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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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art thursday, Architecture, shigeru ban, cardboard cathedral,

Architecture with Heart: Exploring the Work of Shigeru Ban

For more photos and videos from Shigeru Ban’s structures around the world, explore the Centre Pompidou-Metz and Cardboard Cathedral location pages and browse the #shigeruban hashtag.

For modernist architect Shigeru Ban, the art of structural design isn’t just an exercise in aesthetics, but rather a means of solving important problems during humanitarian crises.

Though Ban stands as the mind behind iconic structures such as the Centre Pompidou-Metz in Lorraine, France, its his temporary structures that have perhaps garnered the most recognition, earning him this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious honor in the field of modern architecture.

In the wake of massive crises, Ban has lent his skills to designing temporary structures that bring both shelter and beauty to people in need. He has worked with the UN to design refugee shelters for displaced populations in countries like Turkey and Rwanda and has even built two temporary churches in cities shaken my natural disasters. After a powerful quake struck the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011 and severely damaged the city’s iconic 19th-century cathedral, Ban worked with local firm Warren and Mahoney to build the Cardboard Cathedral. The stunning, A-frame structure was made primarily out of cardboard tubing and paper, Ban predominant materials that are both cheaply accessible during times of crisis and are largely recyclable when the buildings come down.

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Ostankino Tower, location feature, Russia, Moscow, Architecture,

Floating Above Moscow in the Ostankino Tower (Останкинская телебашня)

To see more photos and videos from Moscow’s Ostankino Tower, explore the Останкинская телебашня location page.

Soaring 540 meters (1,772 feet) into the sky above Moscow, Russia, the Ostankino Tower (Останкинская телебашня) provides radio and television signal as well as an astounding view for those who venture to its top.

Completed in 1967 and named after Moscow’s Ostankino district, the tower was the world’s first freestanding structure to top 500 meters. Today, visitors can snap both panoramas of Moscow and the earth 360 meters (1,180 feet) below the tower’s glass-bottomed observation deck.

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tokyo skytree, User Feature, tips, Architecture,

Tokyo Skytree from @naomi0326’s Balcony

See more photos and videos of the Skytree by browsing the 東京スカイツリー (Tokyo Skytree) and 東京スカイツリー 天望デッキ location pages.

When Tokyo Instagrammer Naomi Nakazaki (@naomi0326) moved into her new apartment, she not only gained a new place to live, but also a fantastic view of the Tokyo Skytree right outside her balcony. It was not long before Naomi began to direct her passion for photography to the new landmark tower, taking snapshots of the Skytree at different times of the day to create a dynamic series. “I would try to wake up before dawn every morning and take pictures at daybreak,” she says. “I feel sleep deprived all of the time because of this.”

Naomi also likes the view at night when the Tokyo Skytree is lit up, but her favorite moment is when the lights go out every night at 11PM. “I like the softness and airiness of that moment,” she explains.

Want to capture a favorite landmark in your hometown? Here are some tips from Naomi:

  • Look out for the changes in the sky. One cloud can completely change the expression of the scene.
  • For something big like the Tokyo Skytree, try to capture the scene so that it looks high and wide within the square frame.
  • Aim for the perfect angle—when taking pictures on your phone, the slightest angle can hugely affect the colors you can capture.

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Location Feature, hearst castle, Architecture,

Exploring California’s Hearst Castle on Instagram

For more photos and videos from Hearst Castle, explore the Hearst Castle location page.

In 1919, media tycoon William Randolph Hearst commissioned architect Julia Morgan to design a home atop the 270,000 acres (1,093 square kilometers) of property he owned in the hills of San Simeon, California. Over the next 28 years, Morgan created one of the most ambitious architectural projects in American history: Hearst Castle.

The home, formally named La Cuesta Encantada (“The Enchanted Hill”), contains over 160 rooms and boasts tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield and 127 acres (.5 square kilometers) of gardens. Most iconic, however, are the property’s two ornate pools—one indoor and one outdoor—that Morgan designed with Hearst’s love of Roman antiquity in mind. The outdoor Neptune Pool (rebuilt three times until it was perfect) features the façade from an actual temple imported from Italy, while the expansive indoor Roman Pool is decorated with a floor-to-ceiling mosaic made of glass and fused-gold tiles.

During its prime, the Castle also held the world’s largest private zoo. Though the zoo was dismantled after Hearst’s death in 1951, a sparse population of zebras can be seen roaming the grounds to this day.

Hearst Castle is now a state historic park and welcomes nearly one million visitors each year.

