Iwan Baan: Moments in Architecture

Iwan Baan is one of today’s leading photographers of architecture and the built environment. His images document the growth of global megacities, explore traditional and informal housing structures, and portray buildings by prominent contemporary architects including Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, Kazuyo Sejima, and Tatiana Bilbao. From October 2023 to March 2024, the Vitra Design Museum presents the first major retrospective of Baan’s oeuvre. The exhibition »Iwan Baan: Moments in Architecture« reflects the photographer’s wide scope by drawing up a panorama of global architecture in the early twenty-first century, of its urban and social contexts, and of the people who use it.

The rise of digital media over the past thirty years has fundamentally changed the world of photography and architecture. Images of new buildings become available in real time, promoting the rise of architects, influencing design processes, and making architecture a visual commodity. No other photographer has shaped these developments as emphatically as Iwan Baan. Baan’s photography is quick, precise, and crisp – and it can be deeply human and poetic. He knows how to make a building look great, but he also captures the moments when architecture comes alive, when plans are made, when workers rest, when people move in or out. Many iconic images of the past two decades were shot by Baan, from the »official« portraits of architectural landmarks to photos of Manhattan in the dark after hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The exhibition features examples from all areas of Baan’s work since the early 2000s and includes film footage as well as rarely published photographs of traditional and informal architecture around the world – from the round Yaodong villages of China to the rock-hewn churches of Ethiopia, from self-built multi-storey dwellings in Cairo to the Torre David in Caracas. »What's important is the story,« Iwan Baan says, »which is very intuitive and fluid. I am not so interested in the timeless architectural image as much as the specific moment in time, the place, and the people there – all the unexpected, unplanned moments in and around the space, how people interact with that space, and the stories that are unfolding there.«

Iwan Baan, Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Center, Plasencia, Spain, 2017, Architecture: SelgasCano © Iwan Baan
2023.10.21 - 2024.3.03
Vitra Design Museum
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
79576 Weil Am Rhein
Vitra Design Museum
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