Bellevue Architecture Click on thumbnail to enlarge image, view caption and use slideshow options. To return to this page click on the image background Bellevue stands above the eastern shore of Lake Washington: the older and larger Seattle is set beyond its western shore. The concentration of downtown towers in the former is much smaller and of relatively recent date. Although in the past I had been taken by car to specific Bellevue buildings my first solo street walk was in summer 2010.I had about three hours in which to photograph under an afternoon breeze that kept the clouds in constant change from absence to complete local cover. The architectural styles of the two cities seemed quite distinct, particularly the Bellevue use of geometrically irregular ground plans, the intricate forms they support and the use of glass.I liked this building (01/04) for its silvery metallic sheen and the juxtaposition of flat-surfaced angularity and gentle curves on its component volumes. Metering to accommodate the bright metal darkened the sky in the coloured images and created the black to white tonal range in this monochrome. I also liked the complexity added by the reflections at the step change from curved to straight in 02 and 03 and the chessboard fenestration of the western façade in 04.A sky almost clear of clouds and the wide light contrast encouraged this symmetrical composition.Intervening trees and low-rise structures obscured the lower storeys of a much taller tower than this perspective suggests. This is a building with a far from regular ground plan that supports a sharply sculpted form with a slender metal glazing grid reducing its visual weight. I would have preferred a procession of more billowy clouds to be reflected across the façade.From a different viewpoint the three facets to the left in image 05 each offered reflections of different buildings behind me. I have included such reflections in other galleries and intend to assemble a larger and more varied collection over time.The Key Center Building is caught in the angled glazing of the Plaza façade. Metering to the bright white of the reflection darkened the blue tones of the reflected sky.Turning the lens skywards towards white cloud cover created an image almost bleached of colour in which line predominates.Thickening clouds approached from the west contrast with the reflections of an earlier and more open skyscape drifting away behind the camera.The sawtooth façade carried a series of closely related reflections. The Mahlum Architects’ Bellevue Center further down the Avenue has similar design characteristics.I liked the relationships of the horizontal geometric shapes, multiple reflections and the slightly ambiguous sensation of peering through glass that also projected reflections. The 1988 Bank of America Building by Sclater Partners provides the principal architectural reflection.I photographed this building from differing distances and vantage points but found the more distant shots of its bronzed glass under blue sky rather disappointing: the camera did not record the colours I saw. A formally balanced composition is one of my habits but here I liked the off-centre nudge given by the shadows of the clock and structure.The contrast between the solid weight of stone and the lightness of the glazing appealed as did the interaction between bronze tinted glass and the white and blue of the sky.The Bellevue Center was designed by Mahlum Architects and is very similar to their Rainier Plaza (05 – 11) designs in form and fenestration. An avenue of trees softened the streetscape.This building was set well back from the street vantage point of the previous image. Turning around. I used a zoom lens to isolate a section of the very gently curved façade and to reduce perpendicular perspective. Reflections of the late afternoon sky surround dark shadows cast by intervening buildings. I liked the random interventions of drawn blinds and office equipment.A pair of slender apartment towers stood amidst associated low-rise buildings to the west of the city centre. In the short time left to me I found their intricate and irregular forms were difficult to photograph in the late afternoon light. An opportunity to shoot across the day would be a challenge, but one unlikely to materialise.I was, as usual, using available supports rather than a tripod and I briefly speculated that one might have been useful here. I recall a writer-photographer stating that the automatic use of a tripod marked out the professional architectural photographer from the amateur. I have also read and agree with other practitioners who dislike it as a burden and an encumbrance on the street.18 BELLEVUE ARCHITECTURE | Reflection: South East 6th Street and 112th Avenue South.