architecture photography

Ice Hotel, Sweden.

During my recent trip to Sweden, I visited the famous Ice Hotel. The hotel is made out entirely with natural ice and snow. Since we are on a tight budget, we didn’t stay at the hotel, we went there and joined the guided tour.

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But unfortunately, we are there before the completion of the 2016 Ice Hotel, as they rebuild the hotel each year with different design submitted from designers around the world. The Ice Bar, Ice Church and some of the rooms are not yet ready. We are slightly late for the tour and we need to chase up the tour at the area where they carve all the ice. After that the guided brought us to the rooms and since the tour are too big, we are ask to walk around the room ourself and if a we had any question we can ask the guide ourself.

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The rooms are smaller then I expected, maybe its unfinished, but some of the design are really amazing. It is quite challenging trying to take photographs of all the rooms and there are large amount of tourist during my visit and getting a clean shot of the room means I need to be either faster then the other or wait until the crowed goes to the other room.

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Another challenging factor is the lightning condition in the rooms. I don’t have my tripod with my during the guided tour, and I need a smaller aperture to get everything in the room sharp. I used all kind of methods to be as steady as possible.

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The above design is one of my favorite! I am sorry I forget to note down the designer’s name for the rooms. I think you can get more info from their official website.

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The Snice (a combination of ice and snow) ice to build the hotel has a higher density than snow and therefore is a better insulated and it melts slower. No matter what is the temperature outside, the rooms are always between -3degree to -5degree. ( well thats still very cold ! )

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The idea of getting room designs from all around the world is very interesting! (Maybe I could submit a design next time. 😛 )

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I was very impressed by the cool rooms, but It’s a bit sad that I don’t get the chance to see the famous Ice bar and Ice Church.

 

 

 

Capitol Complex, Chandigarh, India.

Le Corbusier is one of the most celebrated architect of the 20th century. If you are working or studying in field related to architecture, you have definitely heard of his name. Now I am at his biggest creation of his life, Chandigarh – The City Beautiful, doing my final photographic project in commemoration of his 50th death anniversary. Le Corbusier designed the master plan for the new city of Chandigarh with his team back in 1951. He designed the Capitol Complex himself, the complex consist of three main buildings witch are the High Court, the Secretariat Buildings, and the Palace of Assembly. The Open Hand Monument and the Tower of Shadow are also within the complex.

Because of the sensitivity of those buildings, you will need to obtain the permissions to visit from the tourist information center just outside of the complex. The new Capitol Complex Walk program started on the 13th of April 2015, is a free guided tour for the buildings inside the Capitol Complex. From what I have gathered, there are almost no other way to attain permission to visit the Capitol Complex other then following the guided tour system. There are three time slot for the free tour which are at 10am, 12am, and 3pm. Please be there at least 5 minute before the tour start as they will need to make a photocopy of your IDs (bring your passport). You can also apply for the permission online, and you there can also see the rules and regulations for the tour. Here are some information and photos about my tour at the Capitol Complex (3pm time slot) .

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The first building the guide will bring you to is the High Court, which consist of the main Chief Justice Court and 8 other smaller courts that are named numerically. I was lucky enough to be allowed to enter the Chief Justice Court while there is a hearing, inside the court you can see the giant woolen tapestry designed by Le Corbusier.

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Then you will go through the 3 brightly colored vertical piers to the ramp.

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While you are walking up the ramp, you can see the Palace of Assembly from afar. In this photo you can see how small human are compared to the gigantic 60 feet tall piers.

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You will reach a small roof-like place after walking up the ramp. Here you can see the wear and tears the building suffered from aging.

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After that they will bring you down using the stairs and will head towards the Palace of Assembly.

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Few days before I saw lots of furniture piling up on the roof of the High Court, they are all in bad shape. But this time I saw theme moving them out, I asked the guide about this and he says that they are sending them to be repaired. I really hope they are really doing that and not just disposing them, it would be a waste.

