Ezra Stoller had a banner year in 2012. To name just one (self-serving) example, a monograph of the architectural photographer's work made it to ARCHITECT's list of the best books of the year. It looks as though Stoller's streak will continue in 2013 with an exhibit at Yossi Milo Gallery.
It's not rare for such an established photographer to receive this kind of posthumous recognition (Stoller died in 2004). Rarely do commercial galleries and contemporary art museums take notice of photographers while they are alive. It was fortunate that, last April, California's Woodbury University School of Architecture mounted a spring exhibit of the work of Pedro E. Guerrero—the photographer of Frank Lloyd Wright's work and an ARCHITECT favorite—before his death in September. The coming year will see another architectural photographer honored in his own time: On Dec. 18, 2012, Los Angeles's Perry Rubenstein Gallery announced it is representing Iwan Baan and putting on a show of his work in 2013.
It did not hurt Baan that one of the most visible images following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy was his cover shot for New York Magazine. This widespread recognition reflects the fact that Baan is a talented photographer. Yet the Baan gallery show, and several other prominent exhibits on the 2013 calendar, also reveal the growing understanding of the structures and infrastructure that make up the built environment and, to a certain extent, determine and define our lives. It was Le Corbusier who called the house a machine for living in, but several 2013 exhibits appear to make the case that the house is merely a cog. Consider "Never Built: Los Angeles," a show that considers the schemes that might have circumvented some of that city's worst dysfunctions. Perhaps even "Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes," the largest Corb show ever for New York, will acknowledge the broad role of the city in shaping structure.
Not everyone's swept up with the recent fever for cities. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is showing off Southern California's sculpturalist architecture—buildings that hardly need the context of cities. And an exhibit on the Guastavinos considers an invisible but important part of the nation's building history. Not all of the best exhibits of 2013 have much to do with buildings that have been or could be built (see "Lebbeus Woods Architect"). In one way or another—from Los Angeles to New York City, from commercial storefront gallery to towering museum institution—architecture will get its due in 2013.