Architecture Photography as a Means of Linking Cultures

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Observing different countries in the world reveals vital scenic uniqueness, which aids in the description of particular natives from a region. Architecture photography is an influential part of art, which helps in the conveyance of imperative images that facilitates the elimination of bad stereotypes regarding countries and thus building bridges or linkages. For instance, showing Africans as living in simple mud-houses may superficially show incivility and the perceived retrogression (Frampton &Yukio 132). However, it is only after considering their way of life, security, family, and many other factors when an individual can make an objective conclusion regarding them. Architecture photography is essential in enabling visualization of house designs in natural setting and appreciating them. It reconciles modern building styles with traditional designs and recognizes changing factors like security, demographics, cultures, climate and many other issues, which contribute to different designs.


For the time immemorial, art has predominantly overshadowed other human endeavors especially in the conveyance of rich history to subsequent generations. With the advent of photography, more enticing and valuable scenery or images can be stored and conveyed through taking photos. The invention of cameras has led to the emergence of the architecture photography, which can link cultures, nations, and regions making bridges between different countries. This research investigates architecture photography as a means of connecting nations with a critical focus on the culture as portrayed by varying building designs. This paper focuses on how Architecture photography art can link the European and the Middle East cultures. The two regions have very different cultures. Christianity dictates one while the other is characterized majorly by Islamic religion which contributes heavily to the culture (Al Saeed &Raffaello, 172). The research narrows down to Qatar as a representative of a Middle East culture and selects Germany to symbolizes the western or European culture about architecture photography.

Topic context

Architecture photography is relevant in linking the two diverse cultures especially in the art building. After viewing photographic images, people can appreciate Germany’s long, prosperous and diverse history as shown by multiplicity and creativity in its building (Beaulieu &Mary 78). Germany building designs consists of several styles even dating back from Roman to Post Modern architecture. The architecture acknowledges the country’s  long history and invasions by various regimes in the past. The architecture does not only portray modern creativity and ingenuity in construction of tall building facilitated by incorporation of stronger and resilient materials such steel but also exhibits other renowned architectures of the past (Arnason & Elizabeth 182). The examples of the past popular styles in Germany are the Carolingian, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Romanesque and Classical designs (Goethe 192). The Germany architecture reveals critical instances religion and many years of fragmentation of the region into kingdoms which led to positive regional diversity and supported local or vernacular architecture. Many of the country’s old architectural diversity are visible especially in small towns as World War II caused massive destruction in major towns thus triggering rebuilding. The rebuilding process mainly employed simple modernist architectural designs (Miniaoui & Daniele 102).

Building designs in Qatar also reflects their traditional, religious and modern style in the building approach. Currently, the country’s landmark has been enormously transformed with tall buildings painting its capital city, Doha. The few remaining traditional building style in Qatar reflects simple buildings constructed through use of hard, locally gathered limestone. The traditional designs mainly designed walls bound together using packed combination of mud, gravel and small stones as opposed to using mortar (Salama, Simona & Florian 219). The walls were heavily susceptible to various types of and were mostly safeguarded with layers of gypsum parts (Foster & Carl 90). In 1900s, the capital Doha had closely packed groups of houses divided by slim alleys which availed shade, privacy and security to the people (Higgott & Timothy 78). The houses were predominantly weak and heavy winter rain-storms cause huge destructions to them. They traditional Qatari built and painted their house according to the Islamic arts and design (Al Suwaidi &Raffaello 98). Round mangrove beams were incorporated in supporting both lintels of doors and windows. Ropes were to bind the beams and prevent them from falling or splitting. The roofs were mainly flat and served both aesthetic and functional purposes. The mangrove beams shipped in from the East Africa and were placed on the top of the walls and functioned as rafters (Mazzetto & Attilio 381).

 The country currently shows significant shift from traditional building to modern tall building approach. The country’s architectural landscape is perpetually shifting as several world renowned architects design novel landmarks in the region. A glimpse of the metropolitan city from a far reveals a collection of tall glass buildings pricking into the clouds besides the scenic sea.

