Today's archidose #262

Here's a couple great shots of detail and texture.

The Telus Centre for Performance and Learning in Toronto, Ontario by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), 2008. Photo by Lú_.


The Hedmark Museum in Hamar, Norway by Sverre Fehn, 1969. Photo by Peter Guthrie.


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  1. Hi, I'm emanuele mendicelli, your blog is very interesting.

    do u like fireworks?? se my blog!!

  2. I love the detail photo above, but I have to say, I object to the black and white photo below. It's quite appealing as a composition - that's exactly the problem: Black and white photography is the traditional way in which modern architecture has abstracted itself from the real, and often messy conditions in which it has to be built. Of course, you could say that this type of photograph (an architectural detail) is inherently abstracted from experience, and that's true. I don't doubt the importance of details. But for me the question is how we should present and evaluate modern architecture, which as a rule, speaks an abstract (and for some, opaque) language. Rather than perform another abstracting operation on these buildings, removing them from experience by the choice of black and white photos, we should try to present these abstract works in their concrete context. The real test of architectural work is to ask how its abstraction performs under the stresses of everyday use.

    These days, black and white photos are often chosen by architects for publications whose intention is to emphasize the poetic, rather than the prosaic qualities of their work. I believe as a critics of or thinkers about architecture, it is our duty to take a little more distance from this way of celebrating architectural achievements. Using color photos, rather than black and white, and overall, rather than detail shots, can make these buildings look much more real, like something that we might (and other people regularly do) encounter on a daily basis. It might seem like a small thing, but I believe that putting architecture to this minor reality-test makes a big difference. And I would argue that it doesn't take anything away from the masterpieces of modern design, in the least. On the contrary, to see that architects' works can coexist with or in the best cases, work for their surroundings is all the more impressive.

    Thanks very much for your hard work on the site,

  3. martaco - I understand what you're saying, but choosing this photo to illustrate your argument is questionable on a couple points: the photos I feature in this "today's archidose" feature are by flickr users, who don't (for the most part, I'm sure there are exceptions) photograph in the interest of the architects; in other words they are not professionals who strive to represent a building for the architect. Second, photographing at the level of detail actually presents the "stresses of everyday use," as you put it; these are photos of someone experiencing a space, and they convey information that overall shots (color or black-and-white) cannot.


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