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2024 Sony World Photography Awards: Architecture and design

2024 Sony World Photography Awards: Architecture and design
The corridors on both sides of the building connect to a stairway that zig-zags from the ground to the uppermost units. The open stairway is not protected from rain or sun. This seven-floor residential haven was built in the heart of Kuala Lumpur in 1962, by the famed architectural firm T.Y. Lee and Sons. Named Blue Boy Mansion, it was the epitome of wealth and success. In stark contrast to sterile modern structures, the building encourages interactions between its residents, with an open design that enhances the coexistence of people and living spaces. These images reveal the quotidian moments of the people living there and their environment, which harks back to an era that has stood the test of time. Blue Boy Mansion may be a shadow of its former glory, but its rich nostalgic design has a continued presence in contemporary Kuala Lumpur. Image: © Nick Ng, Malaysia, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

The Sony World Photography Awards returns to celebrate contemporary photography and the ways the arts reflect the world around us. Here is a selection of the images from the Professional competition in the architecture and design category, with Siobhán Doran (Ireland), Yaser Mohamad Khani (Islamic Republic of Iran) and Karol Pałka (Poland) as finalists.

‘Sala Mayor, Gaston Ancestral House, Philippines’. This series is part of a book project, Houses that Sugar Built: An Intimate Portrait of Philippine Ancestral Homes, for which I was granted access to these historic mansions. I largely set about photographing the houses against a spoken ‘backdrop’, as my colleague interviewed the owner or custodian, but sometimes worked in complete silence. The sala mayor (main living room) typically showcases the character of the architecture and the lifestyle of the people, but also leaves room for the viewer’s interpretation of these unique residences. Image: © Siobhán Doran, Ireland, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Sala Mayor, Bernardino Jalandoni Museum, Philippines’. Image: © Siobhán Doran, Ireland, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

In recent years, due to population growth and lack of sufficient housing, the towns near Tehran have been crowded and people have to migrate here. Image: © Yaser Mohamad Khani, Iran, Islamic Republic Of, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

In recent years, due to population growth and lack of sufficient housing, the towns near Tehran have been crowded and people have to migrate here. Image: © Yaser Mohamad Khani, Iran, Islamic Republic Of, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Spa Island’. A spa of international importance in Slovakia. Although it is small in size, the country of Slovakia is rich in springs of natural healing water. Spa culture has been a part of the Slovakian lifestyle for hundreds of years, and has become part of a secular ritual for some. In 1947 a special balneological congress decided to divide the approximately 50 Slovak spa localities into three categories of importance: international importance, national importance and local importance. This project examines the ways in which the architecture of spas allows those establishments to be spaces of ritual and community. Image: © Karol Palka, Poland, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

A spa of national importance in Slovakia. Although it is small in size, the country of Slovakia is rich in springs of natural healing water. Image: © Karol Palka, Poland, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

Each unit opens onto the shared corridor. Blue Boy Mansion is just a stone’s throw away from Kuala Lumpur’s more contemporary high-rise buildings, which can be seen in the background. Named Blue Boy Mansion, it was the epitome of wealth and success. In stark contrast to sterile modern structures, the building encourages interactions between its residents, with an open design that enhances the coexistence of people and living spaces. These images reveal the quotidian moments of the people living there and their environment, which harks back to an era that has stood the test of time. Blue Boy Mansion may be a shadow of its former glory, but its rich nostalgic design has a continued presence in contemporary Kuala Lumpur.Image: © Nick Ng, Malaysia, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

The old Movieland Cinema is still in operation today. ‘Fading Prairie’ is a series documenting the vanishing man-made structures of the Canadian Prairies. I have been travelling and photographing the prairies for more than 15 years, and every year an increasing number of buildings become abandoned, fall into disrepair and ultimately vanish completely. With them, a part of the local history also disappears. Image: © Marc Koegel, Canada, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

