Urban Rhythms

Urban Rhythms

The Photography of Paul Brouns

by Rowynn Dumont

The world of architecture can be appreciated in many ways, from its functionality to its aesthetic beauty. Dutch photographer Paul Brouns takes a unique approach to capturing the rhythm and poetry of urban buildings and façades through his lens. His work combines realistic registration with geometric abstraction and creates alternate realities that draw viewers into his universe of geometry, rhythm, and color.

With a photography, painting, and drawing background, Paul graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Tilburg in 1990, where he specialized in these visual arts. Fascinated by the abstract elements of architecture, he focuses on capturing isolated sections and characteristics of buildings, paying attention to light and details in each image. This technique produces a lyrical rendition of these architectural structures, represented as carefully designed urban tapestries.

One thing that sets Paul’s work apart is his ability to create new visual stories with a graphic feel by recombining old photographic details to produce new impressions of buildings. His work is a testament to his vision and ability to create striking images that capture the imagination.

Paul has exhibited his prints worldwide, from Tokyo, Seoul, and New Delhi to New York, London, and Amsterdam. Numerous collectors have purchased his prints, and his work has been featured in several publications, including The Guardian, Saatchi Art Catalogue, Bored Panda, LAB Magazine, and World of Interiors.

In addition, Paul has received several nominations and awards for his work. He has been nominated for the Fine Art Photography Awards five times and has won awards from the Chromatic Photo Awards, Moscow International Photography Awards, and Paris Photo Prize. In 2022, he exhibited his work at Palazzo Bembo in Venice during the Art Biennale.
Paul’s photographs are available in limited editions, making them even more valuable to collectors. His work demonstrates countless ways to capture and appreciate the beauty of architecture. He combines his understanding of form, light, and color to create a unique vision of urban buildings and facades, transforming them into mesmerizing, abstract compositions.

Encoded Motion

The façades of the AC Bella Sky Hotel dominate the Ørestad district in Copenhagen. The angled walls seem to convey abstract messages as its shapes remind of a graphical script. When a young woman walked by with a baby, the movement is also echoed in these letter like shapes. The building was designed by 3XN Architects.


Fire Escapism IV

My ongoing series of New York fire escapes is an uplifting tribute to the rhythm of this fascinating city. To me the fire escapes and the facades behind them are very characteristic for New York. On one side they are abstract compositions, but at the same time the stairs and windows behind provide a tangible reference to the human scale.


Fountain of Coolness

This is L’Arbre Blanc (translation. The White Tree) in the city of Montpellier, France. It is a residential tower on which the balconies are applied like leaves on a tree. The glorious multitude of white and the abundance of rhythm to me struck me as if I was watching a fountain of light. All those scattered balconies and sunshades reflect the silvery mediterranean light and to me that felt like a refreshing shower for the soul. Architects: Sou Fujimoto, Nicolas Laisné, Dimitri Roussel and OXO Architects.

From Rubik to Kubrick

The original building in this composition is the Maciachini Center in Milan, Italy. It is an office complex that has a very engaging rhythm and colorful intensity. Looking up onto one of the façades I particularly loved the different sections of multicolored window screens that were open and closed. By repeating this façade four times an atrium is created, in which the asymmetrical division becomes more balanced. The title refers to two associations I had with the resulting work: with the geometrical puzzle object known as Rubik’s cube and the futuristic and visually haunting worlds created by movie director Stanley Kubrick.

Tempered Tempest

This is a personal adaptation of Homerus Gardens in Almere-Poort. Seeing the triangular balconies sticking out of the blue façade, I got the association of waves in an ocean. The shifted perspective on several levels creates a restless impression, but the storm at the same time is kept under control by organizing it all within a grid. Original design by Olof Architects in Almere.

Union of Diversity

Omnizorg in Apeldoorn (NL) is a shelter for the homeless, drug addicts and people with psychiatric disorders. In addition to this noble function, the façade expresses a bright and uplifting playfulness through the colourful window shutters in different positions.

White Rose Terraces

The White Rose (De Witte Roos) is a 13 story social housing project in Nijmegen, designed by 24H Architects. Its organic shapes look different from all angles and is beautiful to its tiniest details. It never ceases to intrigue and inspire. I photographed its four corners and brought them together, building a high-rise rose garden out of those different points of view.


Sweet and Playful

Sweet and irresistible like honey. That is what patterns are to me. The simple joy of repetition is such a profound pleasure, I can never have enough of it. This facade pattern I captured in Paris - near Rosa Parks Station. It reminds me of the shape puzzles my children used to make as toddlers. Sweet memories by association.


Symphony of Self

Observing "The Moretti" at La Défense in Paris. After many passing pedestrians one man stopped and started observing himself.

Explore more of Paul‘s photography:


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