and professionalism of the entire design.  He or she should have a firm understanding of the design’s purpose in order to capture it correctly.  They must capture the personality of the building while transforming it into a beautiful work of art.

A professional, talented architectural photographer will be able to clearly see and highlight the artistic beauty and functional details of the building.  Their images should bring the building to life while drawing attention to its unique aspects.

Creating notoriety and recognition in the architectural world will take more than the sketching of a vision and the final cornerstone.  The final structure must be brought to light for the whole world to see.  All your years of creating the perfect design and implementing it into a blueprint are wasted with poor photography.  Your photographer must understand your vision and capture it for years to come.

The field of architectural photography has exploded and design firms are looking for those who will bring their designs and artists recognition.  A highly qualified, professional photographer is in great demand.  Understanding what the architecture is saying and its impact on the surrounding area is imperative.   This is just as critical as when Frank Lloyd Wright took the surrounding environment and implemented designs that made them become one.  Unlike Wright, today’s architects have the internet and power of the press.  Somewhere out there is the next Frank Lloyd Wright looking for the architectural photographer to capture an amazing moment for future recognition.

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Some Techniques Used By Photographers:

Walk around the exterior and interior of the building.  Look around at the ceiling, moldings or a beautiful staircase.  The obvious subject might not be what’s directly in front of them but just a little bit off.

Tripods are used for a number of reasons but especially to prevent movement or while using a much slower shutter speed.

Always remain patient when looking for the perfect light.  When shooting interiors, light coming through a window can offer a very dramatic affect and add quality to an image.  Early morning or late afternoon light have totally different affects on textures and patterns.

White balance is very important when shooting at night or indoors.  Photographers will keep a close eye on the color temperature of artificial light as it can change the perceived color of the building.

Photographers can take advantage of a cloudy or rainy day.  Whether conditions can soften lines and shadows for a new perspective.  Puddles can add an interesting look for the exterior of a structure.

Reflections, if worked properly, can be quite dramatic.  Mirrors or windows reflect light but will also reflect the photographer if he or she is not careful!

Textures on walls, floors or ceilings will interact with the light that is present at the time.

A good photographer must know their equipment.  The best shots will come from a camera that is set to its native resolution.  Digital cameras operate at best when set to their native ISO for the best results.

5 Incredible Examples of Organic Architecture

“Wait; What’s Organic Architecture?”

The term “organic architecture” was coined around 1908 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s a little difficult to define the term as it’s more a way of life than anything tangible.

Organic architecture respects the surroundings of the area and uses nature and the purpose of the building to blend together something beautiful. One well-known example of organic architecture is when Wright himself refused to design a bank that looked like a Greek temple. Here are five other examples.

Article by HL Architects in the North East UK

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Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright

It’s only fitting to begin with an example from the father of organic architecture himself. Robie Residence was built in Chicago, Illinois in 1909. The multiple roof planes of the building do more than just protect the interior of the property. They also help to emphasize the volume and mass of the building. Wright showed his command and mastery of the Prairie style structure when he created the Robie House. Prairie style means working with open plans, horizontal lines, native materials, and using as few trees as possible.

When Wright designed Robie House he also put together the mechanical and engineering systems that weave through the living areas. The original designed of the Robie House raised residence didn’t include a basement.

 

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Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright

Mr Wright is also the mastermind behind the second example on our list. Taliesin West, constructed in Scottsdale, AZ, was where Wright lived and worked. The property was originally designed for this purpose and stands to this day as a living, working, and educational setting that many can enjoy and learn from.

The ever-changing landscape around the building, especially the desert and the shifting sandbars, are showcased perfectly by dramatic terraces and walkways that give you an incredible view. Taliesin West also showcases how adept Wright was at blending interior spaces and exterior spaces seamlessly. One way in which Taliesin House showcases the ideas behind organic architecture is that, when you look at it, it appears to almost be rising out of the ground. It blends in perfectly with the surroundings and almost looks like a natural structure.

