The Lucas - a spectacular Boston South End residential project marries the old with the new

Boston, like every major city in the US, has seen its share of the luxury residential construction boom. From the new skyscrapers in the Seaport district to the Millennium Towers downtown, we've seen quite a few spectacular projects. Much of it has been new construction replacing the old.

The Lucas, a recently completed 33-unit luxury condo complex, however, is unlike anything Boston has seen before. This elegant South End residential project transforms the former 1874 Holy Trinity German Church into a boutique, eight story condo building.

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Located at 136 Shawmut Avenue, the project is a joint venture between New Boston Ventures and Metric Corporation. It was designed by the award-winning Boston architecture firm Finegold Alexander Architects.

The beautiful new design marries the original design of 19th century Irish-American architect Patrick Keely. It preserves the historical church's pudding-stone exteriors and adds a contemporary eight story steel and glass structure shooting through the original building.

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The Lucas is a testament to balancing preservation with vibrant new uses of historical structures in an urban setting. I am thankful and honored to have had the opportunity to photograph and document this new gem in the South End for it's architects and developers.

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Two framed prints from Cape Cod Lighthouses series hang at Mooncusser Fish House, Boston

If you happen to visit Mooncusser Fish House restaurant or the Moon Bar in the Boston back bay area, you might notice two 24"x30" framed prints from my Cape Cod Lighthouses series.

Long Point Light, Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

Long Point Light, Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

Highland Light, Truro, Cape Cod, MA

Highland Light, Truro, Cape Cod, MA

Mooncusser Fish House and the Moon Bar which opened in August this year have quickly made a name in the Boston restaurant scene and is rated among the top 25. Ian Calhoun, who owns the restaurant recently purchased and put up the two framed prints - the one of the Long Point Light in Provincetown and the milkyway is in the upstairs dining room, and the one of the Highland Light in Truro in the late afternoon light is in the wine bar downstairs.

The name of the restaurant and Ian's choice of the lighthouse themed photographs from Cape Cod have a direct connection. The restaurant's name is inspired by Ian’s childhood summers on Mooncusser Lane in East Dennis in Cape Cod.

Mooncussers were land-based pirates who, on dark moonless nights along dangerous coasts would demolish any legitimate lighthouses or beacons, erect a decoy light or fire in a rocky, deliberately misleading location, and then, after having caused a shipwreck would subdue any survivors and plunder the wreckage. This strategy wouldn't work on a moonlit night and so the pirate might be expected to curse at the moon - hence their name mooncussers.

The sea food inspired dishes there are all thoughtfully and impeccably prepared. I have dined at the Moon Bar a couple of times already and can't wait to go back.

Interiors photography for a PRISM 2017 Award winning kitchen remodel project

My heartfelt gratitude to David Sharff Architect, P.C. and Jill Breed for the opportunity to be the photographer for another BRAGB (Builders and Re-modelers Association of Greater Boston) PRISM Award winning project. This kitchen remodel project was awarded PRISM 2017 Silver for kitchen remodels in the $125K-150K category. I'm very honored to be part of this award winning team.

Snapshot of Award announcement from the 2016 PRISM Book of Winners

Snapshot of Award announcement from the 2016 PRISM Book of Winners

The lead image for the project showing the kitchen and the adjoining sections of the residence

The lead image for the project showing the kitchen and the adjoining sections of the residence

More images from the project are below

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Image from Mass Audubon, Worcester Project in ABX 2017 Photo Exhibit

I'm thrilled and honored that one of the images of the Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook's new Barbara Elliot Fargo Education Center, that I made for my client Maple Hill Architects will be among the very select few to be displayed at the ABX 2017 Photo Exhibit by the Boston Society of Architects. The annual ABX international exhibition, which is the largest building industry conference and trade show in the northeastern US will be held from Nov 8-10 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

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Maple Hill Architects redesigned and renovated the Barbara Elliot Fargo Education Center in Worcester, MA with a green environmentally friendly design that harnesses solar power, natural light and rain water in innovative ways.

A few additional images from that project are below.

