On the architectural structure of photographic space

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The ambiguous relationship between photography and architecture is one of constructed and re-constructed identity. As an exploration into this relationship, this article considers the construct of point-of-vew/field-of-view maps (or POV/FOV maps), diagrams which register photographers' positions, fields of view, and directions of view corresponding to photographs of an existing work of architecture. A POV/FOV map can be expected to differ according to whether the photographs under consideration are (a) sampled from an image-sharing site; (b) published in a monograph; or (c) published in the popular press. This article tests the extent and significance of these differences through a study of Mies van der Rohe's Crown Hall and Rem Koolhaas's McCormick Tribune Campus Center, both at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, USA. In both cases, POV/ FOV maps are used to compare sets of professional or academic photographs to sets of touristic and popular-press ones. Reflecting the tenuous nature of architectural identity, the comparison both confirms and denies assumptions concerning differences between professional and amateur photographic practices. The article concludes with the speculation that tools like Google Street View are likely to further erode distinctions between modes of identity-construction, in particular, those distinctions which a POV/FOV map can register.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Issue numberSPEC. ISSUE
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Mies van der Rohe
  • Photography
  • Rem Koolhaas
  • Visualization


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