Public Buildings

BH2 Bournemouth by Broadway Malyan by Alex Upton

BH2 Bournemouth Leisure and Shopping Centre designed by Broadway Malyan Architects. Photography Copyright © Alex Upton

BH2 Bournemouth Leisure and Shopping Centre designed by Broadway Malyan Architects. Photography Copyright © Alex Upton

Not just working as an architectural photographer in London, occasionally I manage to escape the confines of the city and photograph projects slightly further afield. It was with enthusiasm, during the apex of the summer heat, last year, that I accepted a job in the coastal town of Bournemouth. In the town centre international architectural practice Broadway Malyan had just completed the new BH2 Leisure complex for the developer Lucrum Holdings. I was commissioned by my client Structura to go along and document the building by taking a series of external photographs showing the building in context to its central location and the site in active use by the public.

BH2 Bournemouth utilises a building material called Kalwall which allows light to permeate through the buildings facade.

BH2 Bournemouth utilises a building material called Kalwall which allows light to permeate through the buildings facade.

The BH2 Leisure complex houses a state of the art Odeon Cinema with 10 screens, a variety of restaurants for shoppers needing to recharge after a few hours of energy draining retail therapy and an array of shops alongside a spacious car park. The development is located adjacent to Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens, an idyllic haven of green and multifarious flora where one can relax after having visited the leisure centre. In several of the photographs of BH2 Leisure centre a Church is visible in the background, as pictured above, in a slightly unrelated fact, this turns out to be now utilised as a night club.

BH2 Leisure offers both retail and shopping facilities.

BH2 Leisure offers both retail and shopping facilities.

Architecturally the building utilises a number of materials and contrasting forms throughout its large footprint. As well as sections of curved timber panelling and screens, the building makes use of Kalwall’s translucent facade panels. Regular readers of this blog maybe familiar with them as they have featured in a number of projects I have previously photographed for the same client, these include photography of both Dale Youth Boxing Club and Benenden Hospital. The panels mostly feature around the section of the building which houses the Odeon cinema. Since they can only be appreciated fully towards the evening when they allow the buildings interior light to permeate the outer structure, I waited until dusk to carry out most of the architectural photography.

Architectural Photography of BH2 Leisure centres Odeon Cinema.

Architectural Photography of BH2 Leisure centres Odeon Cinema.

From an architectural photographers perspective the building presents a few challenges, the large trees of the Lower Gardens park, that encompass the building on one of its main elevations, limited the distance the camera can be setup from it, meaning it was very tricky to take images from certain angles. Another aspect was the amount of people around the leisure centre itself, inevitably such places are busy, and while clients want to show their buildings in use, images with too many people in can often look cluttered, so waiting for that harmonious balance of architecture with just the right amount of people can require some patience.

The roadside elevation of the BH2 development leading to the main entrance.

The roadside elevation of the BH2 development leading to the main entrance.

Having spent a whole day photographing the leisure centre I became well acquainted with the shops, restaurants and the environment in which it is situated. Architecturally Broadway Malyan have made good use of the site on which it sits, allowing the building to organically following the contours of the park. The alternating forms and materials keep the building interesting as one navigates around and through it, with certain areas and their utilisation delineated by these changes. As with all the other buildings I have photographed which utilise the unique glowing facade system the material really adds an extra dimension to the structure, bringing it to life in the evening. I can only hope that I am commissioned to photograph more buildings in such nice coastal towns in the future.

The restaurants and path around the leisure centre with Lower Gardens to the right.

The restaurants and path around the leisure centre with Lower Gardens to the right.

Project Team:

Architect: Broadway Malyan
Client: Legal & General (Lucrum Holdings)
Main Contractor: Vinci Construction
Photography Client: Structura UK / Kalwall
Architectural Photographer: Alex Upton

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid by Alex Upton

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Ok, so i'm six year late to the party, but Zaha Hadid's London Aquatics Centre has matured like a fine wine and is still a elegant structure to photograph. Completed for the 2012 London Olympics the building has since undergone several external face-lifts. Long gone are the wing like structures that once protruded from the east and west elevation - providing increased seating capacity for the events - and now in their place are aqua blue panes of glazing.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012.