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Here's to hoping a speeding ticket will slow summer down

Another summer officially comes to an end today, and phew, did this one fly by. Is it just me or does it really seem to go by faster every year?

To me, summer is a time, for humid days and balmy nights,
To feel the grass beneath your feet and the sand between your toes,
Of curtains dancing in the breeze and afternoon naps on the hammock,
Bike rides around town, hikes along fields, and meadows of wild flowers,
For morning swims in the lake and peering over a book to watch a evening thunderstorm pass by.

It's a time to reconnect and rejuvenate, but at summer's end, you regret the missed opportunities and things you meant to get done. Then you wait for the next one ...

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First Prize in the PDN Great Outdoors 2017, Wildlife category

The Photo District News magazine just announced the results of their 2017 Great Outdoors Contest. I'm honored and humbled to have won first prize in the professional section of the wildlife category.

I'm fortunate to have access to locations in our beautiful New England region where I can observe and photograph birds and animals in their natural habitat. In May, I was lucky enough to capture this female red fox and her kit as they went about their day on the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Watching the fondness, tenderness, and bond between the mother fox and her kit was magical. In many ways, it symbolizes the bond between any mother and child. It shows how these animals aren't very different from us humans.

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Kumartuli in Kolkata, India - where the Mother Goddess Durga begins her journey

The potters and clay artisans of Kumartuli - the neighborhood in North Kolkata where the community of traditional potters and artisans live and work, have been toiling for the past several weeks to build and decorate the Durga idols (or "protima" which means image or likeness of a deity in Sanskrit) in time for Durga Puja which is just a few weeks away beginning on Sept 26th this year. This annual 5-day festival, a celebration of the 10-armed mother goddess Durga, and her victory over the shape-shifting buffalo demon - Mahisasura, symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. It's the most popular religious and social festival in Bengal and parts of eastern India, especially Kolkata. Life size and larger idols of Durga made of clay are worshiped in elaborately decorated stages called pandals in a public space in every locality and neighborhood of the city.

A Durga idol in progress is visible through a tear in the tarp of one artist's makeshift studio

A Durga idol in progress is visible through a tear in the tarp of one artist's makeshift studio

A partially completed Durga idol in a studio in one of the alleyways of Kumartulli

A partially completed Durga idol in a studio in one of the alleyways of Kumartulli

An artisan paints the idol in a dimly lit makeshift studio in one of the alleys of Kumartulli

An artisan paints the idol in a dimly lit makeshift studio in one of the alleys of Kumartulli

This was my first ever visit to Kumartuli. The best time to visit is in the weeks just before Durga Puja when the hum of activity here is at its peak. The artisans here are renowned for their traditional craft and art in idol making and have been supplying the idols for Durga Puja not just across Kolkata and Bengal, but also exporting idols used in Pujas in Bengali communities all across the world.

A young Bengali girl in a traditional sari walks past a Durga idol that is still being built

A young Bengali girl in a traditional sari walks past a Durga idol that is still being built

A young artisan applies a fresh coat to prevent the clay idols from cracking as they dry

A young artisan applies a fresh coat to prevent the clay idols from cracking as they dry

An artisan builds a straw frame on which he will apply wet clay to prepare an idol

An artisan builds a straw frame on which he will apply wet clay to prepare an idol

Strapped for time, I was only able to go to Kumartuli once on this trip. One visit is just not enough to get a sense of the tradition, artistry and rhythm of this place. I hope to make it back there again during this time of the year on another visit to Kolkata.

Making the idol's face and painting the eyes requires an artisan with special skill

Making the idol's face and painting the eyes requires an artisan with special skill

Sibling Collaboration in Kolkata, India

While in Kolkata, India to visit my parents, I was able to take some time to photograph a residential project that my youngest brother's firm Internal Affairs, a leading interior design organization in the region, just recently completed. The two-level residence occupies the top 22nd and 23rd floors of one of the five towers of Tata Housing's Eden Court luxury complex in New-Town, Kolkata. Though my brother is an interior designer and I a photographer specializing in architectural interiors and exteriors, we never had an opportunity to collaborate on a photo shoot for one his designed spaces. The timing of my short India visits and the completion of one of his projects never seemed to align well. So when this opportunity came about we both knew we had to make it happen. 

