The winners of the inaugural Exposure Award, launched by The Timothy Soar Archive, have been announced today. The awards are designed to give architectural practices a fresh insight into photographing, communicating and promoting their work.
This year’s winners are:
- Mary Arnold-Forster Architects in Perthshire
- LIV Architects in Norfolk
- Evans Vettori Architects in Matlock, Derbyshire
- Rural Office in Carmarthen, Wales
- Studio 8Fold in London and Berlin
The awards were judged by Timothy Soar, Architecture Today editor Isabel Allen and architect and educator Satwinder Samra. Soar will work with the winning practices to consider different approaches to architectural photography and develop the brief for a new set of photographs of past, present or future work.
“My motivation for launching the awards was to identify practices who have a clear agenda and approach, and where a proactive and considered approach to photography could bring real benefits in terms of communicating and promoting the practice’s ethos and work,” said Soar. “I’m hugely looking forward to establishing what I hope will be a long and fruitful working relationship with each of the five winning practices and to watching their careers evolve.”
“We were delighted with the overall quality of the entries, and heartened by the range in terms of age, gender and geographic location,” he added, “but disappointed at the notable absence of diversity in terms of ethnicity. We are looking at ways to actively encourage entries from a wide range of backgrounds for next year’s awards.”
Mary Arnold-Forster Architects
This is a practice fuelled by a deep-rooted passion for landscape and wilderness; that combines architectural work with sea kayaking and mountain walking and actively seeks out projects on sites that are wild or remote. Its buildings are photogenic as standalone objects, but it feels as though the practice’s passion for nature and restless energy demands an approach that blurs the distinction between the polite parameters of conventional architectural photography and a looser style that captures the untamed beauty – and occasional bleakness – of the landscapes they inhabit.
Liv Architects has been doing really solid work, applying their considerable talent and clear environmental agenda to small, labour-intensive, local projects that are often overlooked. In an ideal world, every community would have a practice like this. The deserves to be photographed in a way that captures the charm of each individual project but also reflects the fact that, collectively, they represent a significant body of work that reinterprets the local vernacular to create an architecture that is sustainable, joyful and fresh.
The veterans of the group, Evans Vettori have been producing quiet, thoughtful, work since 1995. The practice is adept at using hand drawn sketches and modelling to communicate ideas, but it is arguably the case that the subtlety and sophistication of the work doesn’t lend itself to the attention-grabbing imagery that grabs headlines. The challenge is to produce photography that gives the work the profile it deserves while staying true to the practice’s gentle, highly considered approach.
Rural Office already has a clear, compelling aesthetic as evidenced by the steady stream of carefully curated, often unexpected but always highly poetic, images on its Instagram account, and its 28,000 Instagram followers. The challenge is to develop an approach to architectural photography that is just as engaging, and captures the practice’s culture of curiosity, careful observation, and delivering the odd surprise.
This is a young practice that has demonstrated enormous energy and ingenuity in their efforts to establish a practice fresh out of architecture school and in the throes of a pandemic and we are curious and excited to see what they do next. Studio 8Fold has developed a strong aesthetic language, which they have used to good effect in their work in research and strategy. This award offers an opportunity for the practice to work with Timothy to translate this sensibility into the way they photograph their built work.
Header image also by Studio 8Fold