All posts filed under: Architecture

After hosting the Eurovision in 2012 and the European Games in 2015 Baku acts as a picture postcard of the country's newfound prosperity, but also of its contrasts. The country is home to known energy reserves of around a billion barrels of oil and 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. But if until now Azerbaijan did not have to worry much about paying the bills – they do now. The slump in global oil prices has put a crimp in the country’s budget. 
Travellers are waiting for their bus near the Bulvar waterfront promenade which stretch 14 kilometers from Flag square to the city center. Baku, Azerbaijan

Behind the shiny new structures of modern Baku, Azerbaijan

BJP

French photographer Mathias Depardon first visited Baku in 2012, shooting human rights issues at the Nagorno Karabkh border, and describes the place as “Orwellian”. “I was fascinated by the effect the government had made to polish the city and make it look fast and modern,” he says. “It seems like they are trying to attract the attention elsewhere to make their reputation more respectful on the international scene.” Once Soviet, Azerbaijan became independent after a bloody conflict with Soviet troops in 1990; a repressive government took control and, when the country found prosperity via a huge contract with a European oil consortium, the wealth was not even distributed. More than 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and the global slump in oil prices is now poised to push living standards down still further. It’s also casting dark clouds over the ambitious infrastructure spending that has transformed the city scape, and which so struck Depardon. He’s visited Baku four times since 2012, taking a long-term approach to his project and fitting it …

2016-09-30T17:23:02+00:00

boy-on-balcony-east-building

Demolition: What lies behind the walls of the Brutalist landmark estate

For some, it is an iconic example of 1970s Brutalist architecture; for others, a big, ugly eyesore. “Whatever they think, there’s a huge sense of community here,” says photographer Kois Miah of Robin Hood Gardens, a housing estate comprised of two blocks containing 213 flats, soon to be demolished and replaced by a new build. In light of this, and because of the sheer volume of tenants that will have to be relocated – some against their will from the only home they have every known – local Miah and his friend and partner Nick Thoburn, together with the support of the campaign group SPLASH (South Poplar & Limehouse Action for Secure Housing) visited the affected families, and immortalised some of their last moments in the apartments in intimate portraits. “There has been a lot of talk about the Brutalist architecture, but I thought it might be quite interesting to get the residents’ perspective on living on that estate,” says Miah. “The thing about this project is that it’s really intimate – people invite you into their …

2016-09-21T12:03:48+00:00

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 16.55.37

BJP Breakthrough 2016: Presenting the Single Image runners-up

SAM IVIN What does it mean to be an asylum seeker in the UK? The question first struck Sam Ivin in 2013, after seeing news reports of a high volume of asylum applications and a UK border agency struggling to get a handle on the situation. A Documentary Photography student at University of South Wales, Newport at the time, he decided to visit drop-in centres and actually get up-close with the human beings behind the headlines. The resulting series, Lingering Ghosts, published by Fabrica earlier this year, gives a visceral insight into the inner lives of the dispossessed. The series has recently been exhibited at Athens Photo Festival, will be shown at Rome’s Galleria del Cembalo in September and features in our next issue of BJP, which focuses on photographic responses to migration. Ivin would listen to their stories, take their portrait and then radically intervene in the image – defacing the photograph with a Stanley knife and sandpaper, evoking their sense of loss, confusion and dislocation. His portrait [above], taken in a South London drop-in centre for …

2016-07-21T11:50:07+00:00

160524101856-louvre-jr-3-super-169

JR makes The Louvre invisible

Chinese architect IM Pei’s glass entrance, first unveiled in 1989, was seen by Parisians, at first, as a tacky, unwanted gimmick, unworthy of the home of the Mona Lisa. Now, 27 years later, The Louvre’s transparent Pyramid is indivisible with one of Paris’ most iconic landmarks. So what better target for the photographic iconoclast JR. The 33-year-old started out as a graffiti artist from the Banlieues – he grew up in Les Bosquets, the son of an Arabic man and French woman. His public artwork is now very quickly becoming rather iconic in itself. For some ten years now, the artist’s photographic collages have been appearing on the walls of cities all over the world. He covered the wall that separates Israeli and Palestinian communities with hundreds of portraits  – Palestinians on the Israeli side, Israelis on the Palestinian side. The intended result was both obvious and, nevertheless, deeply powerful, for no-one could tell the difference between the two sides. He covered Paris’ Pantheon with images of the city’s street-level people. One of the city’s grandest, most ornate people, covered with the expressions of …