One of five luxury high rise towers in Eden Court where this residence occupies the top two floors

One of five luxury high rise towers in Eden Court where this residence occupies the top two floors

Living room with double height ceiling

Living room with double height ceiling

Another view of the living room, bar and the hallway leading to the dining and kitchen areas

Another view of the living room, bar and the hallway leading to the dining and kitchen areas

Living room and the view from the balcony overlooking New-Town and surrounding areas

Living room and the view from the balcony overlooking New-Town and surrounding areas

The dining area with a section of the stairway leading to upper floor visible on the left

The dining area with a section of the stairway leading to upper floor visible on the left

The office & study and a view of the New-Town neighborhood at dusk from the balcony

The office & study and a view of the New-Town neighborhood at dusk from the balcony

Master bedroom with a view of the New-Town neighborhood at dusk from the balcony

Master bedroom with a view of the New-Town neighborhood at dusk from the balcony

A view from the master bedroom balcony as dusk settles over the New-Town area

A view from the master bedroom balcony as dusk settles over the New-Town area

It was fun to photograph this space my brother designed where he combined elements of traditional Indian with a modern flair to create an airy, naturally lit, open and a functionally elegant space.

Hope this is the first of many more such sibling collaborations to come.

Recreational shellfishing in Eastham, Cape Cod

Recreational shellfishing is a very integral part of the Cape Cod way of life. There is a very rich tradition of shellfishing in the estuaries, coves and bays of Cape Cod as a leisure activity for both residents and visitors alike.

On a recent late afternoon hike along the marsh trails close to Hemenway Landing in Eastham, I came across James and Allison harvesting shellfish in the estuary as the tide was going out.

The late afternoon light was gorgeous. After exchanging a few pleasantries, I asked if I could photograph them while they harvested shellfish. Allison and James very graciously agreed. I ran to my car, put on my rubber boots, grabbed my camera, ran back and got into the mud to photograph. Moving around in the soft sinking mud with my camera gear was much harder than I had anticipated. I was amazed at how easily the two of them moved around. After a while my rubber boots got stuck and James had to lend a hand and help me get out. Allison mentioned that having the rake helps in situations like that. Will keep that in mind the next time.

We soon got back on solid ground and marveled at the bounty they had just harvested. Their 10-quart wire basket (that's the weekly limit) was full to the brim with little necks, quahogs, mussels, razor clams and scallops.

James and Allison are both from the Cape, who grew up in Eastham and now live in Brewster. James was ready to go back and put some of the shellfish on the grill for supper. I thanked my new friends for letting me photograph them and bid good bye as they headed back to their vehicle with their harvest from the ocean. They will be back here again next week.

Recreational shellfishing in the Cape is regulated. Permits are available to residents and nonresidents alike in the area towns at the local Natural Resources office or Town Hall. Permits can be annual, seasonal and weekly and can range anywhere from $10 for residents, to $200 for non-residents. Permits generally allow the holder to harvest up to ten quarts of shellfish per week. There is no limit to the number of helpers but the person whose name is on the permit must be present. Also, the permit must be carried while shellfishing. There are also size restrictions for shellfish that can be harvested so it's useful to have a shellfish gauge handy. Shellfish that are too small should be dumped back into the water for another season's harvesting.

The local towns have shellfishing maps to indicate which areas are open for shellfishing. Here's the one for the town of Eastham. It's always a good idea to check since some areas can be closed due to pollution like red tide.

Featured in the Boston Society of Architects' 2017 Homeowner's Project Handbook

So glad to be in the 2017 Homeowner’s Project Handbook which is part of a very exciting year for the Boston Society of Architects/AIA celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

Two residential interior images I made for David Sharff Architect PC are featured in pages 24 and 25 of the 2017 Homeowner’s Project Handbook, which is an annual publication of the BSA that enjoys a circulation of 12,500 and is mailed with the Boston Home magazine.

