Haunting image of reservoir wins best architectural photograph of 2016

Story highlights

  • A photograph of an historic underground reservoir has won the 2016 Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Award
  • Picked from a shortlist of twenty stunning images, the photograph was chosen for its "painterly" quality
  • Scroll through all the incredible architectural photographs in the gallery above

(CNN)A photograph taken inside an historic covered reservoir in Finsbury Park, London has won an international award for best architectural photograph of 2016.

Matt Emmett's hauntingly beautiful picture, "Covered Reservoir", was chosen from a shortlist of 20 of the world's best professional photographs of buildings and structures to win the 2016 Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Award.
    "It was the painterly quality of this picture that made it stand out. The calm, quiet quality, coupled with a compelling sense of intrigue and scale," one of the judges of the award, Emily Booth, told CNN.
    "We considered factors such as composition, light, scale, atmosphere, sense of place, as well as the narrative. It is about communicating a story of space."
    "Photography has long been the means of communicating architecture," added Lynn Bryant, one of the founders of Arcaid Images.
    "The earliest known photograph by French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, taken with a camera obscura in the late 1820s, was architectural. The medium may have changed...(but) a good image leaves a lasting impression beyond the confines of the architectural fraternity."

    Communicating architecture

    From a spiraled skyscraper in Shanghai, to a warming hut in Winnipeg, the twenty professional photographs that were shortlisted for the award gave the buildings they captured a sense of soul and provided a glimpse into the life they contain within.
    Covering a wide range of old and new structures in both mundane and exotic locations around the world, each shortlisted image was assessed by a group of six judges on its composition, sense of place, atmosphere and use of scale.
    Although over a thousand professional architectural images were submitted for consideration, Emmett's underground photograph received the most points across each of the four categories.
    It was also the first time the award was given to a photograph of an historic location -- the East London Water Works Company reservoir shot by Emmett was built in 1868.
    Noting that "the award is for photography and not for architecture," Booth, who is editor at The Architectural Review and The Architects' Journal, said good architectural photographers needed a sense of curiosity, sensitivity, and humanity.
    Emmett will receive $3,000 in prize money for the award and will also have his image included in the "Building Images" exhibition to be held at Sto Werkstatt in London during February 2017.