It is often the case that our perceptions of contemporary architecture is not based on impressions that we obtain on site; instead, they are mediated by images. In a society which, as a result of the ‘iconic turn’, is influenced more by images than by text, photography takes on decisive significance, also in the mediation of architecture. ‘Building Images’ is conceived as a panorama of the last 25 years of Swiss architecture. Buildings which have contributed to the worldwide success of Swiss construction are presented — not by means of plans and models, but solely via the medium of photography. Here, artistic positions enter into a dialog with architectural photography. Rather than limiting itself to stringing together exemplary photographs, the presentation also sheds light on the different aspects of the relationship between image and architecture in an analytical section. What role do images play during the design process? Which architects prefer which images?
The convergence of digitally-produced images with the reality of photography has also changed photography itself, which has also been affected by new editing options. The two media have so intermixed that in many cases it’s not possible to discern whether an image has been digitally generated, if it is a photo-digital collage, or rather a pure photograph of a completed building. What is clear is that ways of dealing with images in the digital age have to be learned anew. The emancipation of the gaze entailed by the powerful presence of digital images requires new prototypes of visual perception. The photographic artistic effect of an image of architecture suggests a documentary point-of-view, which until recently was a guaranteed witness of built reality. The ‘Cardillo’ phenomenon — the Italian architect who passed off his skilfully-made renderings as completed buildings to several architectural magazines — is a good example.
Hubertus Adam, ‘Analog/Digital’, Building Images. Photographie focusing on Swiss architecture [exhibition], Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum, Basel, 8 Dec. 2012–21 Apr. 2013.
- Hubertus Adam, ‘Analog/Digital’ (pdf), in S AM, no. 10, Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum, Basel, March 2013, pp. 19, 28.