• Photographing houses, houses for photographers

    The Shortlist for the sterling prize was recently released. The list has a diversity of projects from a University campus to Hastings pier to the British Museum Conservation and Exhibitions centre. One project that I thought was interesting was the RIBA London Award 2017 and RIBA London Building of the Year 2017 Award which went to the photography studio and house for Juergen Teller by 6a architects.

    The architects describe the project as “The project expertly exploits a typically London condition. Constrained by a long and narrow industrial plot at the rougher edge of Ladbroke Grove; its only face nestles between cheap developer housing, an industrial estate and the hinterland of the Westway.”

    This poises a question, what should a house for a photographer look like. Or should a photographers house reflect their equipment, their culture , their influence.

    From the photographs shown the project seems blank out the context. The project forms two courtyards that protect the studios from the outside. Is there a metaphor of some sort in the planning. It seems that the main accommodation is like a gatehouse over the entrance to the studio. So in this model of housing? The work is placed at the figurative  and literal centre of the plan. Is this a message to the world? from Teller. Maybe! To celebrate the completion Juergen presented a self portrait in the space! The man at work!

    Recent winners of the sterling prize such as David Chipperfield could inform this view. Chipperfield won the prize in 2007 for The Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach am Neckar, Germany. His private house in Richmond for Nick Knight in 1998-2001 is an essay in cool articulation of a suburban dwelling. It masks the original form of the house build by Knights father. The impression created is distant from the flamboyant anarchy of Knights photography. The connection between what knight creates at www.showstudio.com and his house seem distant.

    One aspect of the house that appeals to me is the concession to the clients profession in the use of a “framing portal” .The portal connects elements of the architectural composition together. It also “frames” a view of the garden from the interiors. The frame acknowledges what the photographer does without making a literal translation of a camera.

    In both projects the aesthetics are quite similar; In situ concrete, plaster, block-work , a subdued palette of tones, rigid geometry. The outcomes are quite different. Tellers house, places him a “hero” with his work at the centre of the world. Nick Knights house seems more to be a refuge from which to view the world.

    The RIBA Stirling List

    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing
    • Kavanagh Tuite Best Sustainable Building RIAI Awards Roebuck Students Housing

    Student Housing

    Student housing continues to expand as a building type in the city. In this gallery there are examples housing in Roebuck Student housing Belfield. The current gallery shows examples of the digihub student housing off Thomas street also. Designed by O’Mahony Pike and built by Bennett construction the project looks like a prototype for much of the new student accommodation in the city. New projects are being built on Dorset street ( H.J. Lyons Architects) and there are huge developments in the Blackpitts / Tenters area of the city. A welcome factor is that many of the projects are being developed on sites that lay idle for many years. The Dublin Inquirer provide this assessment of the new landscape of student housing.

    • paul tierney
    • paul tierney

    Architectural Interior photography In Dublin

    Some recent Architectural Photography featured in the Sunday Times Magazine in May. The project was for Gottstein Architects showing a recent refurbishment and renovation of the project in south Dublin. The link to the article :Sunday Times Article

    Gottstein Architects shown in Sunday Times Architecture Feature

    Feature on Gottstein Architects Sunday Times May 2017

  • 070217IMG_4087_1

    Hooper Palmerstown

    Palmerstown Veterinary Clinic evocative of an Edward Hooper Painting. A bit of diversion from the usual architectural image.

    Edward Hooper evocation palmerstown veterinary hospital

  • front over details of shooting space book

    Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography Elia Redstone

    Shooting Space is an anthology that examines the relationship between photographers and architecture. The book is divided into five parts that presents a vary of approach’s to the subject. The first chapter is prefaced by Julius Schulman quote:
    “ I sell architecture better and more directly and more vividly than the architect does” .
    This sets the tone for much of the book. It also highlights the problem of how architecture is represented. The images from this chapter avoid the conventions of blues skies, vertical lines , perfect context etc. Of interest are images by Iwan Bann and Michele Nastasi.

    The book is representative of the global architecture covering Asia, Europe, The Americas and Middle East. Africa is not represented extensively. Work by Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse on Ponte city could have address this imbalance. The book Ponte city was published in 2014 however most of the photographers were from 2008 onwards.

    Michael Wolf , Thomas Struth and Nuno Cera feature in the “Cityscapes of change” chapter. The project “Architecture of Density” by Michael Wolf showcases the density of development in Hong Kong. Thomas Struth documents cities in his “Unconscious Places” project. The series seeks to encapsulate the sense of a place in a single image. Nuno Ceras’ images investigate the physical and metaphorical nature of space. The images present layers images of reflections from high rise hotel rooms. Sze Tsung Leong visual documentation of China are very compelling also.

    Man-altered Landscapes catalogues work by Peter Bialobrzeski , Nadav Kander, and Armin Linke amongst others. The project “Architecture of Authority “ by Richard Ross is also featured. The images is “explore the nature of institutionalized space” and present an architecture that shows the “failure of moderation, politics….humanity”.