 

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Hanna Residence by Frank Lloyd Wright

The Hanna Residence, also sometimes called the Hanna-Honeycomb House, can be found in Palo Alto, CA. Wright designed the house following the Usonian style and fashioned the building from wood and brick. The property is built in such a way that the people living there can actually disassemble and reassemble the walls as they see fit.

The Hanna Residence is known as the Hanna-Honeycomb House because the design features hexagon building units rather than the more traditional octagon building units you see in other properties. Every board and batten in the property also uses this spacing. The home blends perfectly to the hill and so, much like Taliesin West, it effortlessly compliments the landscape and just looks like it belongs. Notice the way that it exists with the nature around it in a perfect harmony. That is the essence of organic architecture.

 

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Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright

Fallingwater is one of the most well-known design from Wright and it can be found in Bear Run, PA.

The only way to try and describe the property would be to see that it’s made up of cantilevered concrete forms that hang over a waterfall, held in place by natural rock formations. The organic nature of the property is further improved on by the use of rough stone to make the floors and the fact the property is painted using only two colours. Light ochre was used for the concrete and the steel is painted in the signature Cherokee red that Wright was known for using. When you live in Fallingwater you are living in perfect harmony with the waterfall. There’s no better way to put it and there may not be a better way to define organic architecture.

The waterfall the property is built on may be small, and it may have caused major damage to the house through leakage and structural damage, but Western Pennsylvania Conservancy have fought long and hard to preserve the property since 1963. They’ve done a wonderful job and there should be no future issues with what is undoubtedly a national landmark.

 

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Casa Milá by Antoni Gaudi

No list of organic architecture could be complete without mentioning the great Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi. Gaudi designed the Casa Milá (the Quarry) and it was built between 1905 and 1910 in Barcelona, Spain.

When Gaudi originally designed the property it was met with much controversy as it followed a honeycomb-style pattern rather than an octagonal one, and people were put off by the exterior stone walls that looked like they were coming straight from the earth itself. These days the building is considered a badge of honor for Spain, though at the time Barcelona attempted to sabotage the project with strict building codes. They even demanded that part of the property was destroyed because it was higher than the standard height.

Gaudi himself was a devout Catholic and intended Casa Milá to become a symbol of his spirituality. Instead the property was built to be the home of a married “Indiano” couple who came back from the US colonies with plenty of wealth in their pockets. The property still stands to this day and serves as an apartment house.

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Durham Cathedral Norman Architecture

The Enormous Achievements & Legacy Of Norman Architecture

Norman Architecture came about in the Middle Ages and was named for its roots in Normandy.  This era in architecture started in the early 11th century, following the Saxon architectural movement, then ending in the 12th century making way for the Gothic movement.

Norman Architecture is a form of the dominant Romanesque Architecture that sprang from the Normans (Vikings) who conquered England.  Its growth brought about large, impenetrable cathedrals, monasteries, castles, fortresses and fortifications.  The most typical monastery buildings were constructed during this movement.  These structures were short and stocky, rectangular or circular in form.  One of the most famous abbeys, Mont-Saint-Michel, was erected during the Norman era.

The majority of Norman Architecture was used in religious buildings such as grand cathedrals and churches that dotted the countryside throughout villages.  The most symbolic feature of these Norman churches is the cross-like shape which was borrowed from the Roman basilica motif.  These churches had bell towers, or campaniles which were erected nearby the main church building.  A-typical medieval castles are very distinctively Norman designs and sprouted up throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, Normandy and Italy.

The biggest difference with the Italian architecture was the combination of Norman features along with  Byzantine and Arabic styles. Unfortunately, this combination made for a very dark and gloomy atmosphere.  Actually, Norman Architecture is an offshoot of Romanesque Architecture which borrowed most of its architecture from the classic Roman approach and began in Lombardy, Italy.  These structures consisted of arches, vaults, columns and arcades.  It most commonly used the rounded arch that was actually a creation of the Romans  This style also used a variety of vault styles and most commonly the barrel and curved vaults which was broadly used in cloisters.

