One Photo Challenge 2021: The 100 Finalists (Part 2)

These incredible photographs capture key aspects of architecture and life in civilizations around the world.

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Explore a further 25 extraordinary architectural photographs, each one a Finalist in the 2021 One Photo Challenge. Let us know which are your favorites on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #OnePhotoChallenge!

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“Circling the Fortress” by Robin Quarrelle

Robin Quarrelle Photography

“Station areas of a city are often, industrial, gritty, fragmented and sometimes run down. So, in Lausanne, Switzerland, it seemed fitting to have such a fortress like structure to hold such fine and delicate pieces of art as those in the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, by Barozzi Veiga. As you approach the building it seems impenetrable, a solid rock which gives nothing up — almost monolithic in feeling.

As you walk around to the front of the building, as the person in this photo is about to do, the entrance ways reveal themselves and life from within is hinted at through narrow high windows placed amongst the rigid facade which runs the length of the building, glimpsing at the treasures and fineries inside.”

Camera: Sony

“Six Buildings” by Demétrio Jereissati

“Fortaleza is a big coastal city in northeastern Brazil.
People try to live near the beach, if possible with a view of the sea.
Here, we see six buildings that we can barely distinguish from one another.”

Camera: Leica

“Washing Turrell” by Luis Ayala

Ayala Vargas Photography

“I was on assignment to photograph a building at Rice University. Walking towards the building, I saw a guy on a boom lift working on Turrell’s piece. I looked at him and thought, what is he doing?
Afraid that I will lose the Kodak moment, I slowly unpacked the gear. It took so long that at one moment, the guy working looked at me and thought, what is He doing? Set my tripod at 8 feet, grabbed a ladder, tried different lenses. Finally, the 45mm tilt shift did the trick.

I shifted the lens all the way up and noticed that the flat horizontal roof suddenly looked like a vertical plane. I played with the position of the boom as if it is indicating the center of the composition. Then the worker cleaned the roof with a water hose. The sun behind him made the water splash explode with light.”

Camera: Nikon

“Park, Shop, Eat, Pose” by Peter Kubilus

Kubilus Architectural Photo

“Why not take a multistory parking structure and make it multi-purpose? This parking garage not only has a place for cars to congregate, but people as well. Set in the heart of South Beach, you can park your car, and go shopping on your way to shopping on Lincoln Rd. Starchitecture has played an important roll in modernizing Miami and is an absolute must for any new building. Highly fashionable and energized lifestyles must be present in every aspect of Miami life. This could just appear as a stack of concrete slabs to most, but in Miami this is a destination and one of the first of many new high profile buildings.”

Camera: Canon

“Forest Dogma” by Philippe Sarfati

Philippe Sarfati

“Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale showed the world that we can sustain fully grown trees on high-rise buildings. The towers define their entire neighborhood, giving the image of a pleasant, and sustainable place for the milanese people. Visible from the entire city, they were reported so massively in the press that they renewed the general public’s faith in sustainable architecture.

They also marked the start of a trend – more and more competitions and clients now demand from architects to ‘put more green’ onto their projects, as it simply makes operations more friendly and popular today. These initiatives are launched regardless of an important parameter – if local climates can support vegetation passively, or not. To maintain a lush appearance throughout the year, in climates that aren’t tropical, architects and engineers often must use complex irrigation systems, which require constant maintenance. Can projects based on such systems be considered truly sustainable?”

Camera: Fujifilm SLR

“Echo” by Philippe Sarfati

Philippe Sarfati

“Architecture and art – Tadao Ando’s gallery in dialogue with Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ provocative and autobiographic installation. To enter the minimalistic space, it is necessary to go through the precious and dramatic curtain of red and white beads. The installation represents a week of progression of HIV in the bloodstream, inducing contradictory emotions, between fascination, empathy, and awe.”

