Repetitive Detail on a Monumental Structure

Here are a series of images captured by photographer Richard Gubbles. These powerful photos show how a series of reletively simple and similar pieces add together to create a monumental structure. The grid of the walls seems to be at a very small scale compared to the size of the cooling tower. It would be interesting to see the same type of small unit with only small chages in its shape add together to make another form.

These photos are also powerful for their relation to the sky. This relationship is intensified by the monumentality of the walls creating the space, and by the focus that the shape makes on the sky. Is it possible to use this same effect to pull light into multiple layers of a skyscraper? The powerful lighting highlights the details of the walls and of the ground plane.

The ground plane in these images is not solid, but more of a moment in the space. The center is a solid shape, supported and surrounded by repetitive units.

More Photos can be found on the Artist’s Flikr.


  1. 02 Sebastian Beck

    Beautifully monumental space. It would be interesting to think about such spaces as reflective retreats found in an urban space. The simplicity found in the repetition and scale of the constructive units as well as the straightforward overall form are very powerful. The enclosed space does isolate the viewer which might be a potential challenge to face, however, it could also provide the opportunity for unique lighting, also using a repetitive scheme.

  2. 05 Alyssa Muench

    This space is quite powerful. The unity of the space is absorbing, and the details help us grasp the size of it. I love how the light floods the space. The raw materiality of the construction also helps us feel more connected to it. It is beautiful.

  3. I actually thought it was a church at the first glance. Very monumental grand hollow space in the center with horizontal loft surfaces and vertical slim “seperator”. You can really tell the hirarchy works just fine. and the bottem patterns sort of continue the veritcal columns but with a more detailed and complex changes. the hirarchy of the lines, planes, cores are really obvious and clear. good inspiration for urban spaces.

  4. 03 Julie Martin

    You wrote that this is a cooling tower? It’s really inspiring to see such unique and thoughtful designs in such an industrial element as a cooling tower. It reminds me of the oculus on the Pantheon… I like the idea of comparing a typically dull concrete tower that is a modern, industrial element to an ancient design– really a powerful statement.