These glass panels once afforded the public a blurry view to the inner sanctum where sweeping concrete forms, enveloping the amphibious inhabitants, could just about be discerned. Alas in one final transition to exclude all but those intent on getting wet from seeing this amazing structure an opaque film of aqua blue now lines the windows.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012.

One of the most favorable changes to the exterior, whether intentional or simply a sign of neglect, is the revealing of the natural wooded surface under the once grey panels which form the sweeping, wave like structure of the roof. They now give the building the appearance that it is slowly succumbing to rust. Given its intended use and the allusions to waves that the roof suggests this is a fitting turn of events.

I currently have many new architectural photography projects to reveal on my site in the coming months so please keep checking back or follow me on social media to stay up to date.

Benenden Hospital Redevelopment by Alex Upton

Benenden Hospital Reception Area 2017. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Benenden Hospital Reception Area 2017. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Location: Benenden, Cranbrook, Kent, UK
Contractor: Willmott Dixon
Photography Client: Structura / Kalwall
Architects: CA Vaughan Blundell QS, Moreton Hayward M&E and Richard Stephens Partnership

Located in the south east county of Kent, Benenden Hospital, an Independent flagship facility for Benenden Hospital Trust, recently underwent a major £45 million redevelopment. The new facilities include operating theatres, single en-suite rooms, an ophthalmic suite,  a new outpatient department, procedure rooms and recovery areas.

Benenden Hospital Waiting Room

Benenden Hospital Waiting Room

I was commissioned in late 2017 to photograph the interior of the facility, which features a large new atrium roof glazed in the client Kalwall's unique panels - the same material featured in my photography of the RIBA award winning West Croydon Bus Station. The translucent Kalwall panels allow daylight to permeate the waiting rooms creating a bright, welcoming environment for the patients. These two projects show the potential diversity of the products application and how its specific placement and incorporation into the architecture can contribute both aesthetically and functionally in a variety of ways.

Benenden Hospital Waiting Room

Benenden Hospital Waiting Room

The Interior design services were carried out by the West Midland's based practice Design Buro. Through the layout of the furniture and the application of colour to various features the interior spaces have been simplified aiding the users experience and making it easy to navigate the building. The materials themselves while not all natural reference nature through texture and colour masking the often utilitarian design of hospitals.

Benenden Hospital Reception Area

Benenden Hospital Reception Area

The parts of the scheme I had access to photograph work really well, they are both spacious and open whilst also accommodating for privacy, with the furniture creating partially secluded zones. The use of two tones of flooring, which are employed to delineate the various pathways through the hospital, help guide the patients to their destination - breaking with the notoriously labyrinth like layouts of older hospitals.

Benenden Hospital Atrium Roof

Benenden Hospital Atrium Roof

If you are interested in seeing more architectural photographs of Benenden Hospital's redevelopment and the interior design work carried out there by Design Beru please visit my portfolio in the navigation bar above.

Newport Street Gallery by Caruso St John by Alex Upton

Newport Street Gallery by London Architecture Studio Caruso St John. All images Copyright © Alex Upton

Newport Street Gallery by London Architecture Studio Caruso St John. All images Copyright © Alex Upton

Located in Vauxhall, London, just a short walk from the Thames River and running parallel to an elevated section of railway is architectural practice Caruso St John’s Newport Street Gallery. The building opened its doors to the public in early 2015. As an architectural photographer I was excited to pay a visit since hearing about the inaugural exhibition of work by Sheffield-born abstract painter John Hoyland last year and had been intending to make a trip there with my camera to photograph the buildings impressive interior and exterior spaces. The recent exhibition of work by artist Jeff Koons provided such an opportunity.