Camera: Fujifilm SLR

“Eleanor Boathouse” by Tom Harris

Tom Harris Architectural Photography

“At Studio Gang’s Eleanor Boathouse on opening day, after Chicago’s mayor cut the ribbon and the public left, the project architect and I stayed behind to make a few more photographs of the building as it began to snow. Here she is, reflecting quietly on her work as the world around faded away, leaving her alone with her building in an unexpected November storm.”

Camera: Canon

“Two Workers, a Building, and the Mississippi” by Wayne Reckard

The Kubala Washatko Architects

“The story of architecture is about more than a completed building. There is hidden life and history. Each structure begins as an idea. The idea takes form through dialogue between architect and client. Completing the building is a story unto itself, involving teamwork, skill, and human hands.

As Director of Marketing for a Midwestern architectural firm I often visit construction sites to document activity. Here, members of the C.D. Smith Construction team lift a rooftop cross laminated timber (CLT) panel into place for a new office building overlooking the Mississippi River in Winona, Minnesota. Spanning several weeks this series of CLT lifts is highly choreographed, each truck transporting wood panels must arrive on a prescribed date and time. All construction progress depends on this schedule; a delay with a single lift delays the entire project. On the day of the final lift a heavy winter snowstorm set in.”

Camera: Fujifilm SLR

“Hola neighbors” by Marcus Cederberg

Spir-IT Konsult AB

“This interesting apartment complex is situated just outside Malmö in Sweden, the living and vibrant facade with its large amount of windows really caught my eye. Can you spot the “Hola” sign in one of the windows ?”

Camera: Canon

“Angel in the White City” by Vahid Vahdat

Washington State University – School of Design & Construction

“Only when it rains, do the angels wake up into the cloudy dream of their silent cities. The guardian angel and her old but towering spirits incarnated into old but spirited towers take another peek at their beloved Chicago before time melts and crowds pour onto the sidewalks of everyday life, without ever noticing that only when the rain stops, do the angels weep in their silent sleep.”

Camera: iPhone

“Float” by Jeff Durkin

Breadtruck Films

“This was snapped on a graduation day on the University of California Campus, San Diego. Because of COVID the actual graduation had been cancelled, but families and friends where bringing balloons, banners and other ways to celebrate to campus for photos. This little girl was walking around the building watching the balloons float and laughing so I set up my camera and snapped a few photos…She kept going for over 30mins so I was able to get in the right position and line up a powerful composition of light, shadow, and color against the crisp white modern design. I shot a bunch of photos but this one of her all alone was a metaphor for the lonely feeling of a closed college campus on graduation day.”

Camera: Canon

“Urban Sahara” by Spencer Huang

Highlite Images

“This photo was taken on top of the roof of a newly established facility which belongs to the Beijing Institute of Technology in Beijing. (BIT Sports Center by Atelier Alter)

The scene of a massive undulating roof spanning across such vast area against a hazy background of high rise buildings in distance makes one feel as if he/she is standing amongst the sand dunes in the middle of a desert overlooking the urban mirage yonder.

This building type is a sports center serving to enrolled university students on campus. It houses a large sports hall (convertible to basketball, tennis, and badminton applications) with hundreds of audience seats, an indoor swimming pool, table tennis halls, weight training rooms, gymnastics rooms, and many other multifunctional spaces for various indoor sports activities.”

Camera: Sony

“Light and Reflection” by Kingsley Boateng

“The Gherkin is arguably the most consequential addition to London’s skyline in the last two decades. Primarily its prominence derives from the elongated curvature of the tower and it’s rounded end reminiscent of a stretched egg. Moreover, the Gherkin is also strikingly impactful at ground level not only because of its prominence but the importance of its utility. Not only does the high vaulted ground floor serve as an entrance to the building it also used by the public as a covered backdrop to the adjoining square.

This second function is captured in the image. The lighting from the ground floor powerfully highlights the people walking their dog. The composition is further enhanced by the reflection of their shadows on the rain-drenched pavement. This is a deft use of lighting to demonstrate human scale at ground level of a large landmark building.”

