|Buildings are always part of the landscape...unless they're not. What I mean is that if there's a building in sight it will add character to the environment around it (and it's not always good character). People don't usually say, "Jeez, those are some beautiful elm trees around city hall." No, what they remember is the building itself, and if the building is stunning they may remember the environment it's in. A responsible architect will take all of this into consideration when designing a building, and will also take great care to remember the environment she/he is building for and who will dwell within. I've always thought that the picture of the architect/s and the name of the firm should remain in the lobby (parlor, whatever) forever. There should also be an Internet kiosk there where one can drop them an email whenever they feel inspired or disgusted enough to do so. This kind of mechanism would make architects a hell of a lot more responsible than they are currently.
I've taken professional photographs (some of them included) for firms and companies (I can put you in contact with my agent if you'd like to speak further about this), and I really have to respect a building to do a good job. I've walked off of jobs before saying, "There's nothing I can do here, sorry." Other buildings I've fallen quite in love with. As with any photo, different times of day and lighting make a great deal of difference in allowing the personality of a building to come out. I've taken a week to shoot a building before, and you better believe those photos are quite stunning because I've lived with (and sometimes in) that building, saw how it was used, who dwelled within it and what the personality of that building was inside and out. Sometimes, although I've never shot it, I've even gone into the basement and crawl spaces. And I've always stayed on the roof for a while. I've driven miles around buildings to see the entire picture it helps make up, flown over them (no, not on a broom) - and yes, even made love in them (a girl has to do what she has to do to find inspiration!).
Sometimes, even in cities, I've gone outside and just laid on the concrete below letting the building overcome and inspire me - and yes, I've been stepped on and asked if I needed help. Someone once tossed coins on me. Buildings are as alive as anything flesh and blood. They are the keepers of people - they are what makes us a civilization. Few buildings or districts built on trends remain after generations have grown up loathing them because they're not connected into what that community was about in the first place. It's always the classic buildings (usually the ones in the middle of someone's redevelopment plans) with unique style that rally groups to save them all the way to the 11th hour. Those are the buildings that will stand the test of time.
I've also spent a lot of time at construction (and deconstruction) sites photographing buildings in transition. One thing I have learned is to bring my digital video camera along. Most of you might be surprised what beautiful construction guys will take off in front of a camera! Stay tuned for Guys Gone Wild; Under Construction (maybe when I'm 80-years-old I'll have that one edited down to an hour!).