A year of the best architecture from around the world

Iwan Baan's photographic global 'diary' exhibits 52 outstanding modern buildings - one for every week of the year
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Iwan Baan, Danish Pavilion designed by BIG: Bjarke Ingels Group (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

1 / 21 Iwan Baan, Danish Pavilion designed by BIG: Bjarke Ingels Group (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

Iwan Baan, UK Pavilion designed by Thomas Heatherwick (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

2 / 21 Iwan Baan, UK Pavilion designed by Thomas Heatherwick (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

3 / 21 Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

4 / 21 Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

5 / 21 Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

Iwan Baan, Centre Connaissances Universitaire, EPFL designed by SANAA (2010), Lausanne, Switzerland

6 / 21 Iwan Baan, Centre Connaissances Universitaire, EPFL designed by SANAA (2010), Lausanne, Switzerland

Iwan Baan, Opera House designed by Zaha Hadid (2010), Guangzhau, China

7 / 21 Iwan Baan, Opera House designed by Zaha Hadid (2010), Guangzhau, China

Iwan Baan, Knut Hamsun Museum designed by Steven Holl (2010), Hamaroy, Norway

8 / 21 Iwan Baan, Knut Hamsun Museum designed by Steven Holl (2010), Hamaroy, Norway

9 / 21

10 / 21

11 / 21

Iwan Baan, Library designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti (2010), Bogotá, Colombia

12 / 21 Iwan Baan, Library designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti (2010), Bogotá, Colombia

Iwan Baan, Library designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti (2010), Bogotá, Colombia

13 / 21 Iwan Baan, Library designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti (2010), Bogotá, Colombia

Iwan Baan, Buri Khalifa designed by SOM (2010), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

14 / 21 Iwan Baan, Buri Khalifa designed by SOM (2010), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Iwan Baan, De Young designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), San Francisco, USA

15 / 21 Iwan Baan, De Young designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), San Francisco, USA

Iwan Baan, Lincoln Center designed by Diller Scoficio & Renfro Architects (2010), New York, USA

16 / 21 Iwan Baan, Lincoln Center designed by Diller Scoficio & Renfro Architects (2010), New York, USA

17 / 21

Iwan Baan, Metro cable designed by Urban Think Tank (2010), Caracas, Venezuela

18 / 21 Iwan Baan, Metro cable designed by Urban Think Tank (2010), Caracas, Venezuela

Iwan Baan, Next Generation House designed by Sou Fujimoto (2010), Kumamura Villiage, Japan

19 / 21 Iwan Baan, Next Generation House designed by Sou Fujimoto (2010), Kumamura Villiage, Japan

Iwan Baan, House H designed by Sou Fujimoto (2010), Tokyo, Japan

20 / 21 Iwan Baan, House H designed by Sou Fujimoto (2010), Tokyo, Japan

Iwan Baan, Teshima Art Museum designed by Ryue Nishizawa (2010), Kagawa, Japan

21 / 21 Iwan Baan, Teshima Art Museum designed by Ryue Nishizawa (2010), Kagawa, Japan

Iwan Baan, Danish Pavilion designed by BIG: Bjarke Ingels Group (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

1 / 21 Iwan Baan, Danish Pavilion designed by BIG: Bjarke Ingels Group (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

Iwan Baan, UK Pavilion designed by Thomas Heatherwick (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

2 / 21 Iwan Baan, UK Pavilion designed by Thomas Heatherwick (2010), Shanghai Expo, China

Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

3 / 21 Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

4 / 21 Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

5 / 21 Iwan Baan, Olympic Stadium designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), Bejing, China

Iwan Baan, Centre Connaissances Universitaire, EPFL designed by SANAA (2010), Lausanne, Switzerland

6 / 21 Iwan Baan, Centre Connaissances Universitaire, EPFL designed by SANAA (2010), Lausanne, Switzerland

