Seeing White: Through the Frosty Lens of Architectural Photographer Iwan Baan

Why white? Perhaps like a blank canvas, white could serve as a perfect primer for Iwan Baan's photography, making special notice for the surroundings that the structure relates with.

People seem to glow along the white background the building provides, perfectly capturing the moments spent in contact with the building and bringing focus as to how it coincides with the community. The mono-color (or lack thereof) also strips away any sort of distractions that a variety would bring, persuading the eye to focus on the structure. Baan can benefit most from this, as he can pick out the perfect angles for showing off design (even if it means taking pictures from a high flying, open door helicopter). And so here we present the best of white architecture through the frosty lense of Iwan Baan.

Baan's affinity for white is apparent.  From Japan's three shelled House N by Sou Fujimoto to The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, he has presented designs that exhibit the clean, icy white like no other. As beautiful as the buildings  themselves are, they also include a diverse collection of people in action as to showcase the way the environment relates with the world. It also offers the observer a chance to contextualize the structure, imagining themselves among the gently curving snow colored walls.

It's no surprise that Baan has risen to the pinnacle of his field. Despite dropping out from the Royal Academy of Architecture, the Hague, for their contrasting views on the use of digital photography (Baan in favor, of course), he still kept true to his childhood inspirations and continued as a documentary photographer. It wasn't until he met Rem Koolhaas that he was inspired to return to his love of architecture. Since then, he's been sort of a nomad, living out of his suitcase and traversing the planet for that which inspires him, be it big name architects like Herzog & deMeuron or the unfinished Torre David that has functioned as an entire community for the people that have occupied it.

As one of the most widely published architectural photographers of our time, Iwan Baan has had a penchant for challenging the formal methods of the art. Known for capturing people within the frame of his photos, which is something usually unheard of in the medium,  he prefers to create a narrative that gives further context to the structure. He avoids the classic school of thought that favors  isolated, picture perfect buildings and instead embodies something closer to street art, focusing on the context of the structure within its vicinity.

1. House N by Sou Fujimoto Architects in Oita, Japan 

2. House H by Sou Fujimoto Architects in Tokyo, Japan

3. Haus am Weinberg by UNstudio in Stuttgart, Germany

4. Danish Pavilion by BIG in Shanghai, China

5. Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid Architects in Azerbaijan

6. MAXXI Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects in Rome, Italy

7. Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid Architects in Azerbaijan

8. Danish Pavilion by BIG in Shanghai, China 

9. 3.1 Phillip Lim by Leong Leong Architecture in Seol, South Korea

10. Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid

11. Vitrahaus by Herzog & de Meuron in Weil am Rhein, Germany

Photography by Iwan Baan 

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