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Angela Brady on Architecture and Photography

Interview Date: 21-11-2012
(More interviews from this person)

VIEW the entire interview on VIDEO!

Many architects worldwide share the passion of photography for various reasons. What is your relationship with photography? Do architecture photographers do better this kind of work?

Architectural photography is critical because not everybody can travel to counties to see buildings. If you have a good photograph of the building, I think it encourages people to maybe explore that further.

We can say that most οf architecture photos of buildings do not include any people. What are your thoughts about including people in your photos? Ιs it important to photograph a building in use or by itself?

It is interesting you asked this question about people in photographs because so many people are missing from photographs. I think it’s essential because if you have a theatre, how can you judge a theatre without seeing the people in it or a restaurant. They look very bear and empty. I think it’s essential that you include people but I know that technically it can be difficult because you can blur images or you can’t get people to get still or you must get their permission before you put them in a photograph that is going to be published. I think people add life to photographs.

Many architecture theories and a lot of people think that contemporary architecture is designed in ordered to be well photographed. Doing this work, do you have this feeling of buildings that are not designed to serve specific need but are rather iconic and self promoting?

There are many iconic buildings and some of them are not very good. Some of them are good. But I don’t believe that we should be designing as architects iconic buildings. We should be designing buildings for people’s needs and that’s the primary. It’s how the building functions on the inside. The look on the outside is very much a weathering thing, how it looks, how it fits into the context. But the most important thing about a building is its shelter and what’s the use of the building and the ease on the inside.

What do you think is the difference between seeing a picture of a building or a place and visiting that building or place yourself? How does architectural photography explore the relation between the perception of space and the experience of space?

One of the important things if you are judging a building like I’ve acted as a judge in many things and here at the World Architecture Festival for example, you are judging very much on the presentation of the architect and the actual photographs of the building. But if you are judging a building you have to actually go and see it and be physically in it. At the RIBA Sterling award we insist on three separate groups, actually going and visiting these buildings so you get the actual perception walking around. You can see all the little things that a photograph will hide. I think that’s very important. The photograph can lure you in to visiting the building but if you are judging it on its architectural merge then you absolutely have to go into that building, around that building and see it in its context.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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Angela Brady

Angela Brady

Country: United Kingdom
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Angela Brady is a director of Brady Mallalieu Architects an award winning design led private practice with over 20 years experience, who specialise in contemporary sustainable design. Their recent 200 homes at Mastmaker Rd Isle of Dogs won ‘Best housing development’ in Evening Standard awards and won an RIAI design award 2010.

Angela will be the next President of the RIBA in Sept 2011. She is a champion of Women in Architecture internationally; Past chair of Women in Architecture and founding member of RIBA ‘Architects for Change’ – promoting women and BAME architects. She curated the ‘DiverseCity’ travelling exhibition 2003-2010 exhibited in dozens of Cities around the world which concluded with an international conference at the RIBA in Oct 2010.
See and

Angela has created and led many in-school design initiatives to promote architecture and our sustainable built environment to the public, particularly working with The Building Exploratory Hackney, RIAI, RIBA, CABE, Artsinform, Open House, Open City, Architecture Foundations, and Art Galleries in UK and Ireland.

Angela is currently a Government Equality Ambassador, RIBA and RIAI Council member, STEMnet Ambassador, and a CABE Enabler.
Past member of CABE/ English Heritage Urban panel; Design Champion of London Development Agency Board; Vice chair of Civic Trust Awards, Trustee Director Building Exploratory Hackney and leader of ‘Women @ Work’ project in the Near East with the British Council.

Angela is well known for her work on TV, with series such as ‘The Home Show’ on Ch 4 and ‘Building the Dream’ on ITV, bringing an appreciation of architecture and design to the public.

:: Photo information and credits:

1 > Phoenix Heights / 4 Mastmaker Road
photo courtecy
© VIEW/Dennis Gilbert

2 > Laycock Street Residential Development
photo courtecy
© Sara Thomas/Brady Mallalieu Architects

3 > Islington Central Medical Centre / Andrew Carr/Brady Mallalieu
photo courtecy © VIEW/Dennis Gilbert

4 > Phoenix Heights / 4 Mastmaker Road
photo courtecy
© VIEW/Dennis Gilbert

5-6 > Private House, Richmond
photo courtecy © VIEW/Dennis Gilbert