2016-06-02T14:02:13+00:00

blokovi-lola-paprocka-12

Photographing Modern Belgrade

Belgrade was once two cities. But after the Second World War, the marshy ground between the Danube and its tributary, the Sava was sanitised and the bridging area of Novi Beograd (New Belgrade) grew. Thus, its neighbour, Zemun, was co-opted into the new giant, and the city that we now know as Belgrade took shape. As such, the city became the physical and philosophical manifestation of the new Yugoslavian republic: A landmass with questionable topographical ties, brought together by a compelling political agenda. A big gesture was required –  not just to house the thousands of displaced citizens – but to give them a future, a future that they owned. Nearly 70 years later, Yugoslavia is history. It’s a memory of a failed state subject to hot headed hagiographies, triumphalist Western obloquies, or – perhaps most fairly – a subject of confusion, remembered by survivors of increasingly forgotten wars. People of my generation know Yugoslavia as a symbol of the postwar Soviet land grab; an oppressive social experiment that deserved to go down in flames. …

2016-05-16T14:44:23+00:00

Sun Tunnels
1973-76

Site:
The Great Basin Desert in Northwestern Utah, about 4 miles southwest of Lucin (pop. 10) and 9 miles east of the Nevada border.

Dimensions:
Total length: 86 ft.
Tunnel length: 18 ft.
Tunnel diameters outside: 9 ft. 2-1/2 in.
Tunnel diameters inside: 8 ft.
Wall thickness: 7 1/2 in.

Orientation:
The tunnels are aligned with the sun on the horizon (the sunrises and sunsets) on the solstices.

Each tunnel has a different configuration of holes 
corresponding to stars in four constellations: 
Draco, Perseus, Columba, Capricorn

Troublemakers: How renegade New York artists pioneered land art

Art historian and film director, James Crump, reclines on a plush, crimson sofa, which appropriately compliments s backdrop of a fiery red image of land artist, Robert Smithson’s, Spiral Getty (1970). It is the devilish poster for Crump’s new film Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art. The documentary honours four pioneering figures of the earthworks movement in the 1960s and 70s; Michael Heizer, Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson and his wife, Nancy Holt. The group are bound by their desire to make art that surpassed traditional painting and sculpture and their ambition to construct installations that encapsulated both history and modern science. They rejected the containment of the art gallery as an exhibition space, seeking a much larger canvas to work upon. “The phrase Troublemakers comes out of my interview with Germano Celant,” says Crump of the  renowned art historian interviewed in the film. “They were stirring up trouble, they were stirring up things and they were challenging traditional norms. I think the word ‘troublemaker’ is another phrase for taking up a critical position on what’s going …

2016-05-12T13:51:41+00:00

Samuel Bourne - 'Ladies in Kashmir', India, c. 1865, Albumen print

Early British Colonial Travellers Show Earliest Images of India

The first half of the 19th-century was a tipping point for British imperial presence in the Indian subcontinent. No longer preoccupied with the chase of conquest, the focus had moved to colonial rule. This led to the opportunity for increased geographical and cultural exploration, and with it scope for understanding the diverse landscapes, languages, buildings and religions of India in greater depth. It is this context that Tripe, Murray, Bourne: Photographic Journeys in India 1855-1870, an exhibition of rare prints on display at Prahlad Bubbar’s Mayfair gallery, brings to life. “The journey is what ties these photographers together,” Bubbar says. “Tripe, Murray and Bourne…the greatest British photographers working out of India in the 19th century.” The significance of this period in photographic history is difficult to overstate. With the camera arriving in India in 1839, shortly after its invention, the sheer technical ability required – aeons away from the simple touch of a smartphone screen – made travel photography a grueling practice. “Can you imagine? It’s forty degrees, it’s raining, you’re up in the mountains. …

2016-05-09T15:10:35+00:00

The Vanishing Architecture of the Wildwood Motels in New Jersey

Through a rare combination of economics, geography and chance, the island of Wildwood contains a national treasure: the highest concentration of mid-century modern hospitality architecture in the United States. In a new photobook published by Booth Clibborn-Editions this June, Havens, a professor in industrial design at Philadelphia University, photographs the kitsch and nostalgic aesthetic of Wildwood’s unique modernist architecture. Built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Wildwood’s motels were developed in anticipation of the arrival of the Garden State Parkway, a four-lane toll road that would ultimately run the length of New Jersey, bringing with it a flurry of tourists from the surrounding states. Talking to The New York Times, Havens said: “The hotels were the backdrop of my summer. We would always pile in the car and drive around and look at all the hotels in the same way families drive around and look at Christmas lights at holiday season. Once they started to disappear, I realised just how much I took them for granted.” Entitled Out of Season: The Vanishing Architecture of the Wildwoods, …

2016-04-26T16:44:29+00:00

BJP Staff