A decaying mosque, a staircase of scaffolding and the steel structure of London’s Olympic stadium feature in the twelve shortlisted images from a photography competition to capture architecture from around the world.
One image depicts a factory warehouse that looks more like a temple, while others show a brick kiln in Vietnam, a spiral staircase in Singapore and a shack made from scrap materials in South Africa.
UK organisation the Chartered Institute of Building will award a prize of £2,000 to the winning photographer of the Art of Building contest, who will be chosen by a public vote.
You can register your vote for free by visiting the competition website before 6 September.
Here’s some more information from the organisers and the judges’ comments on each image:
CIOB invites the world to decide the outcome of its 2012 international photography contest winner.
A clash of bold steel and colour at London’s flagship Olympic Stadium, a young pilgrim transfixed by an abandoned synagogue and a panoramic view of Hong Kong are just some of the artistic subjects to reach the final of this year’s Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) international Art of Building photography competition.
The twelve shortlisted images truly captured the imagination of the judging panel, which included Peter Murray, founder and director of the New London Architecture Centre and the renowned architect, writer and broadcaster, Maxwell Hutchinson. Among other qualities, the “power,” “elegance” and “humour” of the subjects and the composition of the photographs really struck a chord.
Now that the judges have had their say, the CIOB is inviting everyone to decide which of the twelve finalists will be awarded the prestigious title of ‘Art of Building Photographer of the Year’ and scoop a cash prize of £2,000. Voting is free and will take place via the competition website at artofbuilding.org.
“It was another very strong year for the contest, with imaginative entries from around the world,” says CIOB Art of Building manager, Saul Townsend. “The twelve shortlisted images are sure to divide opinion. Fortunately, it’s free to vote for your favourite, so we’re now urging everyone, everywhere to get online and decide the winner.”
The contest, which celebrates creativity in the construction industry, is also set to raise much-needed funds for a major project to build hurricane and earthquake resilient schools in Haiti, organised by development and disaster relief organisation, Article 25. A selection of the imaginative entries will be auctioned for the charity later in the year.
Voting opened on 16 August and close on 6 September.
CIOB Art of Building Contest Finalists with Judges’ comments
Title: A Place for Aitor Ortiz [ID 5475 Y]
Image location: Bilbao, Spain
Photographer: Alfonso Batalla, Bilbao, Spain
Photographer’s comment: “What was a warehouse in a sugar factory now looks like an Arabic temple.”
Judge’s comment: “This atmospheric shot is very interesting from a construction point of view. The block-vaulted ceiling and reinforced concrete is a strange juxtaposition of construction technologies and is beautifully detailed, which adds to its charm.” Maxwell Hutchinson.
Title: Faith Keeper [ID 5645 Y]
Image location: Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Photographer: Maksym Khytra, Lviv, Ukraine
Photographer’s comment: “This synagogue survived after fascist occupation and soviet dictatorship. It’s old, neglected and ravaged but still keeps faith and history.”
Judge’s comment: “Despite the ravages of war and time and the decay, the synagogue has retained the essence and respect that religious buildings inspire. Whether he is conscious of how many thousands of people have worshipped here or not, the young man is in clearly in awe. Like many of the great mosques, churches and synagogues all around Europe, the building has become a guardian of time and a reminder of our history, pedigree and culture.” Maxwell Hutchinson.
Title: Sea of Stairs [4078 Y]
Image location: Olympic Stadium, London
Photographer: Clarissa Debenham, Essex, UK
Photographer’s comment: “The structure of the stadium is completely on display around the staircases leading to the upper levels. The glass work subtly changes colour as you walk around the stadium, running through every colour of the rainbow.”
Judge’s comment: “The colourful steel really shows the power and strength of construction. A nice composition with strong diagonals.” Peter Murray.
Title: Construction [4475 Y]
Image location: Greater Noida, India
Photographer: Kamal Krishore, New Dehli, India
Photographer’s comment: “The labourers line up from bottom to top to pass building materials. The picture looks like an artwork.”
Judge’s comment: “This is construction at its most humorous. It made me smile. There is a real harmony between the people and a constant sense of backwards and forwards.” Maxwell Hutchinson.
Title: Eagle Eye [ID 5789 Y]
Image location: Singapore
Photographer: Zheng Hui Ng, Kedah, Malaysia
Photographer’s comment: “Looking down at a pagoda at the centre of the Chinese Garden in Singapore. The patent form of the stair looks like an eagle’s eye.”
Judge’s Comment: “This imaginative perspective on a staircase really does look like an eagle’s eye – right down to the speck of light on the pupil.” Michael Brown.
Title: Shacks built out of necessity [5359 Y]
Image location: South Africa
Photographer: Frank Trimbos, Holland
Photographer’s comment: “The residents of these small improvised huts in rural townships are mostly immigrants who moved to the cities looking for work. The shacks are built using scrap materials such as plywood and corrugated metal or plastic.”
Judge’s comment: “The image really typifies the contrast between traditional urban living and that of the shanty town. The lonely structure is in a harsh landscape but has obviously been tended to with care. It’s an interesting image of home.” Peter Murray
Title: In the Brick Kiln 
Image location: Vietnam
Photographer: Phuc Ngo, Vietnam
Photographer’s comment: “The brick architecture is unique.”
Judge’s comment: “Lovely texture. The composition is very elegant, especially the way the eye is drawn to the light.” Peter Murray.
Title: Bird’s Towers [5817 Y]
Image location: Doha, Qatar
Photographer: Mario Cardenas, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Photographer’s comment: “A local man standing in front of the bird’s towers in Katara Cultural Village, Doha. This place is an exceptional project, full of hope and human interaction.”
Judge’s comment: “The photograph tells a story but it asks more questions than it answers. Although we can’t see his face, you can sense there is a clear relationship between the man and the building.” Maxwell Hutchinson.
Title: Vintage [5028 Y]
Image location: Chitkul, India
Photographer: Ahana Gangopadhyay, Kolkata, India [YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR]
Photographer’s comment: “This photograph explores the relationship between the old lady and her old wooden house. The wooden door leading into the balcony and the array of pots and pans, together with the owner in front, add to the fairytale image.
Judge’s comment: “This shot represents the age of the building and how, in communities such as this one in India, it can be so important to preserve buildings at any cost. This lady is wedded to the structure. It’s her home and she looks like she’s defending it.” Maxwell Hutchinson.
Title: Roof in Colours 
Image location: Bangkok, Thailand
Photographer: Ines Costa, Lisbon, Portugal
Photographer’s comment: “This man is building art! It was very inspiring to see how he chose the colours and put the tiles onto the temple roof in the right place.”
Judge’s comment: “The orange tiles are so continental and reminiscent of older European buildings. There’s something very humorous about this colourful composition.” Maxwell Hutchinson.
Title: 100 Floors 
Image location: Hong Kong
Photographer: Tim Martin, California, USA
Photographer’s comment: “This image shows the entire scene around it, from the reflections of hundreds of smaller high-rise structures in the city to the boats in the water and the people inside, watching the world below.”
Judge’s comment: “The reflections in the building and the hinterland are marvellous to look at. The tankers in the sea give a real sense of how tall this building is. How did he take it? The question is hanging in the air!” Maxwell Hutchinson.
Title: Cantilever [ID 5524 Y]
Image location: Berlin, Germany
Photographer: Gonzalo Acuna, Montevideo, Uruguay
Photographer’s comment: “I was surprised by the way the prism rests gently on the brick building.”
Judge’s comment: “The reflection underneath the modern cantilever brings a sense of history into the image. It’s well put together and benefits from a strong diagonal element.” Peter Murray.