Archives for category: Drawing Parallels

Drawing Parallels: Architecture Observed, By Quintin Lake Foreword by Richard Wentworth. Published by Papadakis

Buildings without precedent
left: Wind towers (Badgir) next to a building which acts as a refrigerator to store food and Zoroastrian Tower of Silence (Dakhmeh). Yazd, Iran 2007
right: Clean water flows into the Thames from the northern outfall of Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. Sewage from 3.4 million Londoners is treated on site every day. Barking Creek Tidal Barrier, which resembles a giant guillotine, was built over four years and completed in 1983. It is about 60m high, which allows shipping to reach the Town Quay in Barking further upstream. The barrier crosses the Barking Creek reach of the River Roding at its confluence with the Thames. London, UK, 2003

left: Underside of the stage of the theatre in the inner garden, Yuyuan Garden, originally built in the 14th year of the Guangxu reign in the Qing Dynasty, 1888. The old stage underwent extensive rebuilding in 2005. Shanghai, China, 2007
right: Ashley Building, School of Humanities, University of Birmingham. Architect: Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis. Refurbished by Berman Guedes Stretton, Birmingham. UK, 2006

Pixilated skin
left: Glass disks on the facade of Galleria Fashion Store treated with iridescent foil on a metal support structure. A back-lit animated colour scheme ensures that the facade appears to be always changing by day and night. Architect: UN Studio. Engineer: Arup. Seoul, South Korea, 2007
right: Façade of Birmingham’s Selfridges store at night. The skin consists of thousands of spun, anodised aluminium discs that reflect the surrounding city, set against a blue curved, sprayed concrete wall. Architect: Future Systems. Engineer: Arup. Birmingham, UK, 2007

Responsive skin
left: Detail of aluminium sunscreens on the facade of the Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay, Singapore. The shields are set to be more open or closed depending on the angle at which the sun hits them, affording the glass facades protection from direct sunlight without limiting the view. Many Singaporeans casually refer to the Esplanade as the Durian because of its resemblance to the tropical fruit. Architect: Michael Wilford & Partners & DP Architects Singapore. Singapore, 2003
right: Timber roof tiles of an alpine hay barn, South Tyrol, Italy, 2002

Absolute boundaries
left: Tourist viewing platformfor looking into North Korea from the South Korean side of the 38th parallel. Situated on top of Dorasan (Mount Dora), the observatory looks across the Demilitarized Zone. It is the part of South Korea closest to the North. Mount Dora, South Korea, 2007
right: Road barrier above a steep drop at the edge of a newly completed section of the Interoceanic Highway in the Peruvian Andes. Above Cuzco, Peru, 2008

Enveloping form
left: Scaffolding surrounding the second temple of Hera. The Greek Doric temple was built in about 450 BC. Paestum, Italy, 2001
right: Statue of Lenin at Sculpture Park (Fallen Monument Park), Moscow, Russia, 2007

A door & two windows
left: The home of D. Maninha, aged 94, one of the oldest inhabitants. Pylons, Cubatao, 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

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

left: A doorway in Ta Prohm to a temple built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries as a monastery and university. The door is surrounded by silk cotton tree roots encased by strangler figs roots, which develop their own underground root system. They then grow quickly, often strangling the host tree, which in time dies and rots away. The strangler fig continues to exist as a hollow tubular lattice that provides shelter for many forest animals. Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2003
right: A silver birch tree growing through the floor on the terrace of the Hotel Polissia 21 years after the Chernobyl disaster. Pripiat, Ukraine, 2007

left: Lightswitch in a bedroom of the Hotel Polissia 21 years after the Chernobyl disaster. Pripiat, Ukraine, 2007
right: Billboard with posters removed at Green Park Underground Station. London, UK, 2009