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Location Feature, stahl house, pierre koenig, architecture,

Exploring Hollywood’s Stahl House

For more photos and videos from The Stahl House, explore the Stahl House (Case Study House #22) location page.

In 1959, architect Pierre Koenig designed a home in the Hollywood Hills as part of the Case Studies Houses program, a series of architectural experiments meant to create prototypes for efficient and aesthetically-pleasing homes at a time when millions of soldiers were returning to the United States from WWII. Officially named Case Study House #22, Koening’s modernist home has become popularly known as the Stahl House after the architect’s client, Buck Stahl.

Perched on a steep slope, the modernist home features strong geometric lines and glass walls that offer sweeping views of the Los Angeles area. Throughout the years, the house’s unique design and ideal—if surprising—location have led to a stardom of its own through appearances in numerous ad campaigns, photo shoots and feature films. The iconic home especially holds an appeal to Instagrammers who have made the trek to visit.

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User Feature, hong kong, Architecture,

Chasing Density with @vdubl

For more photos of Hong Kong’s towering architecture, be sure to follow @vdubl on Instagram.

Hong Kong-based architect Vivien Wei Wei Liu (@vdubl) loves building design and mobile photography—two passions that come together in a powerful way through her Instagram images. “The design of buildings in Hong Kong is based on spatial scarcity; a struggle to house as many people on the smallest site possible,” explains Vivien. “The notion of living closely has a different connotation in what is one of the densest places in the world.”

Through her smartphone, Vivien captures the seemingly endless repetition and colorful patterns found in many of the city’s residential towers and deep urban canyons, where light barely reaches the street level. “My goal is to immerse the viewer into the space in which the photo was taken,” Vivien says.

Vivien, who helped organize a recent Instameet in Hong Kong, is also fascinated with the city’s stunning skyline. “One of the unique characteristics of Hong Kong is that in less than 20 minutes from the city, one can be immersed in lush greenery while enjoying spectacular views that juxtapose nature and the dense urban fabric.”

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Architecture, Location Feature, Wat Rong Khun, วัดร่องขุ่น,

Thailand’s White Temple, Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)

Located near the city of Chiang Rai, Wat Rong Khun (วัดร่องขุ่น)—known outside Thailand as the “White Temple”—stands as an unusual and beautiful mix of traditional Thai architecture and modern-day science fiction memorabilia. It was designed by painter-turned-architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, one of Thailand’s most renowned architects, who set out to create one of the most elegant temples in Chiang Rai.

The temple’s white color symbolizes purity; its glittering glass signifies the teachings of the Buddha; and the moat filled with outreaching arms represents desire. Detailed sculptures of skulls, demons and severed heads are also scattered around the premises. Perhaps most interestingly, a mural inside with images of Batman, Superman, and even the alien from Predator tell a modern-day story of Buddha.

Construction on Wat Rong Khun began in 1996 and is expected to finish in 2070, long after Kositpipat has passed. Plans include nine buildings built on an area of about 3 acres, and though it is a work in progress, the temple attracts an increasingly large number of visitors every year—many of whom share their visit to the temple on Instagram.

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current event, architecture, im pei,

Celebrating I.M. Pei’s 96th Birthday

Today, famed architect I.M. Pei turns 96. Born in Guangzhou, China, Pei came to the United States in 1935 to pursue higher education. He graduated from MIT with his Bachelors in Architecture in 1940 and from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1946.

Pei’s work is distinctly modernist with cubist tones and often features distinctive sweeping reflective glass facades. He is perhaps best known for the glass and steel pyramid at the Museé du Louvre in Paris, France—a controversial project completed in 1989 that has since become one of the most iconic modern buildings in France.

For more photos from I.M. Pei’s greatest works, check out their location pages below:

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Architecture, Location Feature, Jan Kaplický,

The Futuristic Architecture of Jan Kaplický

Today would have marked world-renowned Czech architect Jan Kaplický’s 76th birthday. He is best known for his remarkable futuristic buildings scattered around Britain, including the Selfridges department store in Birmingham, which takes the shape of a blue free-form iceberg covered in silver disks and displays Kaplický’s typical otherworldly touch. His beautiful designs can also be appreciated through Instagram photographs taken at the Lord’s Cricket Ground’s press box in London and the Museo casa Enzo Ferrari in Italy.

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Architecture, Location Feature, libraries,

The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” -Ray Bradbury

For centuries, books have housed the collective knowledge of the world and formed the foundations of educational institutions. Given that these objects contain such value, it only makes sense that throughout history people have constructed beautiful buildings to house them.

We put together a list of some of the most beautiful libraries as captured by Instagrammers around the world. For more photos from these architectural wonders, check out their linked location pages below.