    The strongest parts of the book show photographers working in a documentary tradition. The chapters on conceptual photography speak less about “Shooting space” and are more concerned with creating new visual spaces. Typically, the images are made by digital manipulation of some sort. Overall the book presents a good anthology of photographers and their approach to photographing the city.


    Iwan Bann http://iwan.com/iwan_index.php
    Michele Nastasi http://www.michelenastasi.com/
    Micheal Wolf http://photomichaelwolf.com/#architecture-of-density-2/1
    Thomas Struth http://www.thomasstruth32.com/bigsize/index.html
    Nuno Cera http://www.nunocera.com/
    Sze Tsung Leong http://www.szetsungleong.com/
    Nadav Kander http://www.nadavkander.com/
    Armin Linke http://www.arminlinke.com/
    Peter Bialobreski http://www.bialobrzeski.de/work/paradise_now/ParadiseNow-18.html
    Richard Ross http://richardross.net/
    Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse http://www.subotzkystudio.com/

  • Bathing places and fixtures designed by Herbert Simms and others 1911-1958

    More Than Concrete Blocks

    More than Concrete Blocks: Dublin City’s twentieth-century buildings was launched with great excitement last week. The book is the culmination of almost five years of work. Most of the new architectural photography was commissioned by Dublin City Council for this project. The book provides an authoritative account of Dublin’s social, cultural and political history. The built history is used as evidence in the account of the century. The book is a brilliant and entertaining guide to the 20th century Dublin. It is a must have for anyone interested in Dublin, Architecture and any type of social History

    More than Concrete Blocks: Dublin City’s twentieth-century buildings is a three-volume series of architectural history books which are richly illustrated and written for the general reader. Unpacking the history of Dublin’s architecture during the twentieth century, each book covers a period in chronological sequence: Volume I, 1900–40; Volume II, 1940–73; Volume III, 1973–2000. The series considers the city as a layers and complex place. It makes links between Dublin’s buildings and Dublin’s political, social, cultural and economic histories.


  • Buying a camera for Architectural photography PART 1

    Buying a Camera for Architectural Photography

    Sometimes I’m asked what would be a good camera for architectural photography.

    How will you use the camera? is the first question to ask when you are thinking about buying. Most people have diverse interests. They will what a camera that matches those interests. For many it is pictures of friends, family, landscapes, travel, a bit of architecture and occasional sunset. Portability is a bonus, and expense a concern.

    My personal belief is that the best type of camera is one that you can pop in a pocket and bring with you everywhere.  The old joke is : ” The best camera is the camera you have with you”. For this reason smart phone cameras have much to offer. I have listed the types of suitable camera and their advantages and disadvantages.

    My recommendations  :

    1. 1. Smart phone
    2. 2. Compact digital camera
    3. 3. Micro 4/3 ( Four Thirds)
    4. 4. Cropped frame Digital SLR
    5. 5. Full Frame Digital SLR

    For most photography I would recommend getting the most portable camera that you feel comfortable with. The reason is that many people leave their “good” camera behind on day trips because of the weight of the camera. A heavy camera and a bag of lens with a tripod can weight up to 10kg. Photography should be about creative image making not weight lifting.

    1. Smart Phone

    Smart phones bring high resolution, high quality images to everyone. They make sharing images and editing images a pleasure. They do have some limitations:

    • Smart phones use a very small image chip, because of this they will always have a very long depth of field ( this can be a good thing for some photography).
    • The user interface on smart phones can be a bit difficult to use, a dedicated camera functions better as a camera.
    • The camera function on smart phones can be very slow also, not so good for candid pictures.
    • The optics on smart phones are never as good as a dedicated camera.
    • Smart phones can be expensive costing from 200 to 1000 euro/ dollars.
    • Smart phones have to be charged every day, most dedicated cameras will have a good battery life.

    They do have some advantages over traditional cameras:

    • All images will have GPS data embedded in the images, this is an advantage if you are trying to find images or locations at a later date
    • Many smart phones will provide automatic backup to the cloud for all your images
    • The remote cloud access means that you can access your images from any location
    • Many people bring their phone everywhere
    • The ability to share and edit images is a very attractive feature that allows social engagement
    • The small chip will give a very long depth of field, this can be great if you are photographing an architectural model ( its not so good for portraiture)


    2. Compact Digital Camera

    Most digital compact cameras produce amazing images. Compact digital cameras present a huge advantage of portability. Personally I feel this is of huge importance, how many times have I left my “good” camera at home because I didn’t want to carry it with a bag of lens around all day. Many of the top line compact cameras will offer comparable image quality to a digital SLR. A summary of compact camera advantages:

    • Compact, this means that you’re more likely to bring it with you
    • Sealed chip and lens unit, this means that dust will not get into the chip
    • Many cameras offer a zoom that will give a good range of focal lengths from wide angle to telephoto .
    • The best brands offer fantastic image quality, Olympus, Nikon, Fuji, Sony, Canon
    • Many offer built in “effects” modes, producing convincing black and white, retro or positive film effects.
    • Many will have a built in flash