Up to the neck
left: Fibreglass shark sculpture erected in 1986, on the 41st anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Created by sculptor John Buckley for Bill Heine, who lives in the house. Neighbours tried to force Heine to remove the shark, but after an appeal to the UK’€™s Secretary of State for the Environment, it was allowed to remain. Oxford, England, 2009
right: Sculpted heads surrounding a front door in Lambeth. London, England, 2009

Spectating space
left: Seated viewers in front of Formal Session of the StateCouncil onMay 7, 1901, in honour of the 100th Anniversary of Its Founding by Ilya Yefimovich Repin, 1903, oil on canvas, State Russian Museum. St. Petersburg, Russia, 2007
right: A tour group outside Injeongjeon Hall (the throne hall), Changdeokgung palace. Originally built 1405, destroyed in the ImjinWars, restored 1609, destroyed by fire 1803. The current structure dates from 1804. Seoul, Korea, 2007

Constant sky
left: Downtown Sao Paulo seen from the top of the Edificio Italiano.With a population of eleven million residents Sao Paulo is the most populous city in the Southern hemisphere. Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2008
right: Cuzco seen from Christo Blanco. The city has a population of 350,000 and is located at an altitude of 3,300m. Peru, 2008

Slicing cities
left: Highway in downtown Sao Paulo. Brazil, 2008
right: A man ascending an arch of Lupu Bridge over the Huangpu River. Shanghai, China, 2007

Sources of architectural inspiration rom around the world

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Outdoor Photography Magazine, September 2010

10 Questions interview with Quintin Lake in Outdoor Photography Magazine September 2010 Issue 130

Acclaimed architectural photographer, Quintin Lake, tells Nick Smith how he made the transition from architecture to photography and why geometry really matters

Quintin Lake is recognised as one of the top creative architectural photographers at work today. Before embarking his photographic career, Quintin graduated from the world renowned Architectural Association in London where he held a scholarship and worked at Grimshaw Architects on the Eden project. His architectural training gives him an understanding of the subject, while his photographic approach is characterised by a fastidious attention to detail, which translates into intelligent and refined images.

Quintin’s clients include architects, interior designers, various publishers and magazines. His new book Drawing Parallels: Architecture Observed is a source of architectural inspiration from around the world, with material drawn from travels in over 60 countries. Quintin is a member of The Association of Independent Architectural Photographers, as well as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society of Arts.

1 When did you realise you were going to become a photographer?
I was an architect before I became a photographer and I used a camera
as a sketchbook for ideas. Gradually, I became more interested in the images, rather than just using a camera as a tool.

2 What was your first camera?
It was one of those rotating disc cameras with which I used to take blurry pictures of my thumb when I was ten. But while learning photography as a teenager I used a Praktica SLR film camera. I became a ‘Canon person’ when I was about 20.

3 What formal training do you have?
I studied architecture for seven years and did modules on photography during that time. I learned what I needed to learn to do the job.

4 How important is it to specialise?
I think it’s important from some clients’ perspectives, but as an artist I don’t think so. I have different portfolios to show different clients in architecture and other areas; it’s called market segmenting, I think.

5 What is the best assignment you’ve been on?
Going to Pripyat, a large deserted city within the 30km ‘zone of alienation’ around the Chernobyl reactor. It was the most focused shooting I’ve ever done and a very harrowing time. It’s an entire city with no people in it; no one will live there for hundreds of years.

6 What’s the worst thing about being a professional photographer?
On the commercial architecture side it’s waiting for the sun to come out. Clients don’t want pictures with grey skies. Also, there’s keeping the work coming in. If ever I got an assignment that lasted more than a couple of weeks that would feel like incredible stability.

7 Film or digital? Why?
Digital. Half of the creative process is taking the shot, and the other half is the post-production. Commercially it can be a chore, but if it is an artistic image this is where you refine it and make it your own.

8 What’s the most important thing you’re learned from another photographer?
Cartier-Bresson had it right when he said it was the mind, the heart and the eye that meet in the moment. But geometry is vital. No matter what else is going on in the image; I think the viewer reacts to it first graphically.

