Join us as we go behind the lens with architectural photographer, John Gollings. Uncover insights into his interactions with architects and how these conversations help define his approach to capturing the shot.


John Gollings, The Mint (FJMT), Sydney, New South Wales 2004. Pigment ink-jet print 83.0 x 125.0 cm, courtesy of the artist

John Gollings, The Mint (FJMT), Sydney, New South Wales 2004. Pigment ink-jet print 83.0 x 125.0 cm, courtesy of the artist

The Mint, Sydney, New South Wales

Architect:  FJMT 

Architect Richard Francis-Jones explained the balancing act of both renovating and restoring parts of the Mint complex to me. When taking this photograph, it was important to show the whole suite of buildings around the central lawn where relationships depended on scale, colour and materials. 

Internally, warmth and complexity were interwoven with original features to appear harmonious but functional. This swooping ceiling of the Gold Melting Room deftly accommodates the height of the new glazed wall which completes the external composition.

John Gollings St Patricks Cathedral

John Gollings, St Patricks Cathedral (Romaldo Giurgola), Parramatta, New South Wales  2004. Image: 57.0 x 97.0 cm Paper: 72.0 x 112.0 cm. Pigment ink-jet print.

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, New South Wales

Architect: Romaldo Giurgola

I worked closely with Aldo on Parliament house and came to understand his modesty about the role of architecture in society, that it must function well for its purpose but not overwhelm the occupant with gratuitous shape making. 

The softly feminine curves at the rear of this cathedral are memorable but gentle and the twilight lighting optimises these qualities.

Dr Chau Chak Wing building (Gehry) by John Gollings

John Gollings,  Chau Chak Wing building (Gehry), Ultimo, New South Wales 2014. Pigment ink-jet print 70.0 x 97.0 cm, courtesy of the artist

Dr Chau Chak Wing building, Ultimo, New South Wales

 Architect: Frank Gehry

I’ve spoken at depth with Frank years ago in Melbourne. I admire his intellect and philosophy and have shot his very influential own home in Santa Monica, amongst many others of his. 

His recent use of sculptural elements interlocking to make a building are often profoundly beautiful but this building has many aesthetic flaws, not the least being the illogical use of brick, a normally loadbearing material and garish staircases internally.

Omnia (Durback Jaggers Block) by John Gollings

John Gollings, Omnia (Durback Jaggers Block), Kings Cross, New South Wales 2019. Pigment ink-jet print 65.0 x 97.0 cm, courtesy of the artist

Omnia, Kings Cross, New South Wales

Architect: Durbach Block Jaggers

Neil Durbach and I had many conversations about architectural photography. He likes artful details of shadow and pattern, I like an informative description of the whole project in context. In this shot, I compromised by providing him with both! With Omnia he discussed the influence of the classic Coke bottle on the curved façade which prompted me to showcase both. I’m still not sure how serious he was but I can see a relationship anyway.

This exhibition has now ended.

Unfortunately, due to our current museum closures, the John Gollings: The History of the Built World exhibition at the Museum of Sydney has now closed and will not reopen before it's original exhibition completion date of 26 April.

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