Dezeen’s top 10 architectural photography projects of 2021 – Dezeen

Next in our review of 2021 is a roundup of 10 architectural photography projects featured on Dezeen this year, from those capturing the brutalist buildings of Madrid to snaps of American cell phone towers disguised as palm trees.


The entrance to Castelgrande by Aurelio Galfetti, captured by Simone Bossi

Castelgrande series, Switzerland, by Simone Bossi

Architectural photographer Simone Bossi captured the raw forms of Castelgrande, a medieval castle in Switzerland perched on a rocky peak that features a bunker-like gateway.

Designed by architect Aurelio Galfetti, Castelgrande’s brutalist entrance is framed by linear concrete slabs that contrast with the natural hillside it is embedded within.

Find out more about the Castelgrande photography series ›


Top of Torres Blancas tower, Madrid

Madrid’s brutalist architecture, Spain, by Roberto Conte

Renowned apartment building Torres Blancas and a Le Corbusier-informed church feature in this photography series of brutalist architecture in Madrid by Roberto Conte.

“I focussed on brutalism both because it’s a ‘concrete line’ that has driven my personal research for many years and because it’s a term that is not usually associated with Madrid,” Conte said.

Find out more about the Madrid brutalist architecture photography series ›


Structure Photography

Structure Photography by Nikola Olic

Structure Photography by Nikola Olic is a collection of 88 images taken in various cities across America, Europe and Asia.

From New York‘s Chrysler Building to towering apartment blocks in Hong Kong, Dallas-based photographer Olic creates architectural vignettes that layer the built environment against nature in unique compositions.

Find out more about Structure Photography ›


Streets of Santiago by Cristobal Palma

Streets of Santiago, Chile, by Cristobal Palma 

Architectural photographer Cristobal Palma captured somber scenes of boarded-up streets in wealthy parts of Santiago during a period of protest in Chile that began in 2019 and raised issues such as the national cost of living.

Palma’s photography series documents buildings with their entrances clad in metal hoardings. Devoid of people and showing the structures untouched, the images were shot to offer an alternative view of events often portrayed as violent clashes in the global media.

Find out more about the Streets of Santiago photography series ›


Cell tower crosses

Fauxliage, USA, by Annette LeMay Burke 

Church crosses in Arizona and fake palm trees in Palm Springs feature in Fauxliage, a book by photographer Annette LeMay Burke that presents the ways in which cell phone towers have been playfully camouflaged across America.

Designed to store antennas and electronic equipment for mobile phones, many of the artificial towers attempt to mimic natural landmarks with painstaking detail, such as a group of three saguaro cacti in Phoenix that look real from a distance.

Find out more about Fauxliage ›


B Jones House, Ian Athfield, 1968

I Never Met a Straight Line I Didn’t Like, New Zealand, by Mary Gaudin and Matthew Arnold

Another photography book featured on Dezeen this year was I Never Met a Straight Line I Didn’t Like by Mary Gaudin and Matthew Arnold.

The book presents 12 examples of modernist houses built in the Christchurch Style, an architectural trend that originated in the 1960s in New Zealand, by capturing their gabled roofs and slanting shadows.

Find out more about I Never Met a Straight Line I Didn’t Like ›


Airport terminal from Berlin Tegel photo book by Robert Rieger and Felix Brüggemann

Flughafen Tegel, Germany, by Robert Rieger and Felix Brüggemann

Flughafen Tegel is a photography series by Robert Rieger and Felix Brüggenmann that celebrates the remaining brutalist architecture of former Berlin airport Tegel.

Also presented as a book, the selection of images pairs photographs taken during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020 alongside images from when the airport originally opened in the 1970s and includes shots of Tegel’s distinctive hexagonal terminal.

Find out more about Flughafen Tegel ›


A facade with bricked-up windows in London

Daylight Robbery, UK, by Andy Billman 

Photographer Andy Billman scoured the residential streets of London to capture Daylight Robbery, a series of images that depict the many bricked-up windows found on houses across the city.

Created to emphasise the importance of air and natural light in architecture and wellbeing, the photography project also highlights the legacy of the Window Tax – a levy introduced in 1969 that charged homeowners based on the number of windows on their property.

Find out more about Daylight Robbery ›


The State Academic Russian Theatre in Kazakhstan

Soviet architecture, central Asia, by Roberto Conte and Stefano Perego

Ornate mosaics and bulbous colourful shapes permeate this photography series, another taken by Roberto Conte alongside fellow Italian photographer Stefano Perego.

The images reveal the rich selection of buildings that sprung up across countries in central Asia which were under Soviet rule between the 1950s and 1990s, intending to highlight the architectural results of this intriguing clash of cultures.

Find out more about the Soviet architecture photography series ›


The Mother Road by Hayley

The Mother Road, USA, by Hayley Eichenbaum

Informed by over eight road trips across the US, Hayley Eichenbaum continues to capture the roadside architecture of famous highway Route 66 in her ongoing series The Mother Road.

The neon lights and retro signage in Eichenbaum’s colour-saturated shots echo the romanticism of film stills, with late American director Stanley Kubrick cited by the photographer as a key reference.

Find out more about The Mother Road ›

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