Chicago Architectural and Interior Photographer  | Mike Crews Photography
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Capturing the Architecture at Rush University Hospital

An interesting project to close out 2015 involved capturing a large glass terrarium designed by Sentech Architectural Systems in Austin, Texas.  The terrarium was designed for the Rush University Medical Brennan Entry Pavillion and consists of a conical shaped glass portal reaching from the inside floor (1 and 2) and extends beyond the ceiling into an outside courtyard area (3). 

The concept was to allow the outside light to flow into an enclosed area within the Pavillion.  The bottom of the terrarium features a plant environment similar to a forest setting where outside light illuminates the forest floor albeit in a limited amount.  Accordingly, the plant life selected for the terrariums floor is similar to that found in a typical forest environment, trees, moss, ferns,, etc.

I was asked to capture the integration of the terrarium concept with the medical environment and how it interacts with both the interior and exterior spaces of the Pavillion.

There are obvious issues to overcome when photographing within a very busy medical facility. 

1.      Obtaining clearance for photography from administrative and security personnel.

2.      Gaining access to areas not normally allowed to the public.

3.      Capturing usable images around the constant flow of patients, visitors, and medical staff.

The most challenging shots for this project involved capturing the inside and outside light in one image (4) . 

Had I attempted to try this at noon, there might have been up to 10 stops of light difference in brightness between the sunny outside and the light levels found inside.  This would have rendered either the outside being blown-out or the inside as too dark.  I chose to capture this shot near sundown to allow a smaller four stop difference of brightness at that time.  The difference in light color temperature between the outside 5000K and the insides 2800K is clearly visible.  Still, I think the shot works for contrasting the outside and indoor environments.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!