Nikola Olic's Dizzying Architectural Photography

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By Erika Heet / Published by Dwell
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Offering a new perspective on the built environment, his images zoom and tilt to reveal vertigo-inducing angles.

With names like Twisted, Mesh, and Lasagna, photographer Nikola Olic’s images present a surreal, abstracted view of buildings. Olic lives and works in Dallas, Texas, focusing on "architectural photography and abstract structural quotes that reimagine their subjects in dimensionless and disorienting ways."

Twisted Building, 2014. "With its metallic waves and twisted reflections, this Frank Gehry masterpiece in New York City looks out of place in a beautifully unexpected way, seen here from the nearby Brooklyn Bridge," says Olic.

Twisted Building, 2014. "With its metallic waves and twisted reflections, this Frank Gehry masterpiece in New York City looks out of place in a beautifully unexpected way, seen here from the nearby Brooklyn Bridge," says Olic.

Inspiration first struck in 2013, when a Frank Gehry building in New York City prompted Olic to snap hundreds of photographs "exploring its relationship with the three-dimensional space around it and the two-dimensional space I saw in the viewfinder," he says. Olic's subjects span from Los Angeles, California, to Shenzhen, China. As he tells it, "A wide open industrial park in Barcelona can be asconceptually interesting and potent as densely packed Hong Kong."

Broken Building, 2014. I.M. Pei's Fountain Place in Dallas, Texas, built in 1986. "He used angles, triangles, planes and prisms to create a seemingly impossible visual space with this building," says Olic. "The view from the east makes the structure seem broken and folded down the middle."

Broken Building, 2014. I.M. Pei's Fountain Place in Dallas, Texas, built in 1986. "He used angles, triangles, planes and prisms to create a seemingly impossible visual space with this building," says Olic. "The view from the east makes the structure seem broken and folded down the middle."

When asked what first captures his attention about a structure, Olic reveals his multifaceted approach: "Various ideas can come into play: a creative facade, an architect, an unusual combination with an adjacent structure, orsimply a famous building that I want to walk around in person andexplore." 

To follow, a journey through Olic’s hypnotic images.

Hypnotic Building, 2014. "The saturated facade of this late-modernist 1981 office building in Houston, Texas, exposes the inner paths of its elevators, outlining the dramatic black-and-white lines with glass and aluminum," notes Olic.

Hypnotic Building, 2014. "The saturated facade of this late-modernist 1981 office building in Houston, Texas, exposes the inner paths of its elevators, outlining the dramatic black-and-white lines with glass and aluminum," notes Olic.

Lasagna Building: "The best time to photograph this unusual layered building north of San Antonio, Texas, is early morning, giving the one memorable side of the structure plenty of strong light for its complexity and angles—visible for miles," notes Olic.

Lasagna Building: "The best time to photograph this unusual layered building north of San Antonio, Texas, is early morning, giving the one memorable side of the structure plenty of strong light for its complexity and angles—visible for miles," notes Olic.

Building With Steps, 2014. "The tallest building in Fort Worth, Texas, this simple brutalist architectural design is a unique addition to the vibrant and growing downtown landscape, with a strong, repetitive pattern of windows being interrupted by meticulous, powerful vertical lines," says Olic.

Building With Steps, 2014. "The tallest building in Fort Worth, Texas, this simple brutalist architectural design is a unique addition to the vibrant and growing downtown landscape, with a strong, repetitive pattern of windows being interrupted by meticulous, powerful vertical lines," says Olic.

Concrete Lawn, 2014. "This new building in downtown Dallas explores is the representation of nature and flora found through Texas," says Olic. "Its garden, roof, and balconies hold plant life in modern concrete enclosures, often providing unexpected disorienting angles."

Concrete Lawn, 2014. "This new building in downtown Dallas explores is the representation of nature and flora found through Texas," says Olic. "Its garden, roof, and balconies hold plant life in modern concrete enclosures, often providing unexpected disorienting angles."

Ripped Building, 2014. "The angled top floors of this dark red office building in New Orleans, Louisiana, provide an interesting collage with the white building a few blocks down the street," says Olic. Combining the two is a simple photographic idea of a structure ripped into two distinct parts."

Ripped Building, 2014. "The angled top floors of this dark red office building in New Orleans, Louisiana, provide an interesting collage with the white building a few blocks down the street," says Olic. Combining the two is a simple photographic idea of a structure ripped into two distinct parts."

The Blue Green Mile. "Warmed by the unobstructed afternoon sun, individual parts of the large Art Deco collection at the Fair Park Complex in South Dallas come to more attention," says Olic.

The Blue Green Mile. "Warmed by the unobstructed afternoon sun, individual parts of the large Art Deco collection at the Fair Park Complex in South Dallas come to more attention," says Olic.

Disney and Neighbor. "So much happening in a single city block," notes Olic. "Reflective, disorienting, dimensionless, otherworldly Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Hall, which hosts the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel."

Disney and Neighbor. "So much happening in a single city block," notes Olic. "Reflective, disorienting, dimensionless, otherworldly Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Hall, which hosts the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel."

The Diagonal: "Two [facades] on the same side of a building on Manhattan's west side."

The Diagonal: "Two [facades] on the same side of a building on Manhattan's west side."

Crying Windows. "In the middle of Antonio Gaudi's park in Northeast Barcelona, on the east side of one of the buildings, crying rhombus windows at once confusing and attracting the thousands of tourists," describes Olic.

Crying Windows. "In the middle of Antonio Gaudi's park in Northeast Barcelona, on the east side of one of the buildings, crying rhombus windows at once confusing and attracting the thousands of tourists," describes Olic.

Read Between the Facades. "A modern glass and concrete building with a mirrored facade detail, quoting like a good architectural neighbor the building across the street," says Olic.

Read Between the Facades. "A modern glass and concrete building with a mirrored facade detail, quoting like a good architectural neighbor the building across the street," says Olic.

Mirror Facade. "An attractive white facade on the coast of Barcelona can overwhelm standing by itself in a photographic frame," says Olic. "Combining it with an unrelated close-by culture center and its own mirrored facade helps balance and bring both facades into focus and comparison." 

Mirror Facade. "An attractive white facade on the coast of Barcelona can overwhelm standing by itself in a photographic frame," says Olic. "Combining it with an unrelated close-by culture center and its own mirrored facade helps balance and bring both facades into focus and comparison." 

Shredder Building. Says Olic, "Shinjuku area of Tokyo is an intoxicating visual cocktail of buildings, people, modernity, and speed. Although located adjacent to famous buildings like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the Shinjuku Washington Hotel offers disorienting windows and facade that command attention."

Shredder Building. Says Olic, "Shinjuku area of Tokyo is an intoxicating visual cocktail of buildings, people, modernity, and speed. Although located adjacent to famous buildings like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the Shinjuku Washington Hotel offers disorienting windows and facade that command attention."

The Smoking Building. A well-placed cloud gives the impression that this New York City building is emitting steam, a visual metaphor for the hot real estate market.

The Smoking Building. A well-placed cloud gives the impression that this New York City building is emitting steam, a visual metaphor for the hot real estate market.

Ground Zero Balance: "Massive white wings of Santiago Calatrava's Oculus structure play a part in the somber balance of light and shadow, sky and structure, old and new, heavy and light, at the Ground Zero memorial in NYC." 

Ground Zero Balance: "Massive white wings of Santiago Calatrava's Oculus structure play a part in the somber balance of light and shadow, sky and structure, old and new, heavy and light, at the Ground Zero memorial in NYC."