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Normally the guide will bring you to the Open Hand Monument, but because the group spent too much time at the High Court we don’t have enough time to go there as the other buildings closes at 5. The Open Hand monument is a huge metal sculpture of the open hand symbol designed by Le Corbusier, the meaning of the symbol is ‘Open to give and open to receive.’

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There are a lot of renovation work going on during my visit. When you are walking from the high court to the Palace of Assembly, we will see the the Tower of Shadow and a couple more monumental symbols.

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This is the Palace of Assembly and here you can really feel the effect of the evaporative cooling by the huge water feature.

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You are allowed to visit the interior of the Palace of Assembly, but you will need to leave your cameras, phone, and bags at the entrance/reception. The architecture features inside the assembly building are really interesting, you can see how the light shine through the openings in beautiful ways designed by Le Corbusier. The most epic space in the building is the Punjab assembly hall, which situated inside the giant power-plant-cooling-tower inspired structure. There are no photography allowed inside the assembly building but I am still trying to get a permission for that. 😛

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After the visit to the Palace of Assembly, the guide will lead you to the last building of the tour, the Secretariat. The Secretariat building is the largest and the tallest of the three edifice in the Capitol Complex.

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The rectangular shape building are attached with a huge external concrete ramp at both of longer side. You can take photos around the buildings and on top of the building, the guide will take you up and you are not allowed to take photos inside the building.

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The free tour ends with a great view of the Capitol Complex and the city. The whole tour takes around 1 and a half hour to 2 hours, it was a very informative tour, be sure to leave a review back at the tourist information center (where you can cool off after the tour too). This is definitely a must-do if you are visiting Chandigarh!

Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre

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During my visit to Iceland, I spent my first night at Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. It is a unique city, there are a lot of traditional looking shops in the city center but there is this very futuristic looking building there, its their main concert hall- Harpa.

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I was there during the sunset, a surprising fact for is that it is actually 11pm that time. :O As a Malaysian, its my first time experiencing sunset at midnight. The timing was great to take photographs of the building. Harpa was designed by a Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects, and they did it in co-operation with a Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. If I am not wrong the design won the 2013 Mies van der Rohe award.

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The interior of the building during the sunset was amazing, the low angle of sun-rays created beautiful shadows. I was so glad I was there at that time.

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Behind the Harpa, its a small harbor. The cantilever design of the building protrude outwards to have a better view of the harbor.

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I was lucky enough to have been there at that time, I knew I will not be able to visit this place anytime soon so I took the opportunity. Even though I was tired that time, I really enjoyed the experience. I enjoyed the architectural photoshoot. 🙂

 

 

 

Starting my Easter break in France

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Got onto a bus that’s headed towards Paris, France after my last class before my Easter break starts. Visited most of the main tourist attraction there, but we kept the famous Eiffel Tower for the sunset. Took the photo above during the blue hour, where the Sun just gone down the horizon and the sky is still blue. I used a telephoto lens for this (bought a used Tamron 70-300 for my Canon 6D before the trip.) I wanted to capture the detail of the tower but it’s hard to get a sharp image since I am using long shutter speed. I used a tripod, but it was very windy that night, with a telephoto lens any slight movement can cause blurriness to the photo. 😦

 

Letting mother nature do the drawing.

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Wondering around London and found this interesting spot to take photo. Actually I saw photos of this place online before, when I look up and realised that I have stumbled upon a very nice photographic point. I then set up my tripod in the middle of the walkway ignoring every one around me and starts to take photos upwards. I can’t get what I wanted for the first few shot, the sky are too gloomy and covered by thick clouds. I decided to stay there and wait for awhile, after around 10 minutes, the clouds started to clear and they are moving quite fast across the deep blue sky. Finally my patient pays off, since I am already set up for the shot, I just press on the shutter and let mother nature paint a background for my shot. 🙂