    The disadvantages of a compact camera are:

    • Many compact cameras don’t offer a zoom that is sufficiently wide angle lens to be of use to those interested architecture ( but many will have a panorama function)
    • The zoom lens in a compact camera tend to be mechanically powered which can sometimes be very slow to operate
    • Optically the lenses tend to be very good, however the chip size on a compact camera is not the best for portraiture
    • The mental connection between photography and cameras and photography has been replaced by a connection between a mental photography and the smart phone. Nowadays when we want to remember that we want to take ” good” photography we have to actively compel ourselves to bring the “good” camera. As a result the good camera is frequently left behind.
    • At present compact cameras don’t tend to have the social, cloud backup features of smart phones, but that is changing

    3,4,5 Micro 4/3 rds cameras, Cropped and Full frame Digital camera

    All of these types of cameras offer better camera and optical performance, but the big trade-off is portability, weight and convenience. Personally I feel that the trade-off can be too high. DSLR’s are sometimes so expensive/heavy/complicated that they discourage use.
    The big advantages of DSLR’s are:

    • Superior optics ( but only if you invest in good lenses).
    • Bigger chip, is better for portrait photography.
    • Higher resolution.
    • A full system of accessories etc.
    • They are a serious camera, if you’re using one there is a tenacity to dedicate more time and concentration to the photography.

    The disadvantages are:

    • Expense.
    • Not portable.
    • To get the best out of the camera they frequently require a tripod.
    • Generally no flash on the higher end models.
    • To get the very best out of the image they require a considered and methodical approach to image making.
    • If the lens is detachable the chip can get covered in dust.

    In summary of the above, if you want to upgrade your architectural photography I would recommend a good compact camera over a DSLR. Others will disagree no doubt. If you have about 30000 euro to burn you could also opt for someone from this company.

  • Rooms Declan O'Donnell Architectural photography

    Rooms / Room

    Rooms by Declan O’Donnell is on sale now.

    This book is full of ideas renovating or improving your home. The format catalogues each room in the house. It gives a selection of realistic but imaginative ideas for all the rooms in the house. Some of the design inspiration comes from projects I have photographed over the years. One particularly impressive project is by Michael DeSuin of DeSuin Sullion Architects , the project can be seen here on there website. Or more images can be seen on my site here

    You can even buy it with Room by Emma Donoghue on Easons.


  • R.I.A.I. Architecture Awards

    The R.I.A.I. Architectural Awards has announced the awards deadline. Mark Thursday April the 7th in your diary for the awards submission date.

    If you’re thinking of entering the awards you should plan to have your presentation prepared one week in advance.

    Enter Now to the 2016 RIAI Irish Architecture Awards.

    Now in their 27th year, the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards celebrate the best architecture in Ireland and around the world. Winning projects reflect quality and advances in architecture, and show the value that architecture adds to society across a range of typologies. 

    Why Should I Enter?

    Why Should I Enter?

    The RIAI Awards are judged by an expert jury of award-winning architects and renowned assessors.

    The RIAI Irish Architecture Awards are accompanied by an effective and far-reaching national media campaign. Traditionally, the winner of the Public Choice Award has been announced on RTE Radio One Morning Ireland while RTE Six One News has covered the awards for television. In addition, there has been substantial media coverage in national and regional newspapers as well as regional radio. The audience reach in 2015 has been over 2 million.

    The RIAI Awards are accompanied by a Digital Marketing and Social Media campaign.

    The RIAI Awards are accompanied by in-depth publication in Architecture Ireland and The RIAI Annual Review.

    The RIAI Awards are accompanied by a public engagement programme – our Walks + Talks of award-winning buildings, led by the architects.

    What’s New in 2016?

    In 2016 we are developing the RIAI Awards further to enhance their role and impact, including with a new venue and format.  We are also introducing new two award categories:

    • Best Fit-out Award
    • A Student Award for Sustainable Design in partnership with the RIAI Sustainability Task Force

    Key Dates for 2016

    February –  Call for Entries RIAI Awards 2016

    April 7  –  Submission date for RIAI Awards 2016 (post Easter)

    May –  Jury Assessment and Public Choice Award

    June 24 –  Awards Ceremony Date 2016

  • image of architecture ireland magazine showing the Glen Regeration Architectural Photography Cork Ireland

    Architecture Ireland Housing Edition

    Architecture Ireland recently published an edition on housing. The Glen Regeneration project completed by Cork City Council is featured in the edition. Photographs of the project were completed last summer on a glorious day. The project is a great example of housing in the landscape. Cork’s steep slopes are made use of by the Architects to create a patterned landscape of housing across the hills cape. The slope enables courtyards at the front of some houses that have bridges into the main accommodation.


    image of architecture ireland magazine showing the Glen Regeration Architectural Photography Cork Ireland

    image of architecture ireland magazine showing the Glen Regeration Architectural Photography Cork Ireland