Cover, pages 24 & 25 of the Boston Society of Architects' 2017 Homeowner's Project Handbook

Cover, pages 24 & 25 of the Boston Society of Architects' 2017 Homeowner's Project Handbook

Two of the photographs of residential interiors featured in BSA's 2017 HPH

Two of the photographs of residential interiors featured in BSA's 2017 HPH

Grand Prize in James Hardie 2017 Design Contest

Thrilled and honored that an architectural project I photographed on 445 Main Street, Medfield, MA, for my client David Sharff Architects, won the Grand Prize in the 2017 James Hardie Design Contest.

In March we were announced as one of the five finalists. The Grand Prize winner was then decided by public voting that ran till March 24th on James Hardie's website, and the winner was announced at the end of April at the AIA 2017 Conference in Orlando, FL.

James Hardie, a leading international building materials company and the world leader in fiber cement siding, held the contest for architects from across the U.S. and Canada for multi-family and commercial projects showing off the design versatility of their products. The contest gave architectural firms the opportunity to showcase their top multi-family and commercial projects featuring James Hardie® products. More than 170 entries were submitted for a chance to receive a grand prize package, including a full-page ad in Dwell magazine and a custom video shoot.

I photographed this building, known as James Ord's Block, which was originally built in 1891. My architect client completely renovated and restored it for commercial and residential use and utilized HardiePlank® lap siding with ColorPlus® Technology.

In order to show case and photograph the building in the best possible light I went there on three different occasions. On the first visit, I photographed it early in the morning with the warm morning light hitting the front and right sides of the building.

On the next visit I photographed in the late afternoon sunlight and stayed on until dusk to photograph as well.

For one of the dusk photographs I wanted a higher vantage point. So I went back again on a Thursday, which is the one day each week that the Medfield Town Hall next door stays open until later in the evening. I requested and was granted access to a third floor office and photographed from an open window. That gave me the higher vantage point of the building at dusk I wanted and was able to make a more compelling image .

For my architectural work my goal is to always photograph and showcase the buildings in the best possible light that brings out the building's character and tells a story. Like in this case, that often requires me to visit the site at different times of day and photograph from different angles and vantage points.

Dealing with extremes in my architectural photography

In my architectural photography work, I often make images where I use techniques and styles that occupy opposite ends of the spectrum. Some images are made hand-held with fast shutter speeds and in bright sunlight. Others are shot at dusk and require a tripod and a neutral density filter to further reduce the amount of light to allow for very long exposures and shutter speeds of 60 seconds or more.

Below are two architectural photographs from some recent personal work that cover the two extremes of the kind of images I like to make. One is an interior shot in bright daylight with a mother and child in the image to provide a sense of place and scale. Since I was hand holding the camera and there was movement of people all around, I had to make the image quickly with a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. I framed the image such that only the mother and child are visible within the frame.

The other image is a long exposure dusk shot with vehicle trails but no people in sight. To get multiple vehicle trails I needed a long exposure of 60 seconds or more. To be able to expose for that long without blowing out the details in the lit portions of the building I had to use a neutral density filter to cut down the amount of light hitting my camera's sensor.

A mother and child taking a break in the Shapiro Family Courtyard of the new east wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The new wing designed by Norman Foster + Partners opened in 2010

Vehicles create trails as they whiz past the Christa McAuliffe Branch of the Framingham Library at dusk. The new building designed by Finegold Alexander Architects opened in 2016

A rare winter visitor in New England - the Great Gray Owl in Newport, NH

Great gray owls, the largest birds in the owl family, are rarely seen, if at all, in New England. This is one of those rare years when several of them have wandered south from their normal habitat in the northern boreal forests of Canada and Alaska to southern Canada and the northern U.S. in search of food.

The great gray owl diet consists mostly of small rodents. Those winters when prey is scarce, they move further south. There were numerous sightings in southern Canada this winter, and a few moved further south to Maine and New Hampshire.

I enjoy photographing birds of prey especially owls. And a great gray owl is a rare celebrity. A few Sundays ago, when a friend mentioned a great gray being sighted in Searsmont, ME, we made the 3.5 hour drive, braving the 12°F temps and 25 mph winds.