Iwan Baan, Opera House designed by Zaha Hadid (2010), Guangzhau, China

7 / 21 Iwan Baan, Opera House designed by Zaha Hadid (2010), Guangzhau, China

Iwan Baan, Knut Hamsun Museum designed by Steven Holl (2010), Hamaroy, Norway

8 / 21 Iwan Baan, Knut Hamsun Museum designed by Steven Holl (2010), Hamaroy, Norway

9 / 21

10 / 21

11 / 21

Iwan Baan, Library designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti (2010), Bogotá, Colombia

12 / 21 Iwan Baan, Library designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti (2010), Bogotá, Colombia

Iwan Baan, Library designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti (2010), Bogotá, Colombia

13 / 21 Iwan Baan, Library designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti (2010), Bogotá, Colombia

Iwan Baan, Buri Khalifa designed by SOM (2010), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

14 / 21 Iwan Baan, Buri Khalifa designed by SOM (2010), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Iwan Baan, De Young designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), San Francisco, USA

15 / 21 Iwan Baan, De Young designed by Herzog & De Meuron (2010), San Francisco, USA

Iwan Baan, Lincoln Center designed by Diller Scoficio & Renfro Architects (2010), New York, USA

16 / 21 Iwan Baan, Lincoln Center designed by Diller Scoficio & Renfro Architects (2010), New York, USA

17 / 21

Iwan Baan, Metro cable designed by Urban Think Tank (2010), Caracas, Venezuela

18 / 21 Iwan Baan, Metro cable designed by Urban Think Tank (2010), Caracas, Venezuela

Iwan Baan, Next Generation House designed by Sou Fujimoto (2010), Kumamura Villiage, Japan

19 / 21 Iwan Baan, Next Generation House designed by Sou Fujimoto (2010), Kumamura Villiage, Japan

Iwan Baan, House H designed by Sou Fujimoto (2010), Tokyo, Japan

20 / 21 Iwan Baan, House H designed by Sou Fujimoto (2010), Tokyo, Japan

Iwan Baan, Teshima Art Museum designed by Ryue Nishizawa (2010), Kagawa, Japan

21 / 21 Iwan Baan, Teshima Art Museum designed by Ryue Nishizawa (2010), Kagawa, Japan


Internationally acclaimed Dutch architectural photographer Iwan Baan is perpetually on the move. His 2010 photographic ‘diary’, currently exhibiting at the Villa Noailles (until 27 March) in southern France, is testament to his global nomadic life and comprises 52 commanding yet serene photographs of modern architecture in different cities, one for each week of the year. The exhibition has expanded to incorporate Baan’s recent images of the CCTV building in China.

Often chartering helicopters for aerial shots, Baan depicts from great heights how modern architecture can sit in harmony with its natural or urban surroundings. From Baan’s perspective the Ryue Nishizawa-designed Teshima Art Museum, perched on a hill, is as tranquil as the adjacent inland sea. Steven Holl’s Knut Hamsun museum in Norway is an alluring refuge amidst a Nordic winter snow scene at dusk. Equally Herzog & de Meuron’s Miami Beach offices and car park are in harmony with the concrete grid background, and even Burj Khalifa in Dubai has never seemed so at home nestled amongst Baan’s skyline.

Down on the ground Baan gets close to buildings and the people who use them, capturing a view of architecture away from the world of CGI renderings we normally expect to see from world leading architects’ offices. Instead he offers us a view of architecture in which people live symbiotically with contemporary buildings and where the architecture provides a stage for human inhabitation. From scenes of spectators in Herzog de Meuron’s Olympic stadium to views of MOMA PS1 as seen through the eyes of dancers, the architecture is never in the foreground, yet always present in the everyday habitation of the city, belonging to that city and to the people.

Delving further into placing the built environment in context, Baan has said that his interest lies in capturing how people interact with and inhabit buildings. The photographs resolutely reveal this interaction in a positive light: the buildings are luminous and are indeed places we would want to inhabit. No wonder then that Baan, who at 35 is a young yet rightful recipient of the Julius Shulman Photography Award, has been collaborating long-term with architects, including Zaha Hadid, SANAA and Rem Koolhaas who have been keen to commission his work.  

 

Rachel Borchard is a member of the Black Country Atelier


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