PAUL ANDREU architect U.A.I.


" Paul Maurer has photographed about all the buildings I have constructed since 25 years.

We first met through an editor. He wanted to do a book on airports, he had noticed Paul Maurer’s pictures on the Basel Carnival in Switzerland, he made us meet. The book did not come out, but I’ve asked Paul Maurer a first series on Terminal 2 at Roissy Charles de Gaulle. They fulfilled expectations that I would have hardly defined. I loved them. Things have followed on since then, without interruption up to now.

Getting known through pictures, most of them still, more than through actual sight, movements of one’s body, natural or artificial variations of light and sound, is one of the major problems of architecture.

What can a photographer do to satisfy the architect?

Illustrate, be accountable: that is obviously not enough. Neither is it to make it understandable or convincing. It is certainly something of that , but beyond it, above all, the pictures must make the building, its essence, tangible. No picture can reach this aim even if it is the most accurate and respectful, the most technically perfect image, if it is not, in itself, a creation, a work of art in which the photographer commits himself totally, taking risks as the architect did.

As far as I am concerned, a good architectural photography is the gratifying conjunction of the work of one artist towards the other.

This difficult balance has happened quite often between Paul Maurer and myself. Maybe because our visions of space are similar or complementary. Quite frankly: I do not know.

The very latest completed and abundant work of Paul Maurer concerns the Grand National Theater of China that I have just completed in Beijing. I had wished that there would be a precise trace of that moment when the work is completed – or nearly so – before the building takes its own life, when the architect just steps out.

This series satisfies, I think, both of us."

Paul Andreu

Member of the Academy of Fine Arts


Paul Andreu website is here.