After driving around and locating the place of its most recent sighting, we unfortunately didn't get to see the bird. It was just too windy for it to come out. I would have been happy with just seeing one in the wild let alone photographing one. So after waking up at 4am to get there and driving around all day, it was a little disappointing.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been monitoring the online chatter on another sighting in Newport, NH, which is closer to my home at 2.5 hours away. Together with a couple of friends, we drove there last Sunday. Temps were 9°F with 15 mph wind gusts. Not too bad.

We got there around 9:30am and quickly found the area where the bird was last seen the day before. Very soon, more people who were also there to see the bird found it perched on a low branch next to a hedgerow, blending in with the background and sheltered from the winds under a tree on the edge of a large field.

A great gray owl blends well with the background as it grooms itself on its perch

A great gray owl blends well with the background as it grooms itself on its perch

The bird spent the next 6 hours in that same spot, alternating between napping, grooming and looking around at the increasing number of birders and photographers coming to see this visiting celebrity. There were at least 50 photographers and birders. Everyone kept their distance at a safe 80-90 feet from the bird.

Around 4pm, as the sun got closer to the horizon, the owl flew from its perch to a fence post on the other side of the field. The low sun lit the bird in a beautiful warm glow. The performance had begun.

The owl files off from its perch towards the open field to start hunting for prey

The owl files off from its perch towards the open field to start hunting for prey

A great gray owl usually hunts at night, dusk, and dawn by flying low over open areas, listening and watching from a perch, and swooping down when it locates prey. They locate rodents by sound and can plunge into snow up to a foot deep to catch them.

The owl flying low across the field listening for voles

The owl flying low across the field listening for voles

For the next hour and half, the bird flew around the field from perch to perch, looking for voles. We all watched in rapt attention as it swooped down, caught, and gulped down three of them.

Great gray owl with a vole which is their primary diet

Great gray owl with a vole which is their primary diet

I'm not sure if our celebrity owl was a female or a male. Like in all owls, the females are larger than males, and unless they are in a pair, it's almost impossible to tell a male from a female.

At 27 inches or more in length with a wing span of up to 60 inches, great gray owls are very impressive birds—larger than the great horned owl at 22 inches or even the snowy owl at 23 inches.

Making another run across the field with wings outstretched

Making another run across the field with wings outstretched

Their size, however, is deceiving and partly an illusion due to their very thick, fluffy plumage. At 2.4 pounds, their body size is smaller than the great horned owl (3.1 pounds) and the snowy owl (4 pounds). The feathers that make a great gray owl look so massive are also what keep it warm during winters in the cold northern latitudes.

Swooping down as it listens for another vole in the field

Swooping down as it listens for another vole in the field

According to the Audubon, the magnificent great gray owls are a climate endangered species. It was an amazing and humbling experience to be in the presence of one in the wild for those few hours and watch it hunt and feed. Not sure if I'll get another opportunity like this.

The great gray keeps hunting as the sun gets low behind the trees

The great gray keeps hunting as the sun gets low behind the trees

For our sake and theirs, it's more important now than ever before that we protect and preserve the boreal forests and make efforts to curb climate change.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC

During this recent visit to Washington DC, I was able to photograph the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). As the 19th and newest member of the Smithsonian Institution and its fabulous family of museums, this new museum is also jokingly referred to as the "Blacksonian". New York Times art critic Holland Cotter, picked the museum as his #1 choice for the Best Art of 2016

View of the Museum and the Washington Monument with the traffic on 14th Street at dawn

View of the Museum and the Washington Monument with the traffic on 14th Street at dawn

Thirteen years in the making, after being established by an Act of Congress in 2003, (or a century if you consider the 1916 congressional bill proposing “a monument or memorial to the memory of the negro soldiers and sailors”) the Museum opened to the public on Sept 24th 2016. It serves as an amazing reminder of the influence that African American culture has had not just on the US but also on how the rest of the world sings, dances, speaks, dresses, eats, plays and works. Built on the National Mall in Washington DC, it's right next to the Washington Monument and a short distance from the White House.

