What: The main brief of this exercise was to choose five buildings and produce between two and four images that describe effectively and attractively the way in which the spaces are used.
Where: Various locations.
When: Differing times of the day
How: Some research had to be undertaken so that I had an understanding of how and why the building was designed the way it is and have an opinion on its effectiveness as a usable space.
The first thing that I did was select a number of buildings that I would be able to access and do some research on them, including where possible to have a look around the location to examine the space.
I spent some time watching the videos for architectural photography so that I was aware of compositions that I could avoid. The videos are available online
I also spent some time at the website http://photo.net/learn/architectural/exterior reading up again on information on compositions that I should avoid.
I was unable to access a few of my chosen locations as they were closed or unavailable. These included the Scottish flag centre which is a converted dovecot and the collegiate chapel. I therefore had to reassess my options and then find and research alternative locations
The first building that I chose and photographed was the main administration building for a power supply company.
This space was an interesting area as it started out as the outside of the older building and when a new administration building was put up, the area was converted into an atrium and staircase joining the two buildings together and adding access. At one point it was the main reception for the building which has now been removed and it has become and general access area.
On the day I photographed it was being used for a charity Christmas sale to the staff.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 16mm (35mm equivalent 24mm), aperture f22, speed 3.6 seconds, ISO 100, Fluorescent white balance, Spot metering, Tripod mounted camera, 11-16 mm lens,
I wanted to capture the slight claustrophobic feeling from behind the stairs where there is small amount of unused space; the stairway comes right into the space making it a dark spot in the building.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 15mm (35mm equivalent 22mm), aperture f22, speed 2 seconds, ISO 100, Auto white balance, Spot metering, Tripod Mounted camera, 11-16mm lens,
Here I show the atrium from the angle of entrance to the building and you can see that it joins the two buildings together. When I shot this image, it was still very dark in the morning.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 11mm (35mm equivalent 16mm), aperture f9.5, speed 1/20 second, ISO 640, Auto white balance, Spot metering, Hand held camera, 11-16mm lens,
I wanted to capture the lower area as it was being used for that day; I had noticed the shadows and light from the revolving door and wanted to capture the interplay of the light as it passed through the door.
As a space the atrium is obviously still evolving and it appeared to be in almost constant use especially in the morning. It succeeds as a stairway access and as a gathering point. I did find that it suffered from being either too dark or too bright as it is mainly glass, but overall it is a good use of space and the organisation is capitalising on the space by using it for multiple purposes.
I managed to gain access to a Turbine hall of a local power station. The area is a heavily walled building to protect the surrounding area from the noise and vibrations of the turbines when they are running. The turbines are steam driven and generate electricity as they spin; it is said that the edge of the blades spin faster than the speed of sound. The equipment around the space is to help the turbines function.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 11mm (35mm equivalent 16mm), aperture f9.5, speed 1/10 second, ISO 3200, Fluorescent white balance, Spot metering, Hand held camera, 11-16mm lens,
On entering the hall I was surprised by how large a space it was and how the space has been used to maximise the effectiveness and availability of the equipment. Every space was filled with walkways and pipes.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 16mm (35mm equivalent 24mm), aperture f4, speed 1/90 second, ISO 3200, Flash white balance, Spot metering, Hand held camera, 11-16mm lens,
Again I used high ISO as there was limited daylight and most of the available light was fluorescent or tungsten lamps. I chose flash white balance to try and compensate for the differences in light. I again chose the wide angle lens to emphasise the huge space of the turbine hall.
As a space, the turbine hall was designed for use and the way that everything has been designed around the turbines to maximise the space is very effective creating an impressive location and space.
University – Old Medical Building
This building was originally built as part of the university to provide access for medical students to the hospital next door. However the hospital is no longer there and the building has been partially converted into offices for other departments. This has created new spaces and has changed others as floors have been built into areas which were larger rooms or spaces.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 11mm (35mm equivalent 16mm), aperture f22, speed 18 seconds, ISO 100, Fluorescent white balance, Matrix metering, Tripod Mounted camera, 11-16mm lens,
This is a prime example of the newly created space, it can be clearly seen that the new space has been created around the structural supports of the building. The supports themselves are being used to display historical busts and statues of interest. It is a very effective use of the space, rather than creating walls around the supports they have kept the space open making it look like a larger and airier space than it really is.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 16mm (35mm equivalent 24mm), aperture f22, speed 14 seconds, ISO 100, Fluorescent white balance, Matrix metering, Tripod Mounted camera, 11-16mm lens,
Here the space is confusing, what appears to be a staircase and passageway is also a storage and display for books. I could not understand why it was fitted for this purpose and it did not feel right to have an area which is a passage way being used as display “library”.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 16mm (35mm equivalent 24mm), aperture f5.6, speed 1/15 second, ISO 640, Daylight white balance, Matrix metering, Hand Held camera, 11-16mm lens,
I was impressed to find that the original staircase was still in use and that it had not been changed. I was surprised to find that at the bottom of the stairwell a statue being displayed as I would not normally associate the bottom of a set of stairs as a display area, however it was a pleasant surprise and a good use of the space as it keeps the departmental concept together.
