DAHO001 Assignment 01A

Of all five senses we as human beings use to perceive our surroundings, vision is the most significant when it comes to exploring architecture. This project is focused on the study of a particular visual style in architectural photography.

I have chosen Helene Binet’s works as the style reference for my photo studies. Binet’s works focus on emphasizing the differences in visual qualities amongst the subjects of her photographs. As she mentioned in an interview:

“…every building will communicate something different to me. I mean it’s always about a feeling of control because I put all the lines into the frame and decide exactly where they’re going to be” . (Ten questions for photographer Hélène Binet, Phaidon.com)

Binet focus on capturing the portion of a building that speaks most strongly of its character. To untrained eyes, her style is extremely relatable, as it frames and presents her subjects’ most interesting aspects.

I have chosen two buildings as the focus of my photographs — the UTS Science Building(the Science Building) and the Dr. Chua Chak Wing Building (the Gehry Building). For the Science Building, I photographed the famed casted-concrete staircase knows as the Spiral Stair. As shown in figure 1., the staircases’ raw, untreated concrete texture and its contrasting tender, refined form are all highlighted by shadows casted by cascading light from above.

Figure 1. The Spiral Stair in side the UTS Science Building, Photo by Hu, S.

In an attempt to emulate Binet’s style, I aimed the camera upwards, towards the light source, to capture the cascading light and shadows casted onto the surroundings, as seen in Binet’s work below.

Figure 2. Peter Zumthor, Bruder Klaus Chapel, photo by Binet, H.

The Gehry Building’s twisting glass façade allows some curious mixture of reflections to be formed on its surface. The shaded areas of the façade is not necessarily products of its own shadows, but rather a combination of reflected shadows of the buildings it faces and shadows casted by the façade’s own structure.

Figure 3. Frank Gehry, Dr. Chua Chak Wing Building, photo by Hu, S.

This ambiguity of shade can also be seen in Binet’s photograph of Vitra Fire Station by Zaha Hadid, where surfaces seemingly facing the same angle has drastically deferent values, as if some of the surfaces reflect shadows of the surroundings.

Figure 4. Zaha Hadid, Vitra Fire Station, photo by Binet, H.


Ten questions for photographer Hélène Binet, <http://au.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/articles/2012/december/06/ten-questions-for-photographer-helene-binet/>.

Hélène Binet Photographs, <http://www.helenebinet.com/photography/architects/>.

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