Each year, the Sony World Photography Awards makes its selection of the best photographers working to document the lives, events, triumphs, and challenges of individuals and societies as a whole.
This year’s contest bore a record number of photographers entering for the chance to win the $25,000 grand prize and coveted Photographer of the Year title. Finalists in categories as far-ranging as Sport and Still Life were announced alongside the 2024 Architecture & Design finalists and shortlisted entries. Jury Chair Monica Allende complimented each's abilities at "capturing both the joys and the challenges of human existence across our planet."
A prevalent subject in this year's contest was the built environment and the effects of urban life on political and social conditions. The next cohort expands also on the lineage of important architectural photographers to have won in their category, including Czech mainstay Tomáš Vocelka, France's Amelie Labourdette, Italy's Rosaria Sabrina, and many other important names.
Following are this year's finalists and shortlist entries for the Architecture & Design category:
Tehran Campus Town by Yaser Mohamad Khani, Iran (cover photo)
Series description: "In recent years, due to population growth and lack of sufficient housing, the towns near Tehran have been crowded and people have to migrate here."
Sala Mayor (Living Room) by Siobhán Doran, Ireland
Series Description: "This series is part of a book project, Houses that Sugar Built: An Intimate Portrait of Philippine Ancestral Homes, for which I was granted access to these historic mansions. I largely set about photographing the houses against a spoken ‘backdrop’, as my colleague interviewed the owner or custodian, but sometimes worked in complete silence. The sala mayor (main living room) typically showcases the character of the architecture and the lifestyle of the people, but also leaves room for the viewer’s interpretation of these unique residences."
Spa Island by Karol Pałka, Poland
Series Description: "Although it is small in size, the country of Slovakia is rich in springs of natural healing water. Spa culture has been a part of the Slovakian lifestyle for hundreds of years, and has become part of a secular ritual for some. In 1947 a special balneological congress decided to divide the approximately 50 Slovak spa localities into three categories of importance: international importance, national importance and local importance. This project examines the ways in which the architecture of spas allows those establishments to be spaces of ritual and community."
Fading Prairie by Marc Koegel, Canada
Series Description: "Fading Prairie is a series documenting the vanishing man-made structures of the Canadian Prairies. I have been travelling and photographing the prairies for more than 15 years, and every year an increasing number of buildings become abandoned, fall into disrepair and ultimately vanish completely. With them, a part of the local history also disappears."
Enlighten by Albrecht Voss, Germany
Series Description: "Enlighten presents modern alpine architecture as surreal man-made sculptures in the rough terrain of high altitude mountain areas. These photographs form part of a larger set of images, which I took over the course of 10 days, exploring contemporary building designs in remote mountain areas of the European Alps. My assistant and I had to climb to our chosen location every day, stay awake until late at night to capture the image and then descend in the morning to get to the next mountain. Every image was captured under the Milky Way, in the middle of the night, using a medium format camera. The buildings were lit by an LED light that I attached to a drone, with the resulting top lighting giving the structures an otherworldly feeling."
Couvent Sainte Marie de la Tourette by Joseph Horton, United Kingdom
Series Description: "In 1986, the convent of La Tourette in Éveux, by the great architect Le Corbusier, was elected the second most important contemporary building in France. The convent was built between 1953 and 1960 and is the last major work of the architect in France, making it a must-see building for architecture lovers. I visited in the heat of summer and was immediately transfixed with its presence in the landscape. Jutting from the hillside, its views spread over the valley and provide the inhabitants with a connection to the land that they dwell in. Outside the building are woodlands and meadows with nature’s soft design, but within the building all I could see was Corbusier’s obsession with formality and shape. It was a fantastic building to photograph and my aim was to show the viewer how it felt as you navigated its channels and spaces."
Blue Boy by Nick Ng, Malaysia
Series Description: "This seven-floor residential haven was built in the heart of Kuala Lumpur in 1962, by the famed architectural firm T.Y. Lee and Sons. Named Blue Boy Mansion, it was the epitome of wealth and success. In stark contrast to sterile modern structures, the building encourages interactions between its residents, with an open design that enhances the coexistence of people and living spaces. These images reveal the quotidian moments of the people living there and their environment, which harks back to an era that has stood the test of time. Blue Boy Mansion may be a shadow of its former glory, but its rich nostalgic design has a continued presence in contemporary Kuala Lumpur."
The Space of Czechoslovakia by Maciej Czarnecki, Poland
Series Description: "This photographic series presents modernist interiors in former Czechoslovakia, capturing the unique heritage of the communist era, which is preserved in the Czech Republic and Slovakia better than anywhere else. The photographs were taken during six trips to both countries, and involved both careful planned and accidentally discovered locations. The series includes several dozen locations, each reflecting the cultural tendency of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic and Slovakia to preserve the original appearance of the interiors. These interiors are saturated with nuances related to space-age architecture, the space race and the Cold War. They reflect the authentic atmosphere of the era, preserving details such as the original furniture, decorations and colours, despite the passage of time. Together they create a unique image of the area’s modernist heritage, which is a testimony to the historical and cultural richness of the Czech Republic and Slovakia."
Beach Cottages in Ærø by Julia Mustonen-Dahlkvist, Finland
Series Description: "For this series, I captured the tranquil beauty of five beach cottages on Denmark’s picturesque Ærø island, as they were bathed in gentle morning light. As each of these coastal treasures awakened in the Scandinavian sunrise it revealed its individual style and charm; the photographs encapsulate their allure as they blend gracefully with the breaking day."
RELATED NEWS Winners unveiled for the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards Architecture & Design Category
RELATED NEWS These are the winners in the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards Architecture & Design Category
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