We might all have different taste in design – some like the modern, sharp, and edgy lines while others like the homey, traditional, and historic. The debate for colorful vs. traditional will never be settled. But, the variety in design is what makes it so intriguing and necessary – it’s personal and unpredictable, all at once. Architecture is especially interesting because it’s where we do. I use the word “do” intentionally, of course, because it is all encompassing. It’s where we do the living, the working, the eating, the talking, the idea generating…we shape buildings and then they, it seems, shape us.

Despite how many beautiful architectural creations exist, however, they can be hard to document. Buildings can come off as cold or uninviting. Sharp lines can get lost when they meet gray skies. Something so inspiring in person can come off as drab once seen through the lens. Fear not, though. As with anything, there are people who are the exception. The bold few that can capture a building and do it justice. Architect photographers.

One contest that showcases this kind of talent each and every year is the Architectural Photography Awards, which is put on by Arcaid Images. The competition is meant to bring much-needed and earned praise to the skill of architecture photography, or in their own words, the expertise of “translating the sophistication of architecture into a readable two dimensions to explain and extol the character, detail, and environment of the project.”

Earlier in October, Arcaid released a list of 20 photographs that were finalists for awards from the program. The subjects included a wide range of architecture seen in places such as China, Italy, Nevada, Seattle, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and more – with photographers from all corners of the world seemingly represented as well.  The specific award these images are vying for is the “Best Building Image,” with separate recognition for categories such as Exterior, Interior, Sense of Place, and Building in Use. A panel of judges comprised of designers, photographers, and journalists will narrow down the finalists to actual winners before the end of the year. Speaking to what a winning photo might entail, John Hill, a judge and Editor of World- Architects eMagazine told ArchDaily:

“More than just informing people about the existence of such places, the best photos go beyond that and entice people to learn more about the buildings, cities, and landscapes – maybe even booking a flight to see them firsthand. That feeling hit me on several occasions.”

Peep some of the impressive finalists below:

Gymnasium of New Campus of Tianjin University, China by Atelier Li Xinggang
Photographer: Terrence Zhang / Project: Gymnasium of the New Campus of Tianjin University, China
Choi Hung Estate in Hong Kong
Photographer: Fabio Mantovani / Project: Choi Hung Estate, Hong Kong
Photographer: Tom Roe / Project: Messner Mountain Museum Corones, South Tyrol, Italy
Photographer: David Borland / Project: ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark

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