Architectural Photography of Newport Street Gallery’s Main Entrance.

Architectural Photography of Newport Street Gallery’s Main Entrance.

The gallery is comprised of several former theatre warehouses which have been converted by London architecture studio Caruso St John to house Damien Hirst’s growing collection of contemporary art which consists of some 3000 or so pieces. The 3,400 square-meter gallery, although large, isn't capable of such a feat, but still provides ample space for individual artist shows. In addition to the exhibition space the building also contains a restaurant called the Pharmacy², which takes Damien Hirst’s iconic Medicine Cabinet installations as its point of reference for both the name and its interior design inspiration. Located at the opposite end of the gallery, in a space separate from the rest of the building, is a shop where books and selected works and prints can be purchased.

Contrasting the old and new brickwork along Newport Street Gallery’s facade.

Contrasting the old and new brickwork along Newport Street Gallery’s facade.

In the wake of its opening the building has slowly been picking up a host of prestigious awards, most notably the RIBA 2016 Stirling Prize, along with the RIBA National Award 2016 and RIBA London Award 2016. In addition to this it also picked up the top prize at the Brick Development Association (BDA) Brick Awards for its well considered juxtaposition of old and new brickwork which makes up the facade. The architectural photography I took of the buildings exterior aims to convey this integration of old and new brickwork, showing the irregular transitions and multicoloured surfaces that come together to form the buildings outer skin.

A sense of architectural scale - contrasting the former industrial warehouse with the galleries new office space.

A sense of architectural scale - contrasting the former industrial warehouse with the galleries new office space.

The galleries close proximity to the adjacent railway line makes it tricky to photograph the building’s exterior in its entirety face-on, which is unfortunate for the changes in brickwork, architectural detailing and form would look great from this perspective. Yet with this minor limitation the architectural photographs of Newport Street Gallery which I took still look great when solely focusing on individual segments of the building. A case in point, the image above contrasts the structure of the former industrial warehouse with the newly built section housing the galleries office space.

Interior Photography of Newport Street Gallery Exhibition Space - Artwork by Jeff Koons.

Interior Photography of Newport Street Gallery Exhibition Space - Artwork by Jeff Koons.

Moving inside, the galleries interiors spaces are bright and spacious, as would be expected of a modern gallery, with high ceilings providing ample space to accommodate large sculptures and installations; Jeff Koons’s giant stainless steel sculpture of a balloon-shaped dog was occupying such a space at the time of writing. With interior photography being reliant on the use of a tripod to stabilise the camera, and this being a personal visit, I only managed to capture a few handheld images from inside, but would love the opportunity to return one day and photograph the space with the necessary photographic equipment.

One of the nicest architectural features inside the gallery are the spiral staircases which provide access to the galleries second floor of exhibition space. The staircases themselves, of which there are three, all slightly different in form and geometry, are surrounded by a white engineered brick which follows their curvature all the way to the top of the building. 

Photography of Newport Street Galleries Spiral Staircase.

Photography of Newport Street Galleries Spiral Staircase.

Newport Street Gallery is an incredibly successful piece of architecture, it manages to be subtle yet captivating, the more elaborate and expressive parts of the building are restricted to the stairwells and exterior while the artworks are allowed to take centre stage in the exhibition spaces. This careful balance of creating a beautifully detailed building which fails to overshadow the artwork is quite an achievement and something which is often neglected in many new-build art galleries. Here artwork and architecture exist in harmony, so whether you are going to appreciate the artwork, architecture, or both, you will no doubt be impressed by at least one of them.

Project Team:

Architect: Caruso St John (Peter St John)
Client: Science UK Limited (Damien Hirst)
Main Contractor: Walter Lilly
M&E consultant: Max Fordham
M&E contractor:
 Piggott and Whitfield
Architectural Photographer: Alex Upton