Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Emotion of Architecture

Bricks, mortar, steel and glass.  We walk by buildings all the time and yet do we appreciate when a building's personality is conveyed through what I refer to as "emotional architecture"?  Since another fascination of mine is architecture I'm often scanning buildings for details and creative interpretation that sets it apart from other more mundane structures.  Like any other art form there's always going to be periods of design that embrace similar artistic concepts or building materials, but beyond that what catches my eye is building emotion into the facade or soul into the building.

To blend my love of photography and architecture I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could interpret the design intent and take it further in terms of an emotional message.  The basis of my theory is that architecture is more about documenting building structures or monuments; it's basically a portrait of humanity itself.

The building I chose for this experiment is the Holocaust Memorial Center located in Farmington Hills, Michigan.  The building itself is a basic, non-descript rectangular design with nothing special, that is until you focus on the walls themselves.  The emotional messages are not so sublime.  A small vertical portion of the building uses a familiar colored striping akin to the typical prisoner clothing of the holocaust camps.  In case that subtle hint at the building's interior escapes the viewer, the barbed wire strung along metal fence posts on the building's facade drive the message home loud and clear

To enhance the visual message intended by the architect I chose to go with a black & white treatment rather than color.  My special tool of choice was limited to basically the use of natural light along with a little gestalt for creative tension.  How could I use the light and enhance it to guide the viewer's eyes to focus on the architectural message via the strong design elements of the building (striping and barbed wire)?  The answer was the application of neutral density lighting to create just the right mood and atmosphere to further the emotion of the building's original intent and interior space.

© 2012, Joanne Scherf

© 2012, Joanne Scherf

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