9 What does photography mean to you?
It encapsulates the enigma of life. It seems so simple as a still image and yet it can have infinite meaning with a unique visual language. In terms of my own life, it’s an excuse to keep a childlike curiosity.

10 What makes a great photograph?
It just grabs you and you know you’ve been grabbed. It’s an emotional thing.

Quintin – IN BRIEF
Age: 34
Time as pro: Ten years
Where based: Oxford
Specialities: Architecture, documentary and expedition
Studio or home: All on location, but post-production at home
Digital or film: Digital

In Quintin’s kit bag
Cameras: Canon 5D, Canon 5D MkII
Lenses: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5, Canon 24-105mm f/4 L, Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS

Quintin Lake’s new book Drawing Parallels: Architecture Observed is available from all good bookshops. RRP £25

Quintin Lake “Drawing Parallels: Architecture Observed” Papadakis, 2009
ISBN 978-1906506-04-9 (Hardcover, 208 pages. £25. Colour throughout)

Reviewed by William Arthurs, Editor, London Society Journal

This fascinating book collects about 200 photographs of natural features, buildings and architectural detail from many countries around the world. Each page spread presents two photographs, with brief commentary, for the reader to compare and contrast. It is reviewed here because fifteen of the images are drawn from the London area and it is on some of these that I comment below, along with their comparisons.

On pp. 22-3, a bleak Thames estuary landscape comprising the Barking Creek tidal barrier, resembling a giant guillotine, and the outfall of the Beckton Sewage Treatment works, is compared with a drier and more mysterious landscape in Yazd, Iran, with two square brick wind-towers, a conical brick building used as a refrigerator, and in the background a Zoroastrian Tower of Silence. I noted here the hidden nature of disposal – in the case of the Tower of Silence, the laying out of the corpses of the deceased on top of the tower is ritualistic, while the sewage works operate a mechanised and secular process of disposal (though one could compare some Victorian views of the sewer system, outlined by Dobraszczyk in “Into the Belly of the Beast”, also reviewed in this issue, and for which Quintin Lake provided the dustjacket image).

Next, on pp. 32-3, a comparison between the stump of one of the demolished Moorish-style chimneys at Abbey Mills pumping station (1865-8; these chimneys became redundant in the 1930s and were demolished during the Second World War) and the stump of the 14 th century Alau Minar brick minaret in Delhi, never completed. (Incidentally the Abbey Mills station as originally built is depicted on p. 114 of “Into the Belly of the Beast” and the chimneys are described on pp. 139 ff.). The Abbey Mills chimneys were 209 feet tall. The Delhi minaret was a more ambitious project as it was originally intended to be taller than its extant neighbour, Qutb Minar, at 240 feet the world’s tallest brick minaret.

On pp. 36-7, a view familiar to our readers from the cover of issue 457 – the columns of the old Blackfriars Railway Bridge – are compared with some Doric columns at the Temple of Hera at Paestum (550 BC). In both cases, columns are left supporting not much, but still standing – but compare the materials and finish, and how they have weathered.

On pp. 48-9 a detail of the terracotta columns around the main entrance to the Natural History Museum (Alfred Waterhouse, 1860-1880) are compared with 12th century lathe-turned sandstone temple balusters at Angkor Wat. Here we are invited to compare texture, colour, to imagine the different processes for firing terracotta and turning sandstone, and to consider the
function of the buildings – a temple of science, and a Hindu temple.

Later photographs include the Gherkin, the Tower of London, Rachel Whiteread’s “House”, and vernacular settings in Walthamstow and in South London. A thought-provoking and beautifully-photographed collection to which I have found myself returning on many occasions.

William Arthurs, Editor, London Society Journal

The London Society Journal is the magazine for members of the London Society and is published twice a year. The London Society was founded in 1912 and works to stimulate appreciation of London, to encourage excellence in planning and development, and to preserve its amenities and the best of its buildings.