An old grain elevator with birds nesting in it. ‘Fading Prairie’ is a series documenting the vanishing man-made structures of the Canadian Prairies. I have been travelling and photographing the prairies for more than 15 years, and every year an increasing number of buildings become abandoned, fall into disrepair and ultimately vanish completely. With them, a part of the local history also disappears. Image: © Marc Koegel, Canada, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Monte Rosa Hut’. “Monte Rosa Hut is a high-altitude shelter designed by architect Andrea Deplazes, on a glacier in Switzerland. You have to hike over a mountain and cross the glacier to reach this remote building. My assistant had to keep running up and down the stairs in the building to keep the interior lights on, while I was controlling the camera and drone from outside. ‘Enlighten’ presents modern alpine architecture as surreal man-made sculptures in the rough terrain of high-altitude mountain areas. These photographs form part of a larger set of images, which I took over the course of 10 days, exploring contemporary building designs in remote mountain areas of the European Alps. My assistant and I had to climb to our chosen location every day, stay awake until late at night to capture the image and then descend in the morning to get to the next mountain. Every image was captured under the Milky Way, in the middle of the night, using a medium format camera. The buildings were lit by an LED light that I attached to a drone, with the resulting top lighting giving the structures an otherworldly feeling.” Image: © Albrecht Voss, Germany, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Bivak pod Skuto’. “Bivak pod Skuto is an emergency shelter designed by OFIS architects. Located in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, the shelter gives hikers a place to rest when the weather conditions get too dangerous in the mountains.  Image: © Albrecht Voss, Germany, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Slovenský Rozhlas’. The interior of the Slovak Radio building is preserved in very good condition, and a few years ago it was declared a national historic monument. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, modernist buildings are far more likely to receive protection than they are in neighbouring countries. This photographic series presents modernist interiors in former Czechoslovakia, capturing the unique heritage of the communist era, which is preserved in the Czech Republic and Slovakia better than anywhere else. The photographs were taken during six trips to both countries, and involved both careful planned and accidentally discovered locations. The series includes several dozen locations, each reflecting the cultural tendency of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic and Slovakia to preserve the original appearance of the interiors. These interiors are saturated with nuances related to space-age architecture, the space race and the Cold War. They reflect the authentic atmosphere of the era, preserving details such as the original furniture, decorations and colours, despite the passage of time. Together they create a unique image of the area’s modernist heritage, which is a testimony to the historical and cultural richness of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Image: © Maciej Czarnecki, Poland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Hotel Sputnik’. A former hotel of the communist youth club. Today it operates on a commercial basis, but is unable to compete with modern hotels. However, it has retained its amazing, cosmic bar room, which is like a set from a Stanley Kubrick film. Image: © Maciej Czarnecki, Poland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

An example of how light and colour interact. There is no stained glass in the chapel, only channels through the thick concrete walls that allow the light in. The colour is generated by painting the inside of these channels to give the effect of stained glass. In 1986, the convent of La Tourette in Éveux, by the great architect Le Corbusier, was elected the second most important contemporary building in France. The convent was built between 1953 and 1960 and is the last major work of the architect in France, making it a must-see building for architecture lovers. I visited in the heat of summer and was immediately transfixed with its presence in the landscape. Jutting from the hillside, its views spread over the valley and provide the inhabitants with a connection to the land that they dwell in. Outside the building are woodlands and meadows with nature’s soft design, but within the building all I could see was Corbusier’s obsession with formality and shape. It was a fantastic building to photograph and my aim was to show the viewer how it felt as you navigated its channels and spaces. Image: © Joseph Horton, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

A wide view of the canteen, showcasing the raw design of the building. In 1986, the convent of La Tourette in Éveux, by the great architect Le Corbusier, was elected the second most important contemporary building in France. The convent was built between 1953 and 1960 and is the last major work of the architect in France, making it a must-see building for architecture lovers. I visited in the heat of summer and was immediately transfixed with its presence in the landscape. Jutting from the hillside, its views spread over the valley and provide the inhabitants with a connection to the land that they dwell in. Outside the building are woodlands and meadows with nature’s soft design, but within the building all I could see was Corbusier’s obsession with formality and shape. It was a fantastic building to photograph and my aim was to show the viewer how it felt as you navigated its channels and spaces. Image: © Joseph Horton, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Turf Houses’. Houses for drying meat in Saksun village. Turf houses are typical of many Nordic countries, including the Faroe Islands where this series was photographed. They have special roofs covered with grass to isolate them from the bad weather, which can make them seem like gnomes’ houses, sprouting from the ground. Although most modern houses tend to prefer other types of roofing materials, turf roofs are still used today and there is a rekindled interest due to their ecological approach to thermal isolation. As the Faroe Islands don’t have any trees, these grass houses feel integrated into the landscape. Image: © Francesco Amorosino, Italy, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Turf Houses’. House in Saksun village. Turf houses are typical of many Nordic countries, including the Faroe Islands where this series was photographed. Image: © Francesco Amorosino, Italy, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Ærø’. This photograph was taken on Ærø island in November, during the first minutes of sunrise. “For this series, I captured the tranquil beauty of five beach cottages on Denmark’s picturesque Ærø island, as they were bathed in gentle morning light. As each of these coastal treasures awakened in the Scandinavian sunrise it revealed its individual style and charm; the photographs encapsulate their allure as they blend gracefully with the breaking day.” Image: © Julia Mustonen-Dahlkvist, Finland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Ærø’. This photograph was taken on Ærø island in November, during the first minutes of sunrise. Image: © Julia Mustonen-Dahlkvist, Finland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

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