Still Architecture: Photography, Vision and Cultural Transmission

3 May 2012 - 5 May 2012

Department of Architecture, 1 Scroope Terrace and CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

A University of Cambridge Department of Architecture Centenary Event


Dr Marco Iuliano (Architecture, University of Cambridge)
Dr François Penz (Architecture, University of Cambridge)


Conference summary

“We have an architecture still”, wrote Philip Johnson in 1932. Eighty years later we could say that we have a ‘still architecture’: too often, our first encounter with a building comes from looking at an image, usually a photograph. However, despite its importance in shaping our perception of the reality, the study of architectural photography is underestimated. The conference analyzes the potentialities of photography as a source of creative imagination and as a tool for spatial knowledge, aiming to develop a novel interpretation of architecture from avant-garde movements to present. The following four themes are key to this challenge:

Visual information often replaces the real experience: what is the impact on architecture? Our knowledge and spatial imagination about architectures have often been shaped by a photographic vision that preconditions not only our perception of an object, but also our conception of it and our relationship to it. An interdisciplinary panel of scholars will explore the issue.  

architects and photography
The legacy of the Maestri, from the 1920’s onwards, is fundamental: all were aware of the role of photographic media and were sometimes in control of it. A comparative reading of the role of the architect as photographer and the relationship between architects and photographers is crucial to an understanding of contemporary architectural discourse.

Photographic archives play a central role in the accurate reconstruction of the architectural object. The documents they preserve are not nostalgic images but dynamic ones: while every photograph has its own historical integrity, it can be re-interpreted through new connections and juxtapositions emerging from meticulous archival research.  

cultural transmission, translatability 
At every moment, either directly or through the medium of newspaper and reviews, we are presented with objects of an arresting novelty. All these objects of modern life create, in the long run, a modern state of mind’. Le Corbusier’s statement, still valid today, outlines the challenge: are we able to understand the real trajectory of a representation from its reproduction in another medium to its expression in different contexts and cultures?




Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH), University of Cambridge, and the EU-FP7 Marie Curie Actions. Printing and mounting for the exhibition 'Cambridge in Concrete' by Spectrum.


Institutional partners

The conference will be held in collaboration with the RIBA Photographs Collection; the Architectural Association, MA in History and Critical Thinking; and MAXXI, Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo (Rome).


Secretariat Building at Chandigarh © J Paul Getty Trust, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2002.R.41). The conference conveners are very grateful for the generous support of the Getty Research Institute.

Accommodation for non-paper giving delegates

We are unable to arrange accommodation, however, the following websites may be of help.

Visit Cambridge
Cambridge Rooms

University of Cambridge accommodation webpage

NB. CRASSH is not able to help with the booking of accommodation.


Administrative assistance: Helga Brandt (Conference Programme Manager, CRASSH)


3 May 2012

Department of Architecture, 1 Scroope Terrace

(Please note: spaces in this venue are limited)

9.30 - 9.50


9.50 - 10.00

Welcome: François Penz , University of Cambridge

10.00 - 11.15

Session A

    11.15 - 11.45


    11.45 - 13.00

    Session B

      13.00 - 14.15


      14.15 - 15.30 

      Session C

      15.30 - 16.00 


      16.00 - 17.15 

      Session D



      Irena Murray, Royal Institute of British Architects
      François Penz and Marco Iuliano, University of Cambridge


      4 May 2012

      CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road

      10.00 - 10.45

      Keynote speaker

      Tim Benton, Fondation Le Corbusier and Open University
      Cosmic details: Le Corbusier's photographs 1936-38

      10.45 - 11.15


      11.15  - 13.15

      Discussion and chair: Iñaki Bergera, University of Zaragoza

        • Claire Zimmermann, University of Michigan
          Photographic Modern Architecture: the German Diaspora
        • Daniel Naegele, Iowa State University
          Frank Lloyd Wright and Photography
        • Philip Ursprung, ETH Zurich
          In search of lost time: Peter Zumthor and Photography
        • Lorenzo Covadonga, Escuela Politécnica Superior, Madrid
          Hidden images in the Architecture of Juan Navarro Baldeweg
        • Timothy Wray, Indipendent Scholar, Berlin
          Appropriating Architecture: The Photographic Manipulations of Joseph Schultz and Beate Gütschow

        13.15 - 14.30 


        14.30 - 16.15

        Discussion and chair: Nicholas Bullock, University of Cambridge

          • Marco Iuliano, University of Cambridge
            The Interactive Vision between Architecture and Photography
          • Benjamin Gianni, Carleton University
            Architectural Photography at the Margins: the Work of Lynne Cohen
          • Bence Nanay, University of Antwerp
            Photographs of nonexistent buildings: Andreas Gursky and Alexander Apóstol
          • Esther Lorenz, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
            Simulated residential architecture in Hong Kong

          16.15 - 16.45


          16.45 - 17.45

          Keynote speaker

          Hélène Binet, Architectural Photographer
          Architectural Photography and Silence

          5 May 2012

          CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road 

          10.00 - 10.30


          10.30 - 12.30

          Discussion and chair: François Penz, University of Cambridge

            • Maristella Casciato, University of Bologna
              Pierre Jeanneret’s Photographic Archive
            • Veronique Boone, Université Libre, Brussels
              The villas of Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret: case study on the historical sets of photographs

            • Jill Pearlman
              Edith Tudor-Hart and the Covert Life of Hampstead’s Lawn Road Flats
            • Iain Anderson, Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of Scotland
              Recording the historic modern in Scotland: RMJM’s United Distillers demolition (1984)
            • Hera Van Sande, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels &
              Yves Schoonjans, St-Lucas School of Architecture, Brussels
              Two sets of photographs by Yasuhiro Ishimoto on the Katsura Villa

            12.30 - 13.45


            13.45 - 15.45

            Discussion and chair: Marina Lathouri, Architectural Association, London

              • Burcu Kütükçüoglu, Istanbul Bilgi University
                Grey Nature: the background of the Modern villa photographs
              • Davide Deriu, Westminster University, London
                The lure of miniature: translations from model to photograph
              • Andrew Higgott, University of East London
                Architectural Modernism and the published photograph: examining two influential publications
              • Benedetto Gravagnuolo, University Federico II, Naples
                Roberto Schenzen’s Loos
              • Helmut Weihsmann, Independent Scholar, Vienna
                Picturesque and Photogenic Ruins