A few months ago I was contacted by Wallpaper Magazine to photograph a residence called the Integral House for a feature about the designers, Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe of Shim Sutcliffe Architects (above). It’s an astonishing structure. At times, parts of the house seemed to have a vaguely mid-century-modern meets Arts and Crafts aesthetic, but in totality it was so singular and fully realized as to almost be an architectural style unto itself. Every aspect of the building, from the texture of the materials to the door and stairway hardware right down to the play of light as it changed throughout the day was considered and refined and seemingly tailor-made for the space.

Walter Pater famously said  ”All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music” — but that was before architects and photographers attained the cultural respect and artistic status they have today. I’ve often thought that photography should in fact aspire to the condition of architecture. There is a utility and inevitability about a great building, a harmony of method and emotion that I find very affecting, and I often feel the same way when I see a photo that really grabs me. In both instances it’s almost as though I’ve entered for a moment into the artist’s mind, and afterwards the “real world” seems uncanny and somehow wrong, for a little while at least.

So many things billed as once-in-a-lifetime are in reality anything but. The Integral House however is utterly unlike anywhere I’ve ever been and I’m extremely thankful to have been asked to photograph there.

 

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One Response to Integral House, for Wallpaper magazine

  1. danny g says:

    Someone brought up “laminar flow” tonight and I thought, “Damn, I hope Derek Shapton is still making music.”

    Not that I’m saying you should spend less time on photography, but damn I miss those songs of yours from the wayback days.

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