Iwan Baan’s Inclusive Eye – The New York Times

It has been just eight years since Iwan Baan began photographing architecture, but the way he sees the world has already made him a big name. His striking aerial photograph of Manhattan divided by the post-Sandy power outage quickly became an iconic image. “The Way We Live,” a solo exhibition of Baan’s lush large-scale images of cities and their people and buildings, opens this week at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery in Los Angeles.

Read the complete article in The New Nork Times…

Iwan Baan on “architecture without architects”

In a movie Dezeen filmed at his Golden Lion-winning installation in collaboration with Justin McGuirk and Urban-Think Tank at the Venice Architecture Biennale, architectural photographer Iwan Baan talks about how residents have built their own homes between the columns and floor plates of the unfinished Torre David skyscraper in Caracas.


“It’s basically a whole city they built in there,” he says while describing the homes, shops, church, hair salon and gym the 3000 residents have created, each inventing their own construction techniques to create “a sort of architecture without architects”.

He tells how residents start by putting up curtains and tents, then build walls when they get chance, creating a patchwork facade where “every person decorates their place in their own way.” Construction halted before services were installed, including elevators, so taxis drive residents up and down in an adjoining 50-storey car park.

Baan’s photographs will be published in a book on the tower called Torre David: Anarcho Vertical Communities, written by Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner of Urban-Think Tank.

Critic Justin McGuirk talks about how the project could set an example for new forms of urban housing in our earlier movie, asking “why should the majority of the poor in countries like Venezuela be forced to live in the slums around the edge of cities if there are empty office towers in the city centres?”

Disruption Index: Iwan Baan – Next City

“…A serial globe-trotter who charters helicopters like most people make dinner reservations, Baan has become the most notable architecture photographer in recent years for his style of capturing not only buildings but also their urban context. It’s a more humanizing approach to a field that had previously been steeped in glamour shots. This eye for the connection between people buildings and cities is what makes Baan’s work stand out. It’s why he was able to encompass Sandy’s wrath so simply and elegantly…”

Read the complete article in Next City…


The City and the Storm poster at MoMA

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy Iwan Baan chartered the sole helicopter to take off that night and shot this cover of New York without power.
We are thrilled that the MoMA decided to make the now iconic image into a large-scale poster, measuring 42 inches high by 30 inches wide. All proceeds of the poster will be donated to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

“Iwan Baan’s powerful and now iconic image bought to life one of the many devastating effects our City experienced in the aftermath Hurricane Sandy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We are grateful to the Museum of Modern Art for their solidarity and support of the many New Yorkers whose lives have been turned upside down by this storm. Their generous contribution to the Mayor’s Fund will go a long way towards helping our recovery.” 

You can order the poster here online at the MoMA Store and at any MoMA store worldwide.

LA Times: Iwan Baan to sell photographic work to benefit Sandy relief
ARTINFO: Iconic Hurricane Sandy Photo to MoMA
Architectural Record: MoMA Sells Iwan Baan Photo for Sandy Relief

TIME Picks the Top Photographic Magazine Covers of 2012The most notable is New York Magazine’s magnificent cover by photographer Iwan Baan of a half blacked-out Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy. It’s instantly iconic and will become one of the greatest covers of all time.

Our new book Torre David – Informal Vertical Communities is out!

Edited by Urban-Think Tank Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, ETH Zurich – Photographs by Iwan Baan

Torre David, a 45-story skyscraper in Caracas, has remained uncompleted since the Venezuelan economy collapsed in 1994. Today, it is the improvised home to more than 750 families living in an extra-legal and tenuous squat, that some have called a ‘vertical slum.’
Urban-Think Tank, the authors of Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities, spent a year studying the physical and social organization of this ruin-become home. Richly illustrated with photographs by Iwan Baan, the book documents the residents’ occupation of the tower and how, in the absence of formal infrastructure, they organize themselves to provide for daily needs, with a hair salon, a gym, grocery shops, and more. The authors of this thought-provoking work investigate informal vertical communities and the architecture that supports them and issue a call for action: to see in informal settlements a potential for innovation and experimentation, with the goal of putting design in service to a more equitable and sustainable future.

Order it here at Lars Muller Publishers, at your local bookseller or at

Financial Times: Best books of 2012
Photo-eye Magazine: The best books of 2012
Allison Arieff’s Notable Books of 2012