I’ve been photographing for the Master and Fellows of Emmanuel College, Cambridge documenting the college for a new book written by Jeremy Musson. The challenge is to overcome the architecture which demands be photographed in a conventional way – no sooner are you through the entrance gate than Christopher Wren is to be found gesticulating across the court at you- “Oi, over here!”
More of my photography of historic architecture can be found here.
The new Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto has been built in amongst the temple complexes on the eastern bank of the river. It directly overlooks not only the 800 year old Ikeniwa Garden Pond but a neighbouring temple. Designed by HBA Singapore it features a number of rooms with terraces or open balconies that allow clients to enjoy the tranquility of a location that feels hidden from the bustle of the city centre.
I tried to keep my photography true to the principles of the kindly of traditional Japanese architecture which I’d studied while researching my book on wooden architecture: simplicity, understatement and balance.
A selection of my new hotel photography from China. I’ve been shooting quite a lot in the land of WeChat as the luxury hotel brands expand into larger regional cities and local resorts. What has struck me is the variety of the new designs on offer.
The outside of The Castle Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel by Starwood looks remarkably like Mad King Ludwig’s Wagner-inspired Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria (see the exterior of the hotel here). Inside the Los Angeles office of HBA have managed to design a series of interiors that intelligently mediate between the singular vision of the building and the varied requirements of a luxury resort.
By contrast Hilton Wenchang also boasts interiors from HBA Los Angeles and yet could not be more different. The entire public areas of this hotel on Hainan Island are open to the elements utilising the traditional wooden screens I found across South East Asia when researching my book on wooden architecture.
I also worked at one of the chic new urban JW Marriotts at Shenzhen Bao’an in a building designed by Portman Associates with interiors by the Singapore office of HBA.
It’s a pleasure to finally hold a copy of this new book I photographed about the expansion of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Here the Russian practice Studio 44 Architects have converted the east wing of what was originally the General Staff Building. This neoclassical masterpiece by Carlo Rossi lies across Palace Square from the Winter Palace and curves around to define the semi-circular form of the square. Studio 44 have re-established Rossi’s orginal design principle by establishing an enfilade through the internal courtyard along a new a monumental concrete raised walkway mounted by dramatic staircases at either end. On either side the walkway connects through to both refurbished interiors and a series of new gallery spaces.
This was a lovely project to work on – a truly international collaboration. I shot it in July 2014 working directly with the lead architect and book’s primary author, Oleg Yawein. But I’d already been lucky enough to discuss the project first with Thames & Hudson in London and then with Hans Ebelings in Montreal earlier in the year. Hans had been involved in the book since it’s inception and wrote an essay for it – ‘Nature and Nuture of a Building.’ Other architectural luminaries also contributed text: Aaron Betsky, Dimitry Shividkovsky & Yulia Revzina and Rem Koolhaas, as did the museum’s director, Mikhail Piotrovsky.
‘The Library – a world history’ was to some extent a victim of it’s own success selling out online in both the UK and US before the beginning of December. We may have missed a few Christmas stockings last year but Thames & Hudson and University of Chicago Press have been busy reprinting and now it’s available. There is also one unheralded advantage to getting the book second time around in that it is eight pages longer and features two additional Mexican libraries. These were specifically shot for the Spanish language edition published by Nerea.
The first is the Biblioteca Palafoxiana (1772-5) in Puebla which makes an interesting comparison of Latin American Baroque with the Roman Baroque libraries that are already in the book – Biblioteca Casantense (1719) and Biblioteca Angelica (1765). It’s peculiar because the galleries sit on and are supported by the lower book cases.
The second addition is Alberto Kalach’s amazing design for Mexico City’s Jose Vasconcelos Library (2006) where all the book shelves are hung from the ceiling. Despite the mass of concrete above it’s designed as a series of arches with the Mexican sun pouring in between them allowing the space to feel both bunker-like and expansive. The centrepiece is Gabriel Orozo’s sculpture ‘whale.’
Kalash’s central ‘nave’ above Orozo’s sculpture
In a book of over eighty libraries these two constitute a minor footnote but they seem to complete the project in a satisfying way. The first illustrating the grand dissemination of Catholic baroque, the second the industrial scale demanded by today’s libraries.