Architecture History and Theory

Cities are often perceived in a state of distraction and confusion. Within the modern era, buildings and designs are limitless and have no boundaries in relation to ideas, materials and infrastructure. Evident in the heart of Sydney near central station, where UTS is surrounded by some of Sydney’s most advanced and unique buildings, creating a culture of modernistic nature in a historically significant city, rich in its past background.


With the profuse amount of Architecture situated in and around UTS, photography is endless. Photography is a technique that helps to establish key elements like, perspective and framing. Which both help intensify the experience. Andreas Gursky is a modern German photographer who incapsulates landscape colour photographs. Within his work, he shows individuals within particular environments, to highlight synchronised activities and a series of patterns.

Figure 1. Eastern view of Central Station (Matthews 2017)

Taken at 3:14pm on an overcast day, the eastern view Central station terminal (Figure 1) depicts an area of banal and quotidian spaces that have numerous abstract qualities. A dominant feature is the the white strip from the sky light that is the salient component within the photograph. From the top on the image to the centre, it creates a perception of depth and is a stark contrast to the blue curved metal roofing that creates a sense of softness due to the aesthetically curved design. The bold and bright lights suspended from the roof illuminate the darkness and create a perspective and vector, where the lines converge to a single point, which is a clock which has direct link to sense of reality.

Figure 2: Andrea’s Gursky Photograph (Gursky 2016)

A key element within this photograph is the idea that it is exaggerating the grid, the numerous aspects of repetition is a reoccurring motif, and links closely to Andrea’s photograph (Figure 2) that both capture synchronised activities and reveal multiple patterns that emerge in both. One being the sense that people are ‘mechanical’ and are driven by work. The role of people is another important factor, in both sets of images the figures are very singular, meaning that there is minimal interaction, telling us that it relates back to the banal and quotation spaces that both images share the same abstract quality that people are induced in their own personal space.

In both Figure 1 and Figure 3, it demonstrates the old vs new sense of Architecture, we are able to see key similarities in both images, the roof, archways, brick and the sentimental clock in the centre. It tells us that Sydney is preserving key aspects of history in everyday life, even if people don’t realise. This is a contrast to Andrea’s photograph where the warehouse has lower flat roof, making it feel smaller and more refined. Allowing us to see that architecture can be minimalistic and can only intend to be functional, not aesthetic like the grand sandstone Central Station.

Figure 3. Central Station 1981 (NSW Railway 1981)


Film is an analysis used to frame the city. With modern buildings designed with endless heights and shapes, film allows individuals to gain a unique perspective into how the space would feel around them if they weren’t present. Film is able to present key elements of how people react in those spaces due to individuals moving within the frame. Dziga Vertov’s ‘The Man With The Movie Camera’ (1929) is a cinematic masterpiece, depicting scenes of ordinary life in Soviet Union.

My film ‘Down to UTS’ exhibits key elements directly related to a series of fragments that build a whole. My fragments linked closely to ‘The Man With The Movie Camera’ (1929), where I illustrate my journey to UTS, highlighting key architectural buildings in and around UTS. Just like how Dziga Vertov expresses the industrialisation period through short fast fragments, I too implemented this technique along with turning my film into black and white which allowed it to translate to a similar film as Vertov’s, with no special effects between fragments to create an authentic interpretation of my journey. Focusing on the industrial Sydney city was a key comparison, it told me that architecture is an ageless art and taught me to read the unique buildings within our city, from historic central station built in 1929 to the contemporary central park mall, it is two contrasting designs, although highlights how different era’s of architecture promote similar aesthetics through different materials. Analysing both film’s enable me to depict that film promotes the living force, therefor people are a part of everyday activity, many of my fragments includes individuals who are singular, this is a dramatic contrast to ‘The Man With The Movie Camera’ (1929) where multiple scenes capture the social interaction created through the industrialisation era. Through the eye of the camera which is the focal point, it helps depict space and the process, we learn that through both films the way we frame is never a neutral act and is a depiction of real events and buildings. A technique I used was to film in portrait style to exaggerate the height of buildings, and how modern day buildings differ dramatically from Vertov’s ‘The Man With The Movie Camera’ (1929). Choosing to put my fragments in order distinguished that where I live, the Architecture is no where near as dense and advanced as the city, comparing this revealed that areas with higher population tend to require more buildings and apartments, also evident in Vertov’s film where the busier scenes are shot in the city with more advanced buildings and trains, which I also display. Through particular rhythm analysis we are able to identify particular tempo which is able to depict time, movement of sequence. Filming my fragments in the early mornings allowed me to identify the ‘mechanical’ nature of individuals heading towards work and not attentive of the high scale buildings swallowing them due to their scale and no vertical limits. I chose the changing classical music which allowed me to articulate the changing moods one can have in the city, from upbeat music, referring to the excitement of the city to mellow music, due to elements like traffic or busy crowds.

Figure 4. Vertov depicting ‘everyday life’ with smaller scale buildings compared to modern day Sydney.
Figure 5. The ‘Eye of the Camera’, following the crowds to encapsulate the daily commute

Reference List:

Figure 1: Matthews, T 2017, taken on 27 March 2017 (own source)

Firgure 2: Gurskey. A, 2016, viewed 4th April 2017,

Figure 3: Lee, Robert. 1981, viewed 4th April 2017

Figure 4: (left side) The Man with the Movie Camera(1929), Youtube (18:17), viewed 2nd April 2017,

Figure 4: (right side) Matthews, T 2017, taken on 27 March 2017 (own source)

Figure 5: (left side) The Man with the Movie Camera(1929), Youtube (17:27), viewed 2nd April 2017,

Figure 5: (Right side) Matthews, T 2017, taken on 27 March 2017 (own source)

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