Chain Coffee Shop
This chain coffee shop was originally a bank which closed and moved premises; the building was taken over and converted into a coffee shop. From the outside the building had not changed much, it still had its heavy glass windows and large wooden door. The inside had change little, the coffee shop had arranged the serving area around the pillars of the bank which created a blocked space when customers interacted with the staff. The floor space was filled with a collection of stools, tables, chairs and sofas creating a comfortable space to sit and drink.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 18mm (35mm equivalent 27mm), aperture f6.7, speed 1/20 second, ISO 3200, Shade white balance, Matrix metering, Beanbag supported camera, 18-70mm lens,
I did see more than one customer try and squeeze themselves into the till space to have their order taken by the staff and I did not believe that it was an effective use of space.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 29mm (35mm equivalent 43mm), aperture f6.7, speed 1/350 second, ISO 3200, Shade white balance, Matrix metering, Hand held camera, 18-70mm lens,
The main source of light for the space was small lamps supplemented by the daylight coming in through the windows. I did find that the display running from below the windows right up to the door did not leave a lot of space and mainly channelled customers to the serving counter.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 27mm (35mm equivalent 40mm), aperture f6.7, speed 1/45 second, ISO 3200, Auto white balance, Matrix metering, Beanbag supported camera, 18-70mm lens,
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 70mm (35mm equivalent 105mm), aperture f4.5, speed 1/20 second, ISO 3200, Daylight white balance, Matrix metering, Hand held camera, 18-70mm lens,
In all, the coffee shop was a nice space and location, it was comfortable to sit and drink coffee, I did find the location of the serving counter a bit counter intuitive as removed a lot of central space from the room making the arrangement a tad squashed and not a great effective use of the overall space. I believe that it is more of a serve and go location rather than a stop and sit location.
This early Victorian Museum has undergone 3 years of refurbishment and transformation. The change has meant that the entrance is no longer directly from the street into the hall but now you enter the building from below the hall. The large entrance hall now a main area for display and exhibition, it is also used as the main gathering space and main transit area between the small exhibition halls and rooms.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 18mm (35mm equivalent 27mm), aperture f22, speed 1/7 second, ISO 100, Daylight white balance, Spot metering, Hand held camera, 18-70mm lens,
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 31mm (35mm equivalent 46mm), aperture f4, speed 1/90 second, ISO 3200,Auto white balance, Spot metering, Hand held camera, 18-70mm lens,
The galleries at the side of the hall have also changed purpose; previously the galleries were exhibition areas with lots of display cabinets.
One of the galleries to the side of the main hall has been turned into a study area, although it is just off the main hall it is a quiet and comfortable space which allows you to study items and information on the museum.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 31mm (35mm equivalent 46mm), aperture f13, speed 1/6 second, ISO 1000, Shade white balance, Matrix metering, Hand held camera, 18-70mm lens,
On the first floor gallery there is now a small cafe which overlooks the main hall. Previously the cafe was in the main hall itself and moving it out of the central hall space has freed up the hall floor space and created its own effective space while not being isolated from the main area.
Nikon D80, Aperture Mode Manual, focal length 38mm (35mm equivalent 57mm), aperture f13, speed 1/4 second, ISO 1000, Shade white balance, Matrix metering, Hand held camera, 18-70mm lens,
As a space which has changed quite a bit over my own lifetime I am happy to see that the hall has been returned to something similar to its original purpose and design, it is a very effective use of the space as previously the hall and galleries were cluttered and overfilled. Now they are pleasant spaces.
One of the main factors I have learned it my over reliance on a wide angle lens to capture space, I should experiment more with telephoto and normal lenses to achieve differing viewpoints.
I also failed in some areas of my research, for example I had heard the a train station had opened after refurbishment, rather than looking for images and information I turned up expecting the Victorian station to have a newer cleaner look, what I found was that the Victorian part of the station had been closed and boarded off and a new structure had been build beside it. The new structure was a glass and steel box which looked particularly unpleasant and unappealing to photograph.
This has been a challenging assignment not only due to my mobility problems but at times making arrangements for access was time consuming and on occasions meant false starts and wasted journeys. I also struggled at times to obtain linear access to building spaces which mean that I missed out on some good spaces as I was unable to access them.