The 5 Best Architectural Photographs Taken This Year

The 5 Best Architectural Photographs Taken This Year

Earlier this week we reported on the photograph that won this year’s Arcaid Architectural Photography Award for 2014. But it was only one of five award-winning images chosen by the jury — and in some ways, the other entries are even more interesting than the overall winner.

Over the past decade or so, architectural photography has gotten harder and harder to tell apart from renderings. That’s thanks both to the fact that rendering software is getting more photoreal, but also thanks to a insidious trend amongst photographers, who look for that one, pristine “hero shot” that makes the structure look completely otherworldly. That’s nice, but it’s also unrealistic: Buildings have people in them. They get dirty. There’s not always a perfect lens flare peeking through the window.

But this year, Arcaid’s jury went in a different direction. They picked shots that are bustling with people, full of distractions, and otherwise just more true to life. It’s a nice change of pace from the glistening, empty photographs we’re used to. Check out the winner of each category — Exteriors, Interiors, Buildings In Use, and Sense of Place, which aims to capture a broader view of the site where a piece of design is placed — below.

Buildings In Use

This Barcelona flea market, which was designed by B720 Arquitectura, was the subject of the winner of the Buildings in Use category — photographed by Inigo Bujedo Aguirre.


Yet another Hufton + Crow photograph — of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center, again! — clinched the title for Exteriors.

Sense of Place

Legendary 81-year-old architect Alvaro Siza designed this outdoor swimming pool on the coast of Leca de Palmeira, Portugal — it was photographed by Joao Morgado.


This 80-story Dubai tower — which twists a total of 90 degrees on the way up — was photographed by Victor Romeo and designed by SOM.

Overall Winner

Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center is a controversial building — it’s been both lauded and lampooned over the last year in equal parts. This Hufton + Crow photo of its sinuous interior still managed to cinch the overall win for the year’s best architectural photograph.