Camera: iPhone

“habitat” by Manolo Langis

Lango Works

“Habitat 67 by Moshe Safdie – This project always fascinated me. It was Safdie’s McGill School of architecture thesis project that ended up getting build for the Montreal world expo 67. As a architectural graduate myself, I am amazed how forward thinking this project was for its time, how this amazing project came out from a student ‘s mind, and how it relevant it still is after more than 50 years. This is the most influential project of my architectural and photography career.”

Camera: Canon

“A normal workday” by Mengqi Xu


“I took this CTA station photo on my way home from work on the Winter Solstice Day in 2019 in Chicago Adams/Wabash station. The weather was freezing and passengers gathered together in the “warm lamp room”. Providentially on that day, the lighting color in Wills Tower in the background was cold blue same as the color of the ADA paving in the foreground.

The “warm lamp room” in the center was golden and in the center of the crowd in the room was a lady with an orange scarf. The contrast of the cold blue and warm gold the cold nature and the warm architecture space impressed me a lot. But at that time I took it for granted. Soon in that winter, the pandemic came and I worked from home for nearly one year from then now. Ironically, this photo was the only memory of my normal workday.”

Camera: iPhone

“The Big Orange – Closed” by Thomas Huntingford

The University of Melbourne

“The Big Orange outside of Berri, designed by Adelaide architect John Twopenny and completed in 1980, is an oversized ruin. One of Australia’s ‘Big Things,’ the Orange was a kitsch conversation starter, photo-opportunity and souvenir generator for passing motorists. Now it tells a different story, it’s site permeated with orange Gazania flowers, an invasive weed, it speaks to decline. Decline of the local citrus industry, ripped up and replaced by grapes. Decline of a landscape; the Murray river and its banks on which the orange sits, and the decline of rural Australia and its importance to us as a nation. No longer a source of local pride and identity the Big Orange appears small from the road, the barbed wire fences concealing its enormous 15m diameter.”

Camera: Sony

“Building Na Trang” by Salina Kassam


“Building infrastructure in Vietnam.

Age old techniques and human labour still dominate construction in Vietnam. In the scorching heat, with little or outdated machinery, men work on rebar and concrete to construct what will become a bridge for local traffic near Dha Nang. It is transforming. From a pristine coast it will develop into a dense modern tourist destination.”

Camera: Canon

“A Broad View of Love and Harmony” by geoff seaman

“Walking by a “window” at the BROAD museum, I noticed a couple across the way on a terrace of the Disney Hall and thought how wonderful a scene. This one of a series that I took of them as they walked with a love harmony, framed by a unique window in time.”

Camera: Canon

“Greenhouse Sky” by Derek Wasylyshen

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

“The Netherlands is one of the world’s largest horticultural exporters, due to various innovations regarding technology and architecture. The Dutch have become the world’s number two exporter for agriculture and food production, sitting only behind the United States. Having less then 270 times the landmass as America, a big part of their success has to do with their large-scale greenhouse infrastructure and the ability to maintain favorable conditions for their crops all year around.

This photo was taken at approximately 2:42am, right after a typical Dutch rainfall in the fall season. The post-rain scenario creates a large amount of humidity in the air with the combination of low stratocumulus clouds, refracting the yellow light produced from the greenhouses. The idea of the image was to showcase a common piece of architecture – such as a gas station, and illustrate the unworldly effects that greenhouse infrastructure can produce under favorable conditions.”

Camera: iPhone

“Do not trust in…” by Agnieszka Dolnicka

“Tulou Earth Buildings of Fujian Province in China were inhabited by Hakka People continiously for more than 700 years. As new generations move to cities, remaining inhabitants witness their home turning into a tourist attraction.”

