New York is one of my favourite cities: disjointed, divided, crowded and perpetually changing. The architecture is massive: not brutalist, but simply prevalent. There is more architecture than air in Manhattan. Layers of it, from the monumental to the prosaic, the sculptural to that which is simply perplexed.
There’s a clear transition point of design, from the structure engineered on paper, manifestation of dreams and desire, through to the vision designed by computer, abstracted from location and style. Those older building are massive through study and hot forged engineering, whilst the modern structures, more glass than brick, are byproducts of force calculation and the need for globalised skylines and the tourist dollar.
Architecture is always about the expression of desire, rarely a matter of pure function, it’s a devolved personality, but in cities, especially modern cites, that desire has become abstracted from the human. As our cities reach ever higher, layers of humanity cascade down the frictionless frontages, consigned to begging in the doorway, or staring open mouthed up the unscalable sides. Cities are built through architecture, but we exist in the spaces that the walls define.
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