Atul Lakra


“Architecture consists largely of placing something between earth and sky”
Eero Saarinen

Pioneering American architect- Eero Saarinen’s iconic statement forms the conceptual basis for this series of photographic compositions, which try to explore, through the medium of scaling and repetition, the various myriad details, material textures and play of light and shadow on buildings in the city of Nottingham.


Against the backdrop of a late evening sky, fine, subtle details of stonemasonry begin to emerge on this magnificent example of Elizabethan architecture. My intention was to try to capture and magnify, the stark and elemental contrast between the warm sunlit grains of Ancaster stone and the cold, dark and deep blues of the sky.


Nottingham presents an eclectic collection of beautiful turrets, domes, gables, finials, parapets and other visually arresting architectural elements and roof forms in its broad palette of architectural styles evident from the Victorian age to the present. A walk around the city centre, with one’s gaze occasionally directed skywards, can often lead to revealing insights on the way we appreciate a building between its immediate neighbours and in the larger context of the surrounding cityscape. As an architect, I also find it interesting to observe how a building connects with the sky, from ground up, in addition to perceiving how it is rooted to the earth.


In this composition, I have tried to inscribe my gut reaction to a building in the atmospheric conditions prevailing, while I was trying to photograph it for the architects on a cloudy and very windy Saturday evening. The intention was to highlight the tectonic nature of this ‘object’ against the fleeting clouds above. The building, called the ICON, recently completed by Marsh: Grochowski Architects, stands facing a row of Georgian and Regency townhouses on the Ropewalk and houses energy efficient, flexible office spaces. The project has won prestigious awards like the RIBA East Midlands Award (2008) and the RIBA East Midlands award for Environmental Initiative (2008).


Architect, Marsh: Grochowski Architects, Nottingham.

School of the Built Environment, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Master of Architecture in Design (M. Arch.) 2006
School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India.
Bachelor of Architecture. (B. Arch.) (Hons.) 2002

Although this is my first exhibition as an exhibitor, I have previously designed and built exhibition spaces, museum galleries and curated and co-ordinated an annual exhibition of students’ work at the university level. As an architecture student in New Delhi, India, I also had the opportunity to work with collaborating international artists, architects and designers for setting up the Ninth Triennale India in 1997. I have a keen interest in mobile architecture, material innovations, new media and future transport technologies, technology transfer and cross- disciplinary approaches to art, design and architecture.