“All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.”
Philip Johnson

Photography captures both the visual appearance and the hidden intent inherent in a building. However transitory or ephemeral the structure, we can see the impetus for human survival in the act of creating a shelter, whatever the material, whether it is as ancient and fundamental as stone and wood, or as modern and widespread as glass, concrete and plastic. The fact that a dwelling embodies a more complex range of impulses, a strange mixture of domesticity and adornment, a basic expression of identity, in what can only be hinted at in the concept of home, forms the secret emotional dimension to architecture that emerges in the photograph. This is another landscape, beyond function and form, an emotional and psychological aspect that is only just beginning to be charted in these far-reaching visual connections.

A door & two windows

left: The home of D. Maninha, aged 94, one of the oldest inhabitants. Pylons, Cubatão, Brazil, 2008

right: Thabang and family outside their home in Ha Motenalapi in the Senqunyane valley. They are wearing their Basotho tribal blankets. The door and window mouldings demonstrate Litema, the mural art of the Basotho. The hut floor and window mouldings are made from Daga, a mix of earth and dung. The high ammonia content of the dung acts as an antiseptic. The patterns engraved around the doorways may represent the surrounding furrowed fields. Ha Motenalapi, Lesotho, 2000

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Tree house

left: Tree house in the South Tyrol Alps. Italy, 2003

right: Town house with Japanese black pine tree which also may act as a barrier to prevent people climbing over the outer wall. The curved structure is an inuyarai (a lightweight removable bamboo screen) to prevent rain splashes from the ground hitting the wall and causing the timber to rot. Kyoto, Japan, 2004

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Extract from my architectural photography book, Drawing Parallels, Architecture Observed

Text & Photography © Quintin Lake, 2009