Taxonomy and Architectural Documentation

The Contemporary Silk Road

The architectural photograph has become an almost viable replacement for the experience of the place itself by way of wide-angle, high resolution “money shots”. In many cases it is difficult, if not impossible to ascertain a broader understanding about a particular building’s contextual relationship to “place” beyond what choreographed elements are allowed to populate the stylistic image. For this reason we turn to some historic references for inspiration on how rigorously empirical photo documentation may become an integral part of our research and critique of the “places” on our trip. The significance of empirical photography to our project may allow for visual comparisons between cities, buildings, and groups of people, that are not compromised by inaccuracies or established hierarchies. This feeds into the idea of the taxonomy as a way to document architecture that uses the particular characteristic of photography – reducing its subjects to objects – to compose a…

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