The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA|LA) selected 15 winners from more than 300 submissions in its 2020 AIA|LA Architectural Photography Awards. This winners, which included 13 still photographs and two Instagram feeds, exemplified "photographers who reinterpret the built environment through their own highly-individualized aesthetic," according to an AIA|LA press release.
The program comprised three categories: individual photographs, best Instagram feed by a photographer, and best Instagram feed by a firm, with the latter two categories as new inclusions for this year. Individual photographs were recognized at two different levels—honor and citation—with honor as the highest award.
The jurors for the 2020 AIA|LA Architectural Photography Awards were curator, author, and educator Emily Bills; architectural photographer Benny Chan; and architect Andre Kikoski, AIA, founding principal of Andre Kikoski Architect, in New York City.
The winners of the 2020 AIA|LA Architectural Photography Awards are shown below.
Image Awards: Honor
Photographer: Tzu-Chin Yu
Title: Baluarte Jauregia (Pamplona, Spain)
Jury Notes: This is a great picture. It’s not immediately obvious what is happening, but when you really see the masterful, elegant eye that goes into this picture to really create its punch, that’s when it becomes all the more endearing and personal.
Photographer: Tzu-Chin Yu
Title: Legohouse & Blue Boy (Billund, Denmark)
Jury Notes: We loved the composition: the sense of monochrome and the pops of color that were so exquisitely coordinated. ... We also love how the building almost disappears into the background. It’s the opaqueness of the environment engulfed in the whiteness of the building and you just have this blueprint in the middle—and a wonderful human element that doesn't look staged.
Photographer: Anna Leiker
Title: #3 from the series My Adopted Metropolis (Santa Monica, Calif.)
Jury Notes: It’s hard to know where this is, but from the very first moment we saw it, it just really stood out as something fantastic and special. ... It’s the only photo in here that used the soft focus technique and it’s really beautiful and intimate.
Photographer: Saide Serna
Title: A Summer in Chinatown (Los Angeles)
Jury Notes: This photograph [is] not a heroic topic or subject matter, but it’s smart; it’s photographed very artistically. ... It’s really about plane color, repetition with these four poles in the foreground and then these planes of color, and a little bit of texture in the roofline. It encompasses all those qualities in one, without being a heroic photograph, and we also just want to keep looking at it. We’re drawn to it.
Photographer: Kirk Shimazu, AIA
Title: First Fall (Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan)
Jury Notes: This picture really has a beautiful tranquility to it with all of the trees behind, and a minimalism to it even though there are a lot of things going on. We were all drawn into it. ... We also love the serenity of it, the feeling that you have stumbled across a perfect moment in time that is perhaps completely impromptu or highly stylized.
Photographer: Marek Neumann
Title: Space Time Continuum (Kazakhstan)
Jury Notes: This is interesting because it calls into question the role of architecture and nature which is just so timely today; it’s a really elegant meditation on the privilege we have of building in this world. It’s also a spectacularly beautiful photo with significant achievement in the technical skill. ... This is a great way to show how you can isolate yourself and not have all this distraction and this architecture shows that. ... In the realm of “would I like to live with this and sit with this all day,” it’s a resounding yes.
Image Awards: Citation
Photographer: Jonathan Ducrest
Title: Petrol Station (Skovshoved, Denmark)
Jury Notes: What’s interesting about this one is its beautiful banality. Everything is just slightly unfamiliar, yet we kept coming back to it for the seductive sensibility and the positioning of the camera.
Photographer: Caglar Gokbulut
Title: The Tranquility (Istanbul)
Jury Notes: This photograph had a haunting quality and it really opened a conversation between the jurors. ... It draws you in and gets you to ask questions: Is this snow or is this ash? What’s going on with the blue light at the top. | It has this ethereal or mystical quality to it. ... It feels like colliding architectural cultures—mosque-like structures but unified in a really compelling way.
Photographer: Javier Gil Vieco
Title: Skywheel (Niagara Falls, Ontario)
Jury Notes: Minimalism, but with an ethereal quality to it.
Photographer: Gerard Smulevich
Title: Barceloneta (Barcelona, Spain)
Jury Notes: It’s a perfect moment to catch something like that, a real situation. ... We really had to laugh at this one with all the fixtures hanging in the middle of the building.
Photographer: Aaron Araki
Title: The Living Room (Los Angeles)
Jury Notes: This is really interesting because it talks about architecture at its most domestic, its most intimate, its least heroic and its least stylized. And speaks to comfort and simplicity. ... In a moment of great emotional value, the quality of the light and the overall feeling of the photograph is fresh and uncomplicated but very powerful.
Photographer: Peter Molick
Title: Shek O (Hong Kong Island)
Jury Notes: We love the lifeguard tower structure—it’s just iconic looking. And a single person standing below—it’s a really cool image.
Photographer: Joao Morgado
Title: Swimming Pools in Leça da Palmeira (Leça da Palmeira, Portugal)
Jury Notes: The transformation of the landscape from foreground to background, from recreational to industrial, the tension between human-made forms and organic natural landscape elements dotted with the playful leisure of beach going. It’s an endlessly fascinating observational photo.
Best Instagram Feed: Photographer
Photographer: Elizabeth Daniels
Jury Notes: She is very good at scale from large to small. ... We enjoyed the very intimate feeling of her feed, and really appreciated her lighting. ... A very compelling Instagram feed.
Best Instagram Feed: Architecture Firm
Firm: Hanson LA
Jury Notes: We loved this feed because it really is demonstrative of how a feed can represent process, creativity, different media—hand sketching, diagram—as well as the people who make architecture, in a really meaningful and compelling way.