Architecture, Food And A Love Story

This post is about three months overdue, but since it's still cold and occasionally snowy outside, I don't feel too weird about posting photos of me in my winter hat.

In December, Rob and I finally got to check one of our favorite cities off our travel bucket list, and I'm sure this won't be the last time we will go to Chicago. How could you not love this amazing city? It's got brilliant architecture, fantastic food (hello deep dish pizza!) and really good music. All my favorite things combined in one place!

So of course my camera had to come with me and - while at times I thought I might be freezing to death doing long exposures of the skyline at night - it was all worth it getting some nice shots of Chicago at dusk. You can find more photos under "urban architecture" to your left.

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Of course, I couldn't not go to the Christkindlmarkt while we were in Chicago. I'm German, I miss my beloved Christmas markets. So I stood there with my tiny cup of Gluehwein (mulled wine) and my cinnamon crepes, and I was in heaven. If you ever plan on going to Germany, consider going at Christmas time. It's magical, and I promise you'll love it! Also don't hesitate to contact me for travel tips. I never tire of playing tour guide for anyone! 

Now on to the best part of this trip though. Yes, there is more. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see that there is now an engagement ring on my hand. Right after we arrived in Chicago, Robert asked me if I want to continue to travel and eat pizza with him for the rest of our lives and how could a girl say 'no' to that?! Just wanted to share these happy news with you. Now we are on to planning our wedding in Germany in the fall and couldn't be more excited! 

Photo Credit: Danielle Heinson for Flytographer

Photo Credit: Danielle Heinson for Flytographer

Will keep you posted!

- Sabine

7 Question with...Inge Daniels

In my quest to learn more about the field I chose to photograph and the people behind it, I have decided to find out more about the architects and designers behind the projects I capture. Understanding their thought process behind each design and what made them choose this particular type of work not only lets me get to know my clients better, it also helps me see each project from their perspective. So here goes our first "7 Questions With..." Interview with Inge Daniels of Inge Daniels Design LLC. Please also visit her Houzz profile HERE. Inge creates amazing landscaping design. So if you're looking for someone to make your garden and house look absolutely stunning, be sure to contact her!

What inspired you to become a landscape architect?

I was an artist focused on landscape painting coming out of college and my path since then has wound around, but I kept returning to landscape. I finally bit the bullet and applied to the GSD for a masters 

degree in landscape architecture and haven’t looked back since. I just love landscape - its shifting, seasonal, ephemeral quality; the way the right design can draw out the identity of a place; and the effect it has on our perception as we move through it, i.e. squeezing between contained space, i.e. squeezing between contained space that then opens into a clearing, the sounds of grasses or leaves whispering and the tenor of paving beneath your feet. I feel lucky to work with the palette of stone, wood and plants to improve our world - to build sustainable landscapes and help people connect with the natural world.

What is your favorite part about your job?

Being in the middle of schematic design for a project is probably my favorite part. That’s when ideas are nascent and the project can go in any number of different directions. It’s painful sometimes until a design really starts to coalesce but there’s a certain point where it finds its voice and takes on a life of its own. That moment is awesome. The balance of my work involves taking that vision, developing it and turning it into a reality. Seeing the landscape realized, especially a few years down the road when it really starts to mature, is incredibly rewarding.

What would you consider the biggest challenge/s?

Balancing work flow in a small office. It’s impossible to predict work flows and it’s hard to turn down exciting jobs so I often take on too much work. I haven't hired on help yet so it’s often late nights, burning the candle from both ends. These are the things I’m working on improving!

Do you have an upcoming project that you are excited about?

Yes, an entry landscape at a private Quaker school in upstate NY. I’ve done several projects at this school but this one will make the boldest statement so far about this great campus and its forward-thinking drive toward sustainability. ie. The campus currently has an iconic allée leading into the heart of the campus that is in decline. One of the things I’ve been researching for this project is what a sustainable allée could be like. An allée is typically composed of a single tree species, but with our climate changing we are seeing more pests and therefore less predictability in how tree species thrive. To have a single species is asking for trouble. If they fail either they all succumb or you have gaps in your continuous lines of trees. It’s a fascinating problem. We are building Phase 1 of the entry landscape this fall. Later phases will include the allée as well as a wetland renovation and outdoor classroom. 