A street level view of the Museum from the intersection of 14th Street and Madison Drive

A street level view of the Museum from the intersection of 14th Street and Madison Drive

The design and construction of the Museum was one of the largest and most complex architectural projects completed in 2016 in large part because of the challenges of constructing 60% of the structure below ground within the DC tidal basin.

The Museum and clouds reflected on the black granite retaining wall along Constitution Avenue

The Museum and clouds reflected on the black granite retaining wall along Constitution Avenue

The resulting design team of four architectural firms, Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup (FAB/S), was one of six finalists selected to present design proposals to the Smithsonian, ultimately winning the design competition in April of 2009, beating out other big name architects such as Moshe Safdie, I.M. Pei, and Norman Foster for the coveted $540 million government commission partly funded by countless small, and large private donations

View of the Museum from the main entrance with the shadow of the Washington Monument

View of the Museum from the main entrance with the shadow of the Washington Monument

The Museum and the Washington Monument reflected on the black granite retaining wall

The Museum and the Washington Monument reflected on the black granite retaining wall

View of the Museum as the sun sets over the National Mall

View of the Museum as the sun sets over the National Mall

The Museum which houses 36,000 artifacts throughout its 400,000 square foot space is more than just a museum - it is also a monument to African American history, community and culture.

According to the lead designer, the British Ghanaian architect David Adjaye, his team got the job by keeping those three aspects of the project in mind—history, community, and culture. It's an integral design aspect of the building's distinctive tripartite corona form which draws inspiration from the Yoruban Caryatid, a traditional wooden column which features a crown or corona at its top. The concept came from research into the beginnings of slavery in Central and West Africa and study of Yoruban culture. The below image of carved wood sculpture by the Nigerian artist Olowe of Ise shows the tripartite crown on the two figures on either side of the central column.

Yoruban caryatids and carved door - Image courtesy Rand African Art (www.randafricanart.com)

Yoruban caryatids and carved door - Image courtesy Rand African Art (www.randafricanart.com)

  Details of the bronze colored corona panels that give the Museum its distinctive shape

  Details of the bronze colored corona panels that give the Museum its distinctive shape

The bronze-colored corona panels draw inspiration from the ornate ironwork found in Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans. The design team studied this historic iron lattice work, in many cases created by enslaved Africans, and created the light-permeable façade of the museum by digitizing the traditional shapes and transposing them into a modern interpretation, scaled to the size and shape of the building.

    Details of the bronze colored corona panels on the front facade of the Museum

    Details of the bronze colored corona panels on the front facade of the Museum

   The distinctive Yoruban crown shape of the Museum and the bronze colored corona panels

   The distinctive Yoruban crown shape of the Museum and the bronze colored corona panels

The exterior design is successfully able to draw upon and beautifully meld familiar imagery from both African and American history.

In one of his interviews discussing the Museum, Mr. Adjaye says that the best way to experience the museum is by starting at the basement level. There, from the galleries portraying the origins of slavery, one climbs up to the upper levels to ultimately view a display about president Obama. He refers to this progression from the museum’s dark subterranean chambers to the bright and joyful galleries on the top floors evoking the African American “journey into the light”. “That’s the emotional power of architecture, to bring you into a journey and to give you uplift,” Adjaye said. “The greatest cathedrals, temples and shrines give you uplift, and I think architecture is best when it supports the narrative through the articulation of space.”

Visitors taking in the view of the Washington Monument from the Museum at dusk

Visitors taking in the view of the Washington Monument from the Museum at dusk

View of the Washington Monument and the Museum with the evening traffic on 14th Street

View of the Washington Monument and the Museum with the evening traffic on 14th Street

Business District featured in Entrepreneur magazine Dec 2016 issue

The Entrepreneur magazine Dec 2016 issue has an article in pages 34-35 about the growing popularity of co-working spaces and features my client Business District. Catering to a high-end clientele, Business District occupies the entire 17th floor of the I.M. Pei designed building on 177 Huntington Avenue, with a very swanky space and sweeping views of Boston.

I'm very happy that Entrepreneur chose to use one of the photographs I had made for Business District as the main image for that feature article.

Below are some of the other images from the set of photographs for Business District.