Personal connection with the topic

The topic creates a personal connection and desire to understand especially how the two country adopted new architecture as time, skill level and resource endowment changed. Qatar has emerged as one of strong economy in the world according to the GDP per capita rating which places it approximately at fifth to seventh in regards to 2015 and 2016 World Bank data compilation. The economy is mainly powered by returns from Petroleum and natural gas exports and the good performance of the economy has seen it design and construct beautiful tall buildings. The country has however not lost its heritage in adoption of new building styles (Dupré 78).

Every modern building erected in Qatar, especially in Doha has a unique cultural or heritage to communicate to the viewer. A visitor to the city will automatically see Palm Tower, Doha Tower,and Al Bidda Tower and several other towers. The design of the Doha Tower which is equally called Burj Qatar, emanates as one of the country’s iconic structures. The cladding of the building was aimed at mimicking the traditional Islamic “mashrabiya,” which is the artistic screen employed in shading or separating a room. The building shows a grey façade during the day while at it shows orange at night. Its construction creativity led it to win several awards based on the innovation. The design style reflects the shape of bird towers which was constructed from combination of mud and clay and is still existent is parts of the country. Palm Tower exhibits the country’s heritage as it have glass box-like angled protrusions in the side of the hexagonal building. It resembles key feature of palm tree which is a native tree of the region. The current tall building shows a shift from the earlier pearl and fishing village which represented Doha. It is an architectural shift from past low-rise, expansive courtyard houses to present inventive and revolutionary architecture which portrays the countries present position (Ibrahim 142). The country tries to create a balance in preserving it heritage, countering harsh climatic conditions and availing sustainable building for its ever expanding population (Posener &Dennis 172).

Figure 1: Burj Qatar in Doha (Ibrahim 105)

Germany has relatively few tall building erected in its cities and more considerably in its central business districts. Many of the cities have the traditional steeples and the highest buildings. The country’s approximate 80 tall buildings ranging between 100m and 300 m tall are distributed around eight cities including Frankfurt, Berlin, Cologne and Munich. Other cities are Düsseldorf, Hamburg Essen, and Leipzig but the buildings are hugely erected in the peripheries of the towns. Frankfurt prides itself of highest number of the building due to its recognition as a global financial center. In the list of 15 tallest building in the country ranging over 150 m long 14 are established in Frankfurt. In contrast with Qatar, Germans skyscrapers reveal the use of square or rectangular cuboid designs as opposed to Qatari designs which are predominantly the cylindrical or oval cross-section upwards (Goethe 201).

Construction and design of their worship facilities makes them even more distinct and appreciated in their way of life. While Germans mainly exhibit Christian faith, the Qatari exhibits considerable of Muslim faith (Posener &Dennis 172). The two cultures exhibit critical distinction to their various people and viewers accept them more easier after seeing the images of their dwellings even if an individual cannot afford sufficient funds to view the regions. Architecture photography enables viewers to witness the evidence of past history regarding the two nations regardless of their current tribulations and prosperity. It is the only dependable way to store crucial images for the future general and also enable spur innovation amongst students of architecture.

Figure 2: Commerzbank Tower tallest building Germany based in Frankfurt (Goethe 251)


Architecture photographers need both creativity and theoretical knowledge. The core part of photography is to produce valuable images especially in consideration of the tenets of perspective control. The photographers recognize vital inputs regarding vertical lines, which are non-converging meaning parallel lines (Galdino, James & CA Kolk Vander 72). They also reflect on the precise selection of photographing position and the proper focal plane of the employed camera. Issues such as the vertical position to the ground and elevation angle of the camera eye are extremely important. The camera views tilt, shifting of lenses and other factors such as post-processing issues, which are also vital. The photographers need creativity, which comes with the experience in the segment (James-Chakraborty 291).

Methodology and resource planning

The approach to the topic entails using both primary findings such as questionnaires to gather responses from people and through the research from other primary and secondary sources (Chenoweth 311). Seeking individual responses in two countries enables to get the collection of vital information regarding the importance of architecture photography, which is an essential segment of art. A researcher needs to visit different parts of the globe taking professional photographs and to measure the impact on the observers (Eddisford &Robert 186). Many onlookers are likely to respond positively by showing the approval and affirmation for world’s architectures irrespective of the part of the world it was taken. For instance, Christian tourists appreciate and love the photographed images of Egyptian scenic pyramids regardless of Egypt being a Muslim country (James-Chakraborty 240).


In summary, the architecture photography as part of art has a remarkable avenue for building bridges between countries and cultures. The art allows for appreciation of the various designs regardless of how archaic or uncivilized they may be as it enables sharing the information on what in the other different part of the world is especially for those people who cannot afford a ticket to have an opportunity to experience the natural view for themselves. Photography provides a cheap and remarkable view on the architectural works globally, and appreciates human endeavors. The art conveys human development and may facilitate the storage of the key images especially after the disasters either natural or caused by the humanity.

Works cited

Addington, D. Michelle, and Daniel L. Schodek. Smart materials and new technologies: For the architecture and design professions. Routledge, 2014.

Al Saeed, Mahmoud H., and Raffaello Furlan. "The Urban Regeneration of al Nasser street in           Doha (Qatar): Enhancing the Spatial Form and User’Social Interactions." (2017).

Al Suwaidi, Maryam, and Raffaello Furlan. "The Role of Public Art and Culture in New Urban     Environments: The Case of Katara Cultural Village in Qatar." Architecture Research 7.4      (2017): 109-122.

Arnason, H. H., and Elizabeth C. Mansfield. History of Modern Art (Paperback). Pearson Higher           Ed, 2012.

Beaulieu, Jill, and Mary Roberts, eds. Orientalism’s interlocutors: Painting, architecture,   photography. Duke University Press, 2012.

Chenoweth, Richard. "Visitor employed photography: A potential tool for landscape             architecture." Landscape Journal, 3, 2 2014, pp. 136-143.

Dupré, Judith. Skyscrapers. Black Dog & Leventhal Pub, 1996.

Eddisford, Daniel, and Robert Carter. "The vernacular architecture of Doha, Qatar." Post-   Medieval Archaeology 51.1 (2017): 81-107.

Foster, Ian, and Carl Kesselman, eds. The Grid 2: Blueprint for a new computing infrastructure.             Elsevier, 2010.

Frampton, Kenneth, and Yukio Futagawa. Modern architecture. ADA Edita, 2012.

Galdino, Gregory M., James E. Vogel, and CA Kolk Vander. "Standardizing digital             photography: it's not all in the eye of the beholder." Plastic and reconstructive surgery            108.5 (2001): 1334-1344.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. "On German Architecture." Goethe on Art

(2015): 103-12.

Higgott, Andrew, and Timothy Wray, eds. Camera constructs: photography, architecture and         the modern city. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2012.

Ibrahim, Iman Abdel Shahid. "Green Architecture Challenges in the Middle East Within             Different Rating Systems." Energy Procedia 115 (2017): 344-352.

James-Chakraborty, Kathleen. German architecture for a mass audience. Routledge, 2014.

Mazzetto, Silvia, and Attilio Petruccioli. "Methods and Techniques Used in Significant             Restoration Projects in Qatar." Studies in Conservation (2017): 1-12.

Miniaoui, Hela, and Daniele Schilirò. "Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Diversification            and Growth of the Gulf Cooperation Council Economies." Business and Management     Studies 3.3 (2017): 69-81.

Posener, Julius, and Dennis Sharp. From Schinkel to the Bauhaus: five lectures on the growth of         modern German architecture. Lund Humphries for the Architectural Association, 2017.

Robinson, Cervin, and Joel Herschman. Architecture Transformed: A History of the Photography of Buildings from 1839 to the Present. Mit Press, 2012.

Salama, Ashraf M., Simona Azzali, and Florian Wiedmann. "The everyday urban environment of           migrant labourers in Gulf Cities: the case of the old centre of Doha, Qatar." City,     Territory and Architecture 4.1 (2017): 5.

August 01, 2023




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