Camera: Nikon

“Between Friends” by Chan Rin

“This was captured outside of the Calgary Central Library. For modern-day public libraries, I believe one of the main things that come to any architect’s or designer’s minds when conceptualizing the space is for it to be inclusive and for its guests to experience the space. The building’s purpose is meant to extend way beyond stopping by and picking up a few books.

They want the building to facilitate learning, staying and reading the books that are within its walls, a place to socialize with others from the community. In other words, a place to not only connect with the books, but with each other. In order to achieve this, those designing the space need to make it conducive to doing so. This photo perfectly depicts 3 friends experiencing the space through the social aspect lens as it was designed to do because the library facilitates that opportunity.”

Camera: Nikon

“Superhero” by Giorgio Marafioti

Giorgio Marafioti Photography

NOVAZZANO RESIDENTIAL COMPLEX Built by architect Mario Botta between 1989 and 1992 (Switzerland)

“In the superhero genre, the settings refer to the atmospheres of the big metropolises in continuous evolution suspended between past, present and future. What if scenario were different? And if our superhero lived in a small suburban town in Switzerland? What dangers would he be exposed to in this small reality?

We live in a society increasingly marked by the loss of traditional values, by a sense of bewilderment, by being closed in on itself. The world needs superheroes because their exploits help us overcome our greatest fears, by feeding our greatest hopes.”

Camera: Canon

“Condescending” by Arman Nasr

“New Haven Police Department. A building with no to little windows, and elevated terraces that only represent looking down on people. I took this photo in one of the key moments of 2020 in US. During the peak of the pandemic when everyone was told to stay at home, there were still people that saw the death of innocent and suppressed people important enough to gather for the black lives matter movement in front of the police station. And yet we see the crudeness of the this architecture separating the men of law from the people.

Maybe it is finally time to rethink our approach towards buildings that represent the lawfulness of a country. Lawfulness does not mean separating the people from the law. Lawfulness should not mean a condescending look at a specific group of people.”

Camera: Samsung Galaxy

“Shanghai Undressed” by Justin Szeremeta

StudioSZ Photo

“Shanghai is known for its glitz and glamor – a showpiece city exemplifying China’s thriving economy and emergence as a global superpower. Its iconic skyline defines the city internationally, but unfortunately, the depth of Shanghai’s urban charm is oftentimes overlooked by those who have never been lucky enough to live here. Through this single image, I wanted to find a way to celebrate Shanghai’s ever-changing skyline, while unmasking her perceived opulence, to lay her bare – unearthing the diversity one finds in the more uncharted corners of her urban environment. ‘Shanghai Undressed’ reveals the city’s most iconic skyscrapers as dynamic urban actors, each making their presence felt far and wide across the boundless metropolis. The image juxtaposes two of the city’s tallest buildings with scenes from everyday life in Shanghai, highlighting how these high-rises serve as points of orientation for residents, anchoring their position within this vast, oftentimes chaotic city.”

Camera: Sony

“Social Bathing” by Derek Wasylyshen

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

“The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath located in Budapest is one of the largest and most popular baths in Central Europe. Its Neo-baroque architecture first transpired from Roman settlers, only to eventually be revived by Turkish occupants in the 19th and 20th centuries. The city of Budapest quickly became renowned for its large-scale social bathing facilities where many can be found and used for a wide variety of purposes.

This photo was taken from a birds-eye perspective to better perceive the human interaction that occurs within the walls of the architecture. As the program of these pools were derived from the ancient Romans, a lot of the same ideologies still transpires within its waters. Even today, people use the baths to engage in business transactions, to discuss and exchange bureaucratic strategies, while some use them to simply relax, to lounge, to sit, and even to play.”

Camera: Other

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Read more articles by Architizer

One Photo Challenge 2021: The 100 Finalists (Part 3)

These incredible photographs capture key aspects of architecture and life in civilizations around th e world.

One Photo Challenge 2021: The 100 Finalists (Part 4)

These incredible photographs capture key aspects of architecture and life in civilizations around th e world.