image before building

The Guggenheim competition presents the opportunity to view 1700 submissions based largely on photo realistic representations of a building that exists only in the ambition of the participants. The large number of submissions means the sample size is significant. But what interests me even more is the inherent need for distinctive images at this stage. The submissions are anonymous, so you have to stand out and be recognised – through images. This is precisely the opposite of what happens once the building is built, photographed and published under the name of the architect or company. At that point the image itself is meant to disappear leaving space for the building to emerge. That said, it’s clear that each sort of images is heavily reliant on visual tropes and that not a lot of risks are taken. It would be a great exaggeration to suggest that the renders reveal the diversity of architecture and the world it sits in. But I cannot help thinking it is something like the selections grid plus the outtakes grid I have made for my thesis.


blue smallwhite small


London is mad for Architectural Photography

And architects+institutions’ appear interested in reaching the general public: