Architecture Photography as a Means of Linking Nations

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Visits to different countries in the world reveal vital scenic uniqueness, which aids in the description of particular natives from that origin. 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. For instance, showing Africans as living in simple mud-houses may superficially show incivility and perceived retrogression. However, it is only after considering their way of life, security, family, and many other factors when an individual can make a rightful conclusion regarding them. Architecture Photography is essential in enabling visualization of house design in their 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 different designs.

Key words:

Architecture – is the technique and art of planning, designing, and building structures.


– Is a method of formulating images, diagrams, or animations to enable communication.

Indonesia – Is a country in the Southeast Asian which is consistent of thousands of volcanic islands and have many ethnic groups who communicate in different languages.

Rumah Adat – general name for the wide range of Indonesia’s traditional building styles

Chicago architecture - modern building design which pioneered the massive use os steel in building and contributed world’s first skyscrapers


–ancient times


– having many cultures


– having people with diverse origin, ethnics, races


feature in photography whereby objects far away from the photographer appear to be close together. Railway and road appear to be thinning as a person looks far away.


            For time immemorial, art has predominantly overshadowed other human endeavors especially in the conveyance of rich history to subsequent generations. With the advent of photographers, more enticing and valuable scenes can be stored through the taking of photos. The invention of cameras led to architecture photography, which is linking cultures, nations, and regions and making bridges between different countries. This research investigates architecture photography as a means of linking nations with a critical focus on the culture as portrayed by varying structural designs. It particularly considers the traditional Indonesian architecture and contrasts it to modern American, Chicago architecture through the involvement of photography (Dolbeer, Richard, Jerrold & Glen 13).

Topic context

               Architecture photography is highly relevant to the field of arts. Under this special case, it enables the comparison of the traditional Indonesian with modern American, Chicago model. The designs represent the modern and traditional building cultures. Architecture photography has become more vital in transmission, storage, and mimicry of world’ trendy house building ingenuity. With ever-expanding quality and dexterity in camera quality, it has become even more richly applicable to the human beings as an established visual medium. The two main designs considered under this research portray the evolution of the human.

Personal connection with the topic

               Architecture photography delivers a personal connection to people who practically engage in it. For instance, comparison of the traditional Indonesian types and the American (modern) Chicago architecture reveals great amounts of intricate and loveable scenic architectures (Chenoweth 77). Visit to Indonesia’s rural regions shows traditional Architecture called Rumah Adat. Photography provides an excellent avenue for other individuals who cannot to have a real glimpse of the designs to experience the house construction beauty through viewing in either in electronic model images or the hardcopy printed forms (Schefold,Peter & Gaudenz 192). Varying designs of Rumah Adat construction formats define multiple factors such as ethnic customs, social status, relations, ethnic laws and even traditional taboos (Prijotomo 215).

            The traditional building style also defines the society’s myths and religions, which connects the villagers. The housing models portray the principal focus for the family structure which is the main social unit of the community. The designs are simple and do not demand modern sophistication as exposed in other building instances like Chicago architecture (Robinson & Joel 102). The local community members design and construct Rumah Adat houses with the aid of a master builder who is primarily a carpenter. Their building mainly employs simple and naturally occurring resources such as timber, grass, mud and many other locally available materials (Kusno 241). In comparison to the Chicago architecture, which has tall buildings, Rumah Adat structures are mainly short and cannot go high upwards as they do not have steel metals in their structures. The Indonesia traditional style also reveals the linkage to the earliest Austronesian structures. The Austronesian structures were predominantly communal longhouses, which had stilts (Dawson &Gillow 156). Some of the buildings also have steep sloping roofs and thick gables as recognizable in the Rumah Adat Batak buildings shown in figure 1.

Fig 1: Batak Toba designs, traditional Indonesian architecture (Dawson &Gillow 159).

            Architecture photography for the Chicago designs reveals a building style which has defined modern American designs over a long time. It is the only dependable model of storing and informing subsequent generations of the remarkable buildings which decorate America’s skylines. They portray different, multicultural heritages and features (Addington & Daniel 217). The photographed images of Chicago architectural designs show a great sense of originality in contrast to their antiquity. The designs are currently notable in many regions globally and various states in America (Pare 99). The building style emerged in 1871 following a fire that burnt down various parts of Chicago, and the architects decided to adopt a new ways in the reconstruction of building in the region (Foster & Carl 72). Chicago architecture refers to the possible first application of the steel-frame in constructions. It also shows the use of the heavy involvement huge plates of glass in structural construction (Larson, George & Jay 145).

