Building Stories by Alastair Philip Wiper
Alastair Philip Wiper’s latest photography book, Building Stories, published by Danish Architectural Press, explores the hidden stories within the world of architecture. From nuclear test sites to Steve Jobs’ childhood home and the toilet of a late Albanian dictator, Wiper’s hyper-realistic, cinematic images transport readers into a realm where buildings have personalities, each with its own compelling narrative.
For thirteen years, Alastair Philip Wiper captured the eerie beauty of both overlooked and famous structures around the world. Ordinary supermarket parking lots in Denmark, top-secret government laboratories in the U.S., the works of Marcel Breuer in France, and towering skyscrapers in Hong Kong, are just a few of the protagonists in his photographs, which are created through long exposures of several minutes, and feature vibrant colors, moody atmospheres, and a touch of black humor.
‘I want to bring viewers into a fantasy world where their interpretation of the buildings escapes reality, and people make up their own stories about the personalities of these buildings, those that designed them, and those that use them,’ shares the British photographer.
‘Apple-2’ house used in atomic bomb test at the Nevada National Security Site, Nevada, USA, 2022 | all images by Alastair Philip Wiper
technology, infrastructure, and humanity through the lens of Alastair Philip Wiper
Building Stories follows Alastair Philip Wiper’s previously acclaimed works (find more here) including Unintended Beauty (2020, Hatje Cantz), in which he vividly portrayed hidden industrial interiors such as shipyards, sausage factories, and particle accelerators (see designboom’s previous coverage here). Wiper’s unique perspective is underscored by his deep understanding of lines, symmetry, color, and a touch of fantasy. He engages with the machines, technology, and infrastructure that surround us, using them as a lens through which to explore humanity’s needs, desires, dreams, and questions of the universe.
When asked if his work can be considered architectural photography, Wiper replies,‘I suppose it’s about trying to capture the spirit of the building, whether or not that’s the spirit the architect wanted to be captured. I’m definitely trying to reflect an atmosphere or a sense of wonder. (…) I’m often taking pictures of things that have typically been designed for functional reasons and drawing out another side of them.’
2004 Olympic aquatic complex, Athens, Greece, 2015
Chalet l’Ours II, Avoriaz, France, 2012
the Danish National Archives (Landsarkivet), Copenhagen, Denmark, 2022
Vitra Schaudepot, Weil am Rhein, Germany, 2016
underground nuclear fallout shelter, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 2022
Pal’s sudden service drive-through burger restaurant, Tennessee, USA, 2022