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Bidisha Sinha & Simon Yu on Architecture and Photography

Interview Date: 18-03-2015
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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 job?

B.S.: We have photographers that are actually trade as architects but do it professionally and we have a lot of very talented architects in the office who photograph so I’m not sure but of course if you are more professional and you’re doing it full time, you always have a much better understanding, and better perspective.

S.Y.: The eye for space just developing an eye for observation, I mean that observation is a big part in our profession. Being able to absorb even visually things around you, maybe things you don’t even see but indirectly mean something, socially, or within any other city, and that’s something you absorb and it’s a big part of what we do.

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

B.S.: Yes absolutely. All the projects we represented today, for example the Opera House is about people, the school is about students, there always be a shot that is abstracted and artistic, but it has to be in use.

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

S.Y.: That comes second. Under any circumstances I think that’s the second jury, it has to serve the function, it has to have the function first and looking good is a bonus, is another thing. But everything we do always sort of come from how it’s used and how it works.

What is the difference between seeing a picture of a building or a place and visiting the building or place yourself? How dos architectural photography explore the relationship between the perception of space and the experience of space?

B.S.: That’s not the same at all, you have to experience it. A space is a 3d physical environment and if you are not stand within it, you can’t get an idea of the space through a pictorial representation or renderings, CDI, photographs, you have to go and stand in a place if you really want to experience it.

S.Y.: Absolutely. For example, Rome has the Pantheon and seeing photographs and being underneath the dome is a complete different experience.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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Zaha Hadid Architects

Bidisha Sinha & Simon Yu

Country: United Kingdom
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Bidisha Sinha
Bidisha qualified as an architect in New Delhi in 2000, and post qualification worked for a number of years in India, which included the re-development and retro-fitting of a colonial-grade listed boarding school campus. Her growing interest in more complex geometries and their construction methods led her to do a Master of Architecture & Urbanism at the Architectural Association in London, under the guidance of Patrik Schumacher, with a focus in Responsive Environments. She subsequently joined the ZHA team in 2005. She has completed Zaha Hadid’s first building in England, the 2011 Stirling Award winning, the Evelyn Grace Academy, which she was integrally involved in from the start to its recent completion.Bidisha has lectured in architectural schools and practices in India, and has been a guest critic at the AA, London. She has contributed to the publication – 1001 Buildings to be seen before you die, Editor: Mark Irving Quintessence Books (QUARTO), writing articles specific to buildings in the Indian sub-continent. In her own time she continues to experiment and collaborate with artists on the visual representation of real and imaginary spaces, and the effect that has on one’s perception of their environment.

Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid, founder of Zaha Hadid Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize (considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture) in 2004 and is internationally known for both her theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects builds on over thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Hadid’s interest lies in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology as her practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems, leading to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies. Such a process often results in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.