One of the common areas at Business District with plush sofas and sweeping views

One of the common areas at Business District with plush sofas and sweeping views

Pages 34 and 35 of Entrepreneur Dec 2016 issue.

Pages 34 and 35 of Entrepreneur Dec 2016 issue.

Main lobby and reception desk

Main lobby and reception desk

Living room and a view of the conference rooms, offices and hallway

Living room and a view of the conference rooms, offices and hallway

Cafe and common areas

Cafe and common areas

Outstanding Design Award for Austin Architects for BB&N Middle School Renovation

One of my clients, Austin Architects, was featured in the American School & University magazine's November 2016 issue for an Outstanding Design Award in the Middle School category for the Buckingham Brown and Nichols (BB&N) Middle School renovation project.

The majority of my architectural exterior and interior photography work is to usually photograph a project after it's completion. It's not very often that I get an opportunity such as the BB&N Middle School project on 80 Sparks Street, Cambridge, MA, to photograph and document the progress of a construction or renovation project from inception to completion. I was able to see how this well thought out and complex design emerged from the plans and renderings to become a beautifully constructed school building.

I first photographed it in August 2015, right after the construction had started. I photographed it periodically until the completion in June 2016 and then again most recently in October 2016. There are two defining architectural and design elements of this project that I primarily tried to showcase in the photographs I made - the new terrace that can be reached via a carefully inserted boardwalk beneath the canopy of two giant beech trees, and the two new student foyers that interconnect the buildings from different time periods to create a more open and modern common space.

Pages #44 and #45 of the AS&U Nov 2016 issue showcasing the BB&N Middle School project

Pages #44 and #45 of the AS&U Nov 2016 issue showcasing the BB&N Middle School project

Panorama of construction site in Aug 2015 shows original building raised from its foundations.

Panorama of construction site in Aug 2015 shows original building raised from its foundations.

View of the construction site in Dec 2015 showing the rebuilt foundation and the steel structure for the interconnecting foyers.

View of the construction site in Dec 2015 showing the rebuilt foundation and the steel structure for the interconnecting foyers.

Snow on the ground in Jan 2016 and major work on the boardwalk and the foyer are complete.

Snow on the ground in Jan 2016 and major work on the boardwalk and the foyer are complete.

Students enjoying the new terrace on a warm autumn afternoon

Students enjoying the new terrace on a warm autumn afternoon

The new walkway from the parking lot and the boardwalk lead up to the terrace and foyer

The new walkway from the parking lot and the boardwalk lead up to the terrace and foyer

Panoramic view of the second floor foyer and common areas

Panoramic view of the second floor foyer and common areas

A straight on view of the foyer and terrace under the shade of the giant beech.

A straight on view of the foyer and terrace under the shade of the giant beech.

A view of the boardwalk and new foyer of the school building at dusk

A view of the boardwalk and new foyer of the school building at dusk

The boardwalk lit by the lights underneath the railings lead up to the entrance and foyer

The boardwalk lit by the lights underneath the railings lead up to the entrance and foyer

Bridges are more interesting than walls .... don't you agree?

As an unusually acrimonious election cycle which definitely will be one for the record books, draws to a close, the talk about walls has been a dominant theme. Yet, regardless of who wins, I think it will take a lot of bridge building - figuratively speaking, both across and within, to get our country whole again or great again (or whichever other slogan you believe in)

As far as architecture goes, I think it's a whole lot more interesting and fun to design and build, or for that matter photograph, bridges than walls. Bridges have spanned countries and continents (and yes, there can be bridges to nowhere too - Alaska's cancelled Gravina project anyone?). In terms of an architectural structure that can have the most impact on humanity and progress, can't think of anything else that comes even close to touching that many lives in a more significant way.

As a photographer, bridges have always fascinated me with their lines, shapes, spans, heights and the variety of angles to photograph them from. Two cities that are close to my heart - Boston on the east coast and San Francisco on the west, both have some iconic bridges.

Here are a few of my favorite recent bridge images from Boston and San Francisco.

