2018 AIA|LA
Architectural Photography Awards
Winners Announced


Los Angeles, CA – March 12, 2018 – The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter (AIA|LA) is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2018 AIA|LA Architectural Photography Awards.

This year’s jury selected a group of fifteen photographs that, together, elevate documentation-of-the-built-environment to art, as they fuse light, subject, composition, color, and tone.

Three images received highest recognition at Honor level, three at Merit, and nine at Citation. Each was noted for their exquisite qualities (see below) by jury members Joey N. Shimoda, FAIA, FIIDA; Marcia Prentice, photographer; and Minh T, photographer and art director.

The AIA|LA initiated the Architectural Photography Awards program as a means to celebrate individuals who communicate a designer’s work to the public and possible clients and for history. Through the awards, we celebrate, not only the transcendent qualities of space, but the photographer’s eye, skill, and talent in expressing it.

To view a slide show of winning images, visit: https://tinyurl.com/Winners-APAs-2018

Or view a list of winners, and jury notes below.

Photographer: Joshua White
Image: Schindler House
Jury Notes:
Our… selection of a Schindler House and a Frank Lloyd Wright house as being great photographs confirms an understanding of the legacy of these architects’ work, but also that their work is still being reinterpreted by younger photographers today. The moment in time that they create seems to have timeless quality, but also much technical beauty.

It feels like it’s a classic photograph—it’s in black and white, technically it’s very good; it feels like a movie set—very film noir. It feels like one of Julius Schulman’s photographs: something that you look at for many, many years and still appreciate.

It transports you into another time, maybe the 1920s when it was built—a different photo than it is today: today it’s surrounded by high rise apartment buildings, but this gives you a sense of what it was like living in that time. It has this kind of time-travel quality.

Photographer: Joshua White
Image: Frank Lloyd Wright – Hollyhock House
Jury Notes:
The Hollyhock House – what I love about this photograph is that it’s an interior photograph, and it also talks about light and color in a way that you can imagine Frank Lloyd Wright talking about light and color.

The use of natural light—they clearly waited until the right moment to take this photograph: the shadow lines that came through the windows were perfectly aligned with the architecture and the space.

We’re pulled in by the warmth and glow of this image. It makes you want to be there. It captures a mood and the feeling of the space beautifully – the light graphically paints across the space; it’s just a really beautiful image to look at.

This house has been photographed many times, but this is a special photograph that is capturing a very particular moment.

Photographer: Mike Kelley
Image: Venice Skatepark
Jury Notes:
This photograph was one of the only images that combined the idea of built form, activity, and serendipity—the people on the skateboards are moving, a bird is flying through the scene. It’s a moment that could be captured in time; it wasn’t a static photograph.

This image hits all of the marks, in terms of being graphically interesting – the eyes move across the photo.

There is a lot to look at – there are shadows, there are movement, there are shapes. It tells a story.

This is something you can look at over and over again.

We like the geometric quality of it, the graphic nature of it.

Here we have new photographic technology […] and people are now taking really interesting aerial shots. 

Photographer: Adam C. Umber
Barn Maintenance
Jury Notes:
It talks about architecture and experience, but in a way that’s not so super glamorous. It;s about an agricultural moment and it talks about maybe a day in the life of a workshop, but what we love about it is that it’s anonymous pieces of architecture also become spatially beautiful.

It really speaks to photography as an art form and there’s a real story happening here. Also it’s very easy to photograph a beautiful piece of architecture that’s finished, but rarely we see the progress along the way and the non-glamorous part.

This image has a timeless quality: it could be at any time period, today or the future.

And, what’s the story behind it – you wonder what’s happening in there. It keeps you interested and drawn into the imagery.

Photographer: Darren Bradley
Image: Space Station
Jury Notes:
It talks about this heroic hotel architecture where the image itself, because of the way it’s framed, becomes almost a super flat image that talks about pattern texture that’s really rich in its rendition.

Even though I’ve seen this perspective before, technically it’s a perfect photograph—there’s so much happening, but every detail of this photograph is technically perfect.

We like this image for the geometric and graphic quality of it—the circular shapes juxtaposed with the rectangular shapes really make it interesting for the eye to look at.

Photographer: Sandra Feller
Image: Two hours
Jury Notes:
It takes a real artistic eye to go into a parking garage and see something special and beautiful. It’s a very basic parking garage, but they saw the art in the moment.

It really talks about art and photography. We think about the ubiquitous parking garage in LA and how in a lot of ways it’s not beautiful at all, but, this is a photograph that frames it in such a way that talks about beautiful, but it has a bit of a somberness to it, which evokes a mood.

We like this image for the mood-evoking quality of it. There’s a sense of longing and a sense of artistry that is not often seen in traditional architectural photography. It takes it to a level of artistic interpretation.

Photographer: Alex Nye
Image: NYS Museum 4D
Jury Notes:
This photograph is a classic heroic architectural shot. It’s a brutalist concrete building, perfectly centered in the frame, with an elderly gentleman walking in the front. It speaks to another time in architecture, a heroic time of architecture, and its a technically beautiful photograph.

It’s technically beautiful, it’s taken in the right moment–it has a human element. The composition of the person in the shot is just perfect. It makes the architecture really pop, and sells the architecture as well.