Do you have a certain approach from start to finish for each project?

Different types of project require different scope. For some clients I just do hourly consultations to brainstorm ideas or provide suggestions. For some clients I just design and oversee the build on one discrete area of a landscape. However for most clients I start by developing a master plan that considers the entire site - its aspect, wind, soil and existing landscape features - and meets the programmatic requirements of the client. Once we’re all agreed on that conceptual plan I progress to developing the design with specific materials, plants and details and develop the appropriate drawings to get the project bid and built. I work closely with the landscape contractor, especially with layout of paths and plantings, to ensure the high quality of the finished result. 

Is there a specific project you are most proud of?

It’s hard to pick just one - it’s been an exciting few years since launching my own LA studio - but I can’t wait to see a residential project I recently designed and built in Newton fully complete next spring - we are a few perennials and carpentry projects shy of completion. It’s a corner lot and as part of the master plan I helped them locate a detached garage and completely reconfigure the back entry sequence and family terrace. The terrace itself is really neat with a built-in wood fireplace that looks out into the canopy of an adjacent property and seatwalls that wrap around. Some steps and one section of seatwall I designed in wood to have a warmer touch. I designed the seatwall to be lit from within so it emanates light through the wood slats. My client is hands-on and constructed it himself. I’m fascinated by landscapes at night.

What would you do if you had pursued a different career?

As with all jobs there are moments of tedium and frustration, but this is honestly my dream career. It draws upon so many different disciplines: ecology, botany, hydrology, soils, climate, perception, aesthetics, psychology, sociology, urbanism, architecture, art and design… to name a few. I consider myself a lifelong student so hopefully there's no end to my learning curve.

ABX 2016

Like all good things eventually have to, ABX 2016 - the annual Architecture Boston Expo - has come to an end. And of course I had to visit and take a look at all the vendor booths, installations, and the photo exhibit, which was spread throughout the expo floor.

 
 

I loved seeing the amazing work that has been created by my fellow Bostonian photographers and to see some of my friends' names on the exhibit floor. Keep an eye out for my work if you happen to visit next year...

 
 

It was great to see many familiar faces this week and also to meet new people from all over the world - particularly from my home country, Germany, which gave me the chance to speak my native language for a bit, for example with the fun crew of Gaggenau Kitchens. 

I just had to stop by their booth - not only because I was hoping to speak to someone from home - but also because I've been a long-time fan of their timeless designs. The company just celebrated their 333-year anniversary!

Some great eye-catchers were the interesting installations on the expo floor, such as interactive games and the big balloon installation, in which the opening night party was hosted.

 
 

Below is a picture of this year's winner of the Quad Competition (sponsored by What's In, Stantec and ABX2016), an international design competition for a social space installation. The task was to create a meaningful and impactful installation that encourages social interactions. Cost and feasibility of construction were critical factors to consider in the process.

The winning design (among 6 finalists) was created by KiKi ARCHi, a Tokyo-based architecture design firm led by Yoshihiko Seki. 

 
 

This has been such an amazing event, and I can't wait to see what the BSA has planned for next year! 

Photography: Before + After

One of the many reasons I love what I do is that moment when you finish crafting an image and get to compare the beginning to the end result. Ah! Beauty!

You often don't see it but many, many hours go into creating one single photograph. The work on site is just the beginning. And if a picture is done well, you don't really see what went into creating it (unless maybe you have a trained eye).

Designers, architects, engineers...they all put their heart and soul into creating beautiful spaces and designing them with a purpose in mind, so the photograph should do their work justice.

Our eyes see spaces differently than the camera does and therefore, we have to work a little magic with lighting techniques on site and in post-processing. 

To give a better idea of the difference between a photo straight out of camera without any lighting and one that has been professional staged and edited, I have created a new "Before + After" section on my website.

It's a great way to have a direct comparison and show the difference. It's also really fun to play around with if you need to kill some time. 

See it for yourself right HERE and enjoy! 

- Sabine

Landscape Design in Wellesley

Whenever I get a request to photograph in Wellesley - or Newton, where I used to live - I get very excited!

