While I don’t consider myself to be an architectural photographer by any stretch of the imagination, I am drawn to compelling design regardless of function. As a result I am occasionally asked to photograph architecture. Most recently, as part of an extensive campaign for Strawberry Frog, New York, I had the opportunity to shoot Capital Gate and Ethiad Towers in Abu Dhabi, and the Burj Dubai in Dubai.
In a city known for its vertical outlandishness and neck-craning beauty, there may not be a skyscraper more outlandish than Capital Gate (pictured above). Known as the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi, it was constructed INTENTIONALLY to incline eighteen degrees - versus the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which only tilts five-and-a-half degrees as the result of UNINTENTIONALLY poor foundation. As the result, Guinness World Records certified Capital Gate as the world's “farthest manmade leaning building.” Crazy.
While in Abu Dhabi, I also was commissioned to photograph the Etihad Towers above. A complex of buildings with five towers, it probably is most recognizable to Americans as the filming location of the Fast And Furious 7 movie in which Vin Diesel’s character steals a Lykan HyperSport and drives it through three of its towers.
What is widely known is that the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (above and below) is the tallest building on the planet. Almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building, “starscraper” might be a better moniker for it than skyscraper. What is less known is that the Burj Khalifa was arguably inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright design. On the left is a photograph of the Burj that I took last year. On the right is Wright’s 1956 sketch for The Illinois, which was to be one-mile high and contain 528 stories. Technically unfeasible at the time, it was, of course, never built. It did become, however, the supreme architectural standard for vertical outlandishness and neck-craning beauty. Flash forward to 2008, and there in Dubai lives Wright’s inspiration in all its crazy starcraping glory. I wonder what Mr. Wright would think of the engineering finally catching up to his imagination?