We like the technical quality—the coloring is beautiful, the time of day it was shot is perfect – twilight, or is it sunrise? – and the use of the human figure puts another focus on to the photograph.

Photographer: Anne S. Williams
Image: Look Up!
Jury Notes:
This location has been photographed many times, but this perspective is not often seen, especially with the red cranes, which really activate the photo and make your eyes dance across the image to take it all in; It’s really effective.

This is a great photograph of the Calatrava Station in NYC. It’s sort of this cathedral that’s also a public transit center, and what makes it a humanistic photo is the fact that there are red birds above, and you can actually see people wearing colorful clothing on the balcony.

It’s an architectural photograph, but it has a very artistic quality, and the lines of the architecture are very sharp, and then you have this softer geometric shape. Overall, it’s a very artistic photograph.

Photographer: Donia Emilie Tadayoni
Image: CopenHill
Architect: BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group
Jury Notes:
We love the idea of a building with a smokestack, and it’s belching out smoke, but in this case it is water vapor—so compositionally it’s reminiscent of an industrial time but it’s actually a very modern building that has very different uses, and the photographer really captured a nice moment.

It seems very dreamlike with the smoke coming out of the smokestack, it feels more like a painting or an art piece. The photographer captured the right moment of this building.

We like the graphic and sculptural quality of the subject, and also the angle the photographer chose to capture and create a strong diagonal, and these lines that make a perfect composition. The smokestack makes the photo more dynamic.

Photographer: Donia Emilie Tadayoni
Image: Towers of Silence
Jury Notes:
The light is perfectly framed in one of the archways, and what’s interesting about the photograph is the imperfection of the construction of the arches and bricks, and you really begin to see the space. But most important, for me, is it really emotes the sense of being in a place, I can almost feel that its hot and dry in the photo.

It talks about being out in the world, and feels like a travel photograph. It shows international architecture.

We like the texture and the natural light quality.

We like the warmth and mood that this image conjures up. It’s a sense of a portal to someplace magical, it has a transporting quality that I look for in a photograph.

Photographer: Lois Narae Lee
Image: Something Greater
Jury Notes:
This photograph is no longer feels like a photograph—it could be an illustration, or painting, and it really transforms into something else. It feels very dreamy, we love the snow, and the color palette. It’s a very artistic photo.

This is one of my favorite buildings of Le Courbusier, Chapel Ronchamp, and what is interesting about the photography is that it’s framed in such a way that makes the building not recognizable from the 8 millions of other photos of Ronchamp. The moment – that it’s snowing – also lends a certain feeling to the photograph that talks about time and talks about being in the middle of nowhere in France where it’s very cool to see architecture.

The composition and the graphic of the image makes it really interesting to look at. It’s a new take on a very iconic building that you’ve seen very many times before – this angle is one I’ve never seen before.

Photographer: Sandra Feller
Image: Late Fee
Jury Notes:
It treads the line between being art and architecture, and between being something that’s definitely telling a story versus something that’s void of story. Compositionally, it’s very eclectic—it’s in Venice—so it reflects the neighborhood.

It feels very cinemagraphic. It looks like an oil painting. It reminds me of the work of this photographer Gregory Crewdson who used cinematic lighting to create very dramatic interior and exterior scenes.

What I like about this image is that it has a painterly quality; it could be a painting.

Overall it makes a very graphic image that’s arresting. This image has a lot to look at.

Photographer: Tamara Heimlich
Image: Enlightenment
Jury Notes:
This is another photograph that we really loved in terms of its technical aspects, but it’s a story that talks about the things we make—construction, tunnels, things you never get to see, except for this opportunity during construction.

I imagine the tunnel being dark, so you have to have a long exposure to get this kind of photograph.

You wonder how the photographer got there, where is this place? It creates a little backstory and also this sort of vortex quality, drawing your eye into sorts of places. It keeps it interesting.

The photographer paid attention to the lights on the right side of the tunnel, and to get the right exposure, to have the light bounce to the other side of the tunnel—and not have it blown out. To get the right exposure to make this photo technically perfect.

Photographer: Tim Griffith
Image: Apple Park
Architect: Foster + Partners
Jury Notes:
What makes this photograph a little bit interesting is the scratchiness of the way it was done – its almost a vintage photograph of one of probably one of the newest buildings on the planet. We’ve seen Apple Park from a lot of different views—it’s nice to see one that’s right at the beginning of the day.

The time of day they took it, and tonality of the photograph, and its exposed so you can see actually inside the structure as well, and you’re curious to know what’s happening inside the windows.

It has a futuristic optimistic quality that you have for the future, this is something that could be in Mars.

Photographer: Eric Staudenmaier
Image: See Through
Architect: Johnston Marklee & Associates
Jury Notes:
It has a luscious quality—it makes you want to keep looking at it over and over again. And that time of day when this image was taken, it creates a beautiful warm glow that is so satisfying to look at. This is a really effective architectural image.

What is important about this project is that it’s brand new architecture that’s really probably going to be known as great architecture in the future, and so it’s great that architectural photography has this ability to mark a moment in time. And that sort of celebrates, in this case, dawn on the beach, to have a particular light, a particular feeling for this building.

It’s a very straightforward architectural shot, but it’s a good example of when the photographer captures architecture and… how their photograph really helps sell the design.

– END –


Tibby Rothman, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Marketing and Public Relations
c: 310.994.1423