The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter has announced the results of its 2021 AIA|LA Architectural Photography Awards. The slate of 20 winners "tell[s] narratives of challenge and resilience," according to a press release from the organization.
This year, AIA|LA selected winners across four categories: 12 photographs in Best Picture, two feeds in Best Instagram Feed, two images in Best Rendering, and three images in a new category, The Times We Live In: Reflections of 2020. With the exception of the latter, AIA|LA recognized winners at three different levels within each category: honor, citation, and merit, with honor serving as the highest award.
The jury comprised Michael "Caco" Peguero, designer and founder of United Futures, in Los Angeles; Craig Shimahara, Hon. AIALA, president and founder of Shimahara Visual, in Santa Monica, Calif.; and Claire Zimmerman, author and associate professor of architectural history and theory at the University of Michigan.
Below is a selection of winning images from the 2021 AIA|LA Architectural Photography Awards. To see the full list of APA winners, vist AIA|LA.
Photographer: Marius Nimitz, AIA
Location: Mumbai, India
Jury Notes: "The Image powerfully dramatizes the uneven development between financial accumulation in global urban centers, and the specificities of local sites." ... "This portrait of a BRIC landscape squarely questions the economic adage that the rising tide lifts all boats. The background, midground, and foreground elements solemnly read like a stacked bar chart: multinational development on top, bearing down on a dry local economy, leaving the individual at the bottom with nothing in his hands and hiding his face."
Title: From the Cocoon
Photographer: Tzu Chin Yu
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Jury Notes: "The photograph depicts the long-delayed Taipei Dome partially wrapped in scaffolding. Bathed in pink light from the rising or setting sun, the image evocatively interposes duration into a still image." ... "Ghostly images of barren cityscapes are ubiquitous these days. How refreshing to see a familiar metaphor of hope within this stunning architectural COVID moment, replete with unfolding glassy wings stretching out towards the sun."
Photographer: Paul Vu
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Jury Notes: "A lacy scrim dominates the upper register of the image, contrasting the stark white walls below. Four women clothed in black concentrate viewers’ attention, standing amid dappled light from the ceiling above." ... "The porous elevation of Jean Nouvel's Arab Institute in Paris finds baroque expression as a massive domed ceiling in Abu Dhabi, only to be transformed back into an elevation by this exquisite photograph."
Title: Family at the Library
Photographer: Jeff Durkin, Assoc. AIA
Location: La Jolla, Calif.
Jury Notes: "A family group caught in the act of marveling at the Pereira library at UCSD—the marvel of monumentality." ... "It looks like a still straight out of 'Tales from the Loop.' A fantastic use of color." ... "This is a serious photo of three colorful, highly focused birdwatchers."
Title: Washing Turrell
Photographer: Luis Ayala
Jury Notes: "Compositionally striking, the image gets its charge from the individual cleaning Turrell's Skyspace." ... "Using photography to flatten space often comes at the expense of architectural intent or understanding, but this playful Malevich-esque composition was too fun to pass up!"
Title: Marginal Gothic
Photographer: Gerard Smulevich
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jury Notes: "The vertical grandeur of the interstitial space of highway infrastructure captured in an image populated by a stray dog and a pair communicating in the depth of the picture, lit by the rising sun." ... "Within this infrastructural cathedral the two congregants at the backlit altar and the one sniffing around in the pews are each subject to an all-powerful, omnipresent eye - the camera."
The Times We Live In: Reflections of 2020
Jury notes regarding the following three images: "Taken together, these photographs form a COVID triptych that presents the environmental sequela of the pandemic at three different scales—from the air, on the street, in the room—all linked by a sense of atmospheric loneliness and isolation."
Title: Looking North
Photographer: Ashok Sinha
Location: New York
Jury Notes: "The image evocatively captures the internal world of COVID lockdown." ... "Looking outside the window through our pandemic daze to see outside slowly coming into focus."
Title: Beach Day 2020
Photographer: Aaron Araki
Location: Los Angeles
Jury Notes: "An aerial view of a post-COVID world, this empty beach scene strikes Angelenos with awe. To others, the conjuncture of mobile homes and prime beachfront comes as a visual conundrum, reminding viewers of the specificity of Los Angeles life."
Photographer: Elizabeth Daniels
Location: Los Angeles
Jury Notes: "Fully frontal and brutally honest, the photograph reminds us how unevenly the effects of COVID have been distributed in U.S. society and around the world."
Title: Private Home
Photographer: Miguel Rodrigo with Here And Now Agency
Jury Notes: "This quiet illustration deftly weds the architecture with its site while maintaining a clear understanding of compositional hierarchy. It does so with a painterly layering of horizontal strips, alternating between snow and natural landscape like the fingers of a white-gloved hand loosely intertwined with one that's bare, then slipping the project into its environment like a ring."
Photographer Name: Miguel Rodrigo with Here And Now Agency
Jury Notes: "An excellent showcase of shading in 3D. The playful colors in contrast to the subject matter." ... "The tantalizing hints at a story within this netherworldly illustration outweigh any technical head-scratching."
Best Instagram Feed—Firm
Firm Name: Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects
Instagram Handle: @eyrcarchitects
Jury Notes: "We looked for good content and a good use of the tool as well. What immediately stood out was the cohesive branding across all graphics. The diagrams, renderings, photographs and stories also gave insight to the people behind the projects." ... "This feed showcases thoughtfully curated imagery organized into clear (but not rigid) patterns; fantastic play of geometry, scale, color, and negative space. Beautiful photography and design."
Best Instagram Feed—Individual
Name: Michael Wells Instagram Handle: @regressionarymovements
Jury Notes: "The photographer's eye comes through in the cohesive aesthetic. A unique coupling of built structures and urban landscapes." ... "This feed feels like a single performance piece; a photographic poem on the kitsch, colors, and beauty within the Duchampian disuse of Americana."