            The style contributed to the world’s first group of modern skyscrapers (Shulman 110). Earlier designs mainly employed other forms of materials like cast iron, which were particularly weak and could not build stronger, taller and resistant buildings. The architecture incorporated advanced steel frames, combined glass designs and tough terra cotta skins especially around the mid-1890s period (Frampton & Yukio 182). As contrasted to Indonesia’s Rumah Adat planning, which does not require extensive building organization, the Chicago model demands the sophisticated involvement of the architects, engineers, contractors, and financiers as they involve projects which are always large and cost millions of dollars. Both Chicago and traditional Rumah Adat models fit into an architecture photographer’s schedule especially in consideration of the ingenuity and practicality of the designs. The two architectural designs suit different sets of background (Kusno 241). Chicago approach show modern, high-density population setting. It also shows a multicultural, cosmopolitan society while Rumah Adat architecture represents unadulterated local tradition which acknowledges the existence of unitary or single ethnic in a setting (Elwall & Sam 172). The Rumah Adat building considers differing social factors such as rank, status, family and many others. Willis Tower in figure 2 is an example of the Chicago model.

Figure 2: Willis Tower (Margolin 138)


            Architecture photographers need both creativity and theoretical skills. 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 (Dolbeer, Richard, Jerrold & Glen 13). 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 also vital. They need creativity, which comes with experience in the segment (Soekmono 219).

            For clarity in the comparison or bridging two cultures and countries it is important to have background knowledge regarding the individuals. Architectural design is one of the sectors in which human creativity and civilization is notable. Simple structures such as mud houses, grass thatched dwellings or even cave-like residence have always been associated with uncivilized people (Zukowsky 45). Tall buildings having steel structures resemble new and modern forms of building. Architecture photographing connects and links societies regardless of civilization level and dispose of possible areas of anxiety or curiosity (Margolin 138). When people sees images of Batak Toba designs from Indonesia, the world can appreciate their climate, family life, and population. Urban centers in modern cities, for instance, New York City cannot accommodate traditional Indonesian structures due to issues like security, population density and many other factors (Galindo, Carissa & Tonia 190). On viewing the features of environment present in two varying regions or countries, people will automatically appreciate the architectural model and acknowledge their culture without demonizing or attacking level of civilization (Beaulieu & Mary 125).

Methodology and resource planning

            The approach to the topic entails using both primary findings such as using questionnaires to gather responses from people and through research from other primary and secondary sources. Seeking individual responses amongst people in two countries enables collection of vital information regarding importance of architecture photography which is an essential segment of art. A researcher needs to visit different parts of the globe and taking professional photographs and measure the impact on the observers.  Many observers are likely to respond positively by showing approval and affirmation for world 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 regarded as a Muslim country (Larson, George & Jay 195).


            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 varying building designs regardless of how archaic, uncivilized or even civilized as they may be. It enables sharing a lot and knows what is in the other different part of the world especially for those people who cannot afford an air ticket to go and experience the natural view for themselves. Photography provides a cheap and remarkable view of the architectural works globally and appreciates human endeavors. The art conveys human development and may facilitate storage of key images especially after disasters. For instance, the only remaining memorable parts of the earlier World Trade Center Building complex are the images taken before September 11 terrorist attacks.

Works cited

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

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): 136-143.

Dawson, Barry, and John Gillow. The traditional architecture of Indonesia. London: Thames           and Hudson, 2011.

Dolbeer, Richard A., Jerrold L. Belant, and Glen E. Bernhardt. "Aerial photography techniques       to estimate populations of Laughing Gull nests in Jamaica Bay, New York, 1992-1995."      Colonial Waterbirds (2014): 8-13.

Elwall, Robert, and Sam Wythe. Building with light: the international history of architectural   photography. London: Merrell, 2015.

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.

Galindo, Michelle, Carissa Kowalski, and Tonia Kim, eds. Chicago: architecture & design.             TeNeues, 2016.

Kusno, Abidin. "Beyond the postcolonial: Architecture and political cultures in Indonesia."      public culture 10.3 (2008): 549-575.

Larson, George A., and Jay Pridmore. Chicago architecture and design. Harry N. Abrams, 2014.

Margolin, Victor. "Graphic Design in Chicago." Chicago Architecture and Design

2016: 285-      286.

Nas, Peter, ed. the Past in the Present: Architecture in Indonesia. Nai Uitgevers Pub, 2009.

Pare, Richard. Photography and architecture. Vol. 26. London: Architectural Press, 1961.

Prijotomo, Josef. "When West Meets East: One Century of Architecture in Indonesia (1890s-            1990s)." Architronic 5.3 (2012): 2-10.

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

Schefold, Reimar, Peter Nas, and Gaudenz Domenig, eds. Indonesian Houses: Tradition and transformation in vernacular architecture. Vol. 207. NUS Press, 2015.

Shulman, Julius. Architecture and its Photography. Taschen, 2008.

Soekmono, R. "Indonesian architecture of the Classical Period: a brief survey." The Sculpture of     Indonesia (2015): 67-93.

Zukowsky, John, ed. Chicago architecture and design, 1923-1993: reconfiguration of an        American metropolis. Prestel, 2013.

August 01, 2023




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