Buy Drawing Parallels from Amazon UK here

Drawing Parallels by Quintin Lake In the Architecture section of Tate Modern Bookshop, next to the turbine hall. Go grab a copy! or get it online here

Drawing Parallels by Quintin Lake in the Tate Modern Bookshop

Drawing Parallels by Quintin Lake in the Architecture section at Tate Modern Bookshop

Corners expressed I

Outer walls and moat of Nijō Castle. The raised corner used to house a five storey tower which served as a look-out in 1750 but was not rebuilt. (Built from 1601 to 1626 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Edo Shogunate). Kyoto, Japan, 2004

Corners expressed II

Corner of the three-tier marble terrace leading to the Hall of Preserving Harmony in the Forbidden City. (Built from 1406 to 1420). Beijing, China, 2007

Buy prints and usage rights of these diptych images here which are featured in my architectural photography book, Drawing Parallels, Architecture Observed

Text & Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

An article on the book Drawing Parallels: Architecture Observed in EOS Magazine January-March 2010 focusing on technique and equipment selection from the Canon EOS system best suited for Architectural Photography.

Drawing Parallels

Architect and photographer Quintin Lake uses visual comparisons drawn from his extensive travels to produce a book of pairings of photographs that force us to re-examine the world around us and challenge our understanding of what constitutes architecture. Quintin currently uses an EOS 5D but he took other digital images in the book using an EOS 10D and 1Ds, and earlier analogue images using an EOS 1000,600 and EOS 1.

‘My photographs are from my travels to over 60 countries,” explains Quintin. “so technical difficulties were mos!ly climatic: humidity, heat and cold, and for the remoter locations, being a long time away from electricity. To deal with long periods away from mains power, such as Lesotho or Peru I carried half a dozen spare batteries which I found easier than using solar, which requires being in one location for an extended period.

“The wider angle and tilt-and-shift lenses offered by Canon are superior to anything offered by the competition, and these lenses are particularly important for photographing architecture. I also like the colour rendering and feel of the digital file. which just look ‘right’. The camera’s ergonomic design makes sense and using the EOS system has become second nature to me.

“I have two styles of photographing architecture: an urban safari and a more static Study. When I arrive at a new city or place I’ll walk around for hours on an urban safari to get a feel for a place and see the things of interest, which may not be in a guide-book. Therefore lightweight high quality lenses are the most important to me. The EF 24·105mm f4L is my most used lens for this kind of long urban walk. I often also carry an EF 100-400m  f4.5-5.6L as I like to pick out a graphic composition from the facade of a building, often from quite a distance. I also normally carry an EF 50mm /1.4 for very low light conditions. For a more static study of a building when I’ll spend a day or more there and won’t be walking around all day with the equipment, I’ll use a TS-E 24mm f3.5L and an EF 16·35mm f2,8L with a tripod.

Drawing Parallels, Architecture observed, Papadakis Publisher, £25 Order a copy from Amazon here

Waves & Ripples I
Lawn, railings and cobbles on Radcliffe Square viewed from St Mary’s, the University Church. Underneath the square is storage space for the Bodleian Library, which contains around 600,000 volumes. Oxford, England, 2009

Waves & Ripples II
Detail of the concrete ribs which make up the façade of the Copan building, built by architect Oscar Niemeyer. São Paulo, Brazil, 2008

Buy prints and usage rights of these diptych images here which are featured in my architectural photography book, Drawing Parallels, Architecture Observed

Text & Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

Shine through, shine out I
Detail of Lincoln Cathedral East window showing The Creation and Redemption of Man. Stained glass by Ward and Nixon, 1855. Lincoln, UK, 2004

Shine through, shine out II
Neon advertising lights above Nanjing East Road. Shanghai, China, 2007

Buy prints and usage rights of these diptych images here which are featured in my architectural photography book, Drawing Parallels, Architecture Observed

Text & Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

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