Building a popular following

Prize-winning architectural feats are usually shot by similarly garlanded architectural photographers, but this show bucks that trend.

The exhibition from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment is made up of contenders for its Better Public Building Award. Schemes featured include the Laban Dance Centre, Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens, Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Cow & Gate’s Under Fives’ Centre in Edinburgh and Tate Modern.

It’s the only design award that looks at a building’s user-friendliness, which led Cabe to select photographer Michele Turriani, who trained as a graphic designer. He turned to photography in 1993 and advertising, fashion, music, publishing and editorial photography are his natural habitat, rather than architecture.

This show, which coincides with Architecture Week, is a mix of unpeopled images and portraits. The finest shots are either of people doing things – dancing or splashing in a fountain – or posed shots involving a smiling subject – cyclists on the A650 Bingley Relief Road, and the man in the plant room of Bournemouth Library. Unsurprisingly, the Laban’s dance students come off very well, but then Herzog & de Meuron’s architecture and dancers are bound to make an aesthetically pleasing combination.

Better Public Building runs from 17 to 26 June at Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, 1-5 Flitcroft Street, London WC2H (tel: 020 7836 6747), before touring the country.

Visit www.betterpublicbuilding.org.uk.

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