 

Building Materials & Adornments

Norman Architecture’s building materials mostly consisted of stones, for greater stability.  These stones were rough and uncut because there were no mason cutters in the Norman era.  Therefore, these stones were large and intermittently shaped which contributed to the building’s appearance as massive and bulky.

Like their Roman predecessors, Norman roofs were vaulted because the vaults made for a more balanced weight distribution across the entire roof.

Adornments were very minimal in Norman buildings, although some architects would chisel a series of carvings offering a trompe de l’oeil effect instead of an arch appearance. There were other architects that would carve moldings into the stone surfaces and a very small number who were so handy with their chisels, they would carve animals onto reliefs, over doorways or tympanums.  Rarely were arches or columns decorated at all.

A tympanum was usually a space between an arch and the horizontal head of a door or window.

By the time the Norman movement hit its peak in the 12th century, adornments became more popular.  These embellishments eventually climaxed with the first stained glass windows of the 12th century, directly before the progression of Gothic Architecture.

 

Norman To Gothic Windows

Another distinguishing feature in Norman Architecture were very small windows.  Before the Gothic movement, architects steered clear of building large windows because there was a high risk of buildings collapsing.  Those who lived in these buildings were in a very dark, dim environment, having to rely on candles for their only source of light.

Once the Gothic period took over, architects were able to safely install huge windows and finally bring in much needed sunlight.  These large windows attributed to cathedrals having a heavenly aura about them.

 

The Progression of Buildings & Walls

Also, during this time period, both Romanesque and Norman Architecture started the development of taller buildings such as castles and cathedrals which were to become the largest structures throughout Europe.  The buildings were generally square and housed guards who worked as night watchmen, scanning for intruders.

The walls of these taller buildings became a great deal thicker in order to provide a better support for the building’s height.  The interior housed enormous columns that also provided much needed support.  Eventually the walls became much thinner with the creation of the flying buttress, which came about through the Gothic movement. The flying buttress is considered one of the greatest architectural achievements in all of history. Though mostly Gothic now, the first Norman architectural achievement in England was London’s Westminster Abby, whilst Durham Cathedral is the largest and finest example of Norman architecture in England.

A lot of people are unaware that many Gothic structures started off as Norman buildings then later on were embellished upon by Gothic architects.  This is also true in regards to castle towers and towers erected on cathedral grounds.  These square, thick-walled buildings were used as dungeons and defense fortresses.

The world famous Tower of London, also known as the White Tower, served as a royal dungeon, imprisoning the likes of Anne Boleyn and Sir Walter Raleigh. This building is a next to last example of Norman Architecture. Considered extremely tall for its time, at 90 feet, The Tower of London had extremely thick walls that spanned approximately 15 feet in width in order to support it’s massive height.  Like many Romanesque buildings, it offers fortress-like in design and structure.

While Gothic Architecture was known for its very tall, magnificent buildings, the overall structures were a continuation of Norman. Norman Architecture used rounded arches and ribbed vaults that formed barrel vaults,  while Gothic Architecture used pointed arches.  It is commonly believed that the Gothic Architecture, as we know it today, would not have existed if it were not for Norman Architecture.

 

The Dark Ages

Norman and Romanesque architectural styles have been long associated with Fairy Tale structures of the medieval era.  Architects have since learned that most of these castles and cathedrals were not to house royalty as much as they were thickly armed fortifications. Unfortunately, many known Norman structures were the sites of extreme bloodshed and misery.  The Dark Ages, also known as the, Middle Ages is believed to have taken on that name due to Norman buildings and their extremely small windows.

Most church architects have taken more inspiration from the Gothic period than any other period.  That said, most architects regard the Norman movement as an architectural landmark.

Norman Architecture accomplished unsurpassed heights and renewed the magnificence of classical styles.  Though manifested in the awakening of human greatness, during a very dark time, its legacy rests in human desires and imagination that is believed to have been responsible for the evolution of the Renaissance era.