Zakim Bridge, Boston

Zakim Bridge, Boston

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Tobin Bridge and skyline at sunset, Boston

Tobin Bridge and skyline at sunset, Boston

Western span of Bay Bridge, San Francisco

Western span of Bay Bridge, San Francisco

Zakim Bridge, Boston

Zakim Bridge, Boston

Eastern span of Bay Bridge, San Francisco

Eastern span of Bay Bridge, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Tobin Bridge and skyline, Boston

Tobin Bridge and skyline, Boston

Simply put, walls divide whereas bridges unite. Let's build more bridges in our minds, in our hearts, in our country, in this world.

Architectural Photography for a PRISM Gold Award Winning Project

Got some wonderful news last night from David Schraff Architects that a residential restoration project I had photographed for them had won the 2016 PRISM Gold Award in the Best Remodeling/Restoration over $1M - Over 5000 sq.ft. I'm very honored and proud to be part of this award winning team and want to extend my thanks to architects David Schraff and Jill Breed, builder and owner Charles Bosworth, and Sabrina Baloun, for the styling for the photo shoot.

Snapshot of Award announcement from the 2016 PRISM Book of Winners

Snapshot of Award announcement from the 2016 PRISM Book of Winners

The photographs I made which were part of the PRISM award entry are below

Main facade and entrance of the residence

Main facade and entrance of the residence

Mud room and view into outdoor patio and kitchen area

Mud room and view into outdoor patio and kitchen area

A view of the kitchen

A view of the kitchen

Another view of the new kitchen area and outdoor patio

Another view of the new kitchen area and outdoor patio

Formal dining room

Formal dining room

Main entrance and staircase and a view into the newer section of the residence

Main entrance and staircase and a view into the newer section of the residence

Formal living room

Formal living room

New master bathroom

New master bathroom

Side view of the residence and property

Side view of the residence and property

View of the side entrance and a section of the garage

View of the side entrance and a section of the garage

Pool side view of the residence at dusk

Pool side view of the residence at dusk

Another pool side view at dusk

Another pool side view at dusk

A newly renovated Pacific Northwest residence

Even though one can find different architectural styles of homes in neighborhoods across the US, each region of our country has a specific style that helps define its dominant residential character. For example in the New England area we see a lot of houses in the Colonial revival and Greek revival styles. The Puebla revival is common to the Southwest. The Northwest regional or Northwest modern style is mostly seen in the Pacific Northwest areas of Oregon and Washington. A lot of regional factors like history, weather, natural landscape, availability of material etc. have a big impact on the architecture common to each part of our country.

I have always liked the Northwest regional style of modern houses with open floor plans, clean lines, and minimal to no ornamentation. They also have high ceilings with lots of natural light.  And with exposed beams and use of natural, unaltered materials in both exteriors and interiors they often tend towards an industrial feel.

Dusk settles over Seattle as the last rays of the setting sun kiss the peak of Mt. Rainier

Dusk settles over Seattle as the last rays of the setting sun kiss the peak of Mt. Rainier

During a recent visit to Seattle, I photographed the interiors of my friends Bharat and Sonal's house in Mercer Island, Washington. They just renovated their place with a beautiful new kitchen and dining area which Sonal did the interior design for.

The whites of the cabinets and counter tops go very well with the brown and wood tones of the floor and ceiling in the newly renovated kitchen.

The whites of the cabinets and counter tops go very well with the brown and wood tones of the floor and ceiling in the newly renovated kitchen.

A view of the dining area and kitchen as the warm late afternoon sunlight streams in.

A view of the dining area and kitchen as the warm late afternoon sunlight streams in.

A view into the kitchen from the living room area

A view into the kitchen from the living room area

A view of the living space, dining and kitchen area and the outdoor front patio. The fireplace and center column separates the living from the dining space while preserving the flow and openness.

A view of the living space, dining and kitchen area and the outdoor front patio. The fireplace and center column separates the living from the dining space while preserving the flow and openness.

The living area

The living area

I had a lot of fun styling and photographing this beautiful space for Sonal and Bharat. Sonal was a big help with the styling, as well as in being the model in a few of the images.

Hope you enjoy the images.