Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture
By John Hill
W.W. Norton 2012
John Hill’s Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture is no ordinary guide. Self-described as an “architourist,” Hill combines the playfulness of Dora the Explorer with Sherlock Holmes’ eye for the undiscovered. At his recent book talk at the Center for Architecture, Hill talked a bit about the process [editor’s note: check out John Hill’s “Oculus Quick Take” here]. “I pitched the idea to W.W. Norton after reviewing a number of New York-centric guidebooks and noticing that there was an absence of an updated contemporary guide, something I had been documenting on my various web pages from both before and after moving to New York in 2006. I thought about my own navigation through the city and what I wanted to share with others.”
Hill’s journey was self-initiated and took a great deal of tenacity to complete as he moved through his library of visual riches. Raimund Abraham’s Austrian Cultural Forum, a dynamic sliver of a building in Midtown, graces the cover of the book. “I am a fan of infill projects,” Hill noted. Other playful surprises for the urban explorer include: the Terian Design Center by hanrahanMeyers Architects on the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus; the Wonder Woman-plane-like link at the American Academy of Arts and Letters by James Vincent Czajka; and Vito Acconci’s “Wavewall” installation on the side of the West 8th Street Station in Coney Island. Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture is more than a guide. It is a creative time capsule that captures the re-envisioning of New York City, boroughs and all.
Maxinne Rhea Leighton, Assoc. AIA, is a member of the AIANY Oculus Committee and in charge of NE Region Business Development/Marketing at Parsons Brinckerhoff.