On Sundays, one of our traditions would be to get coffee at our favorite coffee shop and then walk or drive around the neighborhood, admiring all the gorgeous houses and mansions. We would get a kick out of imagining how we would decorate the place if it was ours and recognizing the same architects' work in different areas.

New England Home and Landscape Design

New England Home and Landscape Design

So when I recently got a call again to photograph a beautiful landscape design in Wellesley Hills, I could barely contain my inner Martha Stewart and got there a little early just so I could admire all the houses in the area.

 
New England Home and Landscape Design

New England Home and Landscape Design

 

If you happen to read this and have a house that you think is magazine-worthy and needs to be photographed, you have come to the right place! I will be there with bells on and bring coffee, so we can marvel together at the beauty that is your home (or home that you designed). It also happens to be my favorite month of the year, the perfect time for some pumpkin spice latte and looking at pretty leaves...

 
New England Home and Landscape Design

New England Home and Landscape Design

 

The Predictive Index Building - Featured on BISNOW!

A little while ago, I had the pleasure to photograph the Predictive Index Building in Westwood, Massachusetts. Designer Lannhi Tran from Little Dragon Decor created the perfect style for this modern and unusual office space. 

 
Modern Office Space - Interior Design
 

Everything is designed as an open concept with movable glass walls by KI and a concrete floor that allows employees to cruise through the building on scooters! Besides that they also have a ping pong table (with regular tournaments), a tv lounge with bean bag chairs, and a super cool kitchen where Beer Fridays are a regular thing. 

I guess I just have one question...can I come over for ping pong and beer on Fridays? 

Read more about this amazing project on BISNOW where it has recently been featured!

Reinventing Boston: A City Engineered

In my quest to learn more about my favorite city and the history of its architecture, I recently signed up for a walking tour of Boston, which was hosted by the Boston Society of Architects and sponsored by Boston by Foot

Alice was our tour guide, and we started out in Scollay Square at the newly built Government Center T stop where the group learned all about what went into this great project.

I was surprised to find out that Scollay Square was originally supposed to look like the big market plaza in Siena, Italy. While the bricks were a good start, the surrounding office buildings reminded me more of East Germany in the 90s. ;-)

Afterwards we worked our way through Quincy Market, the North End, the Rose Kennedy Greenway and ended at Longwharf, just in time to witness the most beautiful pink sunset from the Harborwalk.

It was amazing to learn how Boston has reinvented itself over and over again throughout the last decades, to adjust to an ever growing population and change in business and industry demands. 

 
Architecture Tour Through Boston
 

Since I am a big fan of small and weird details, one of my favorite things I learned during this tour was that some of the electric lamps in the North End (and throughout Boston) have been changed back to the original gas lamps.  And when you look closely, you can see that they still say E.L. for "Edison Lighting" on the side. 

 
Architecture Tour Through Boston
 

It's easy to take things around you for granted when you commute every day or you are in a rush. So next time you're on your way to work or just out for a stroll, look up and around you.

Boston has so many layers and hidden treasures and there is always something new to discover.

 
Architecture Tour Through Boston
 

This is Me

Welcome to my blog and first blog entry! I am really excited about this, since I love to write and share things that inspire me.

A little info about me and what I do: My name is Sabine (pronounced like Sa-bee-nah - for all my fellow Bostonians out there) and I am an architectural photographer, food truck fan, outdoor enthusiast and movie dork.

I was born and raised in Germany until I decided it was time to spread my wings and see what the world looks like across the Atlantic Ocean. So I moved to the United States in my early twenties to improve my English for a year...or so was the plan at least.

To my mother's dismay, I really liked it here and decided to stay just a little longer. It has been exactly 10 years now and I think it is safe to say my English has improved.

My background is in Hotel Management and I spent the first years of my stay here in a uniform, greeting and serving guests from all over the world in one of Boston's biggest hotels.

A few years ago, I decided to take classes at the New England School of Photography and fell head-over-heels in love with architectural photography. 

I have always had a deep appreciation for great design and architecture but it had never occurred to me that photographing it would be my secret passion.

So I traded in the uniform to capture New England's buildings and construction sites, crawling through mud in a hard hat with a smile on my face. 

 
Industrial Photography at Construction Site in Brookfield Massachusetts
 

Hope to see you soon at a construction site near you!

- Sabine