CIOB’s Art of Building show wows Chengdu

The CIOB in China has turned the institute’s renowned online photography competition, Art of Building, into a popular, live exhibition in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Art of Building celebrates the creativity of the built environment sector, the passion of the people who work in it, and the impact their work has on the public.

This year’s competition received more than 1,500 entries from around the world. They were whittled down to a final 12 by judges before the world’s public were given the chance to vote online for their favourite.

Now, those 12 pictures and 16 from previous competitions are on display in a gallery at the Yanlord shopping centre in Chengdu’s central business district.

The exhibition was made possible by the lifting of Covid restrictions at the beginning the year.

  • See all 12 Art of Building finalist photographs here

Extended by popular demand

CIOB in China initially planned for the exhibition to run from 24 February to 24 March, but sponsor Yanlord asked for for it to be extended to 16 April owing to the show’s popularity.

Some 8,000 people visit the Yanlord mall every day.

“I am so glad we could have the very first offline Art of Building photography exhibition here in China,” said Nancy Lai, marketing manager for CIOB in China. “We hope this exhibition will bring people closer to the built environment, as well as celebrating the humanity behind the significant buildings.”

She added that the exhibition has made it into local press and trendy social media channels.

“The Art of Building competition is an excellent way to highlight the built environment, not only to our members but a much broader audience in the industry and society as a whole,” said Steve Corry, CIOB’s associate director of international market development. “We are delighted on this occasion to be presenting the competition to audiences in Southwest China.”

As well as the exhibition, CIOB in China organised an event entitled “International Construction Projects Talent Cultivation and Professional Development” on 5 March at Chengdu’s Tsutaya Bookstore.

What the people chose

Photographers Francesca Pompei of Italy and Pati John of the Netherlands each won £1,500 for winning this year’s Art of Building, which is the world’s biggest built-environment photography contest.

Francesca Pompei’s work, “White Constellation”, got the most public votes, and so won the People’s Choice award.

It depicts the UAE Pavilion at last year’s Dubai Expo, designed by Swiss-Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

Pompei described the pavilion as “a symbol of resilience and of a boundless future embracing a dialogue among different cultures.”

Judges’ choice

The judges’ favourite this year was “My own little cosmos within reach” by Pati John, showing the night sky from inside a shopping mall.

She described her shot as “the most beautiful milky way I have seen – surrounded by amazing architectural symmetry.”

“I discovered this astonishing view looking up while I walked around the mall,” John said. “It was breathtaking so I stayed there for a long time with my tripod and ND filter to capture every detail in my long exposure shot.”

Joanna Quirk, chief operating officer at CIOB, who was on the judging panel for the competition, said: “So many finalists managed to create a sense of mood and place, it was a delight to judge the competition. Francesca’s image shows the beauty and harmony in great architecture and it is a reminder of the impact on our emotions and well-being that well-designed buildings can have.

“Pati John’s little cosmos shot had all the judges wowed at the tone it struck. It is a beautifully symmetrical shot and revealed a wonderful building detail that many of us might just walk by. We should look up more often and pay attention to what is around us. The night sky was the perfect backdrop for this enchanting image.”

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