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July 18, 2012
by Daniel Fox

On Monday, July 2, 2012, Miguel Baltierra, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, interviewed John Hill, the author of Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture. Hill recently presented his book at the Center for Architecture as a part of AIANY’s Oculus Book Talk Series. Here is an excerpt of the interview, which can be heard in its entirety here.

Hello this is Miguel Angel Baltierra on Monday July 2nd, 2012. Today architect, author and critic John Hill, Joins me today to discuss his first book “Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture,” published by W.W. Norton & Company. He is presently Adjunct Professor at the New York Institute of Technology. In 1999 John began his website: “A Weekly Dose of Architecture” and then began a blog “A Daily Dose of Architecture” in 2004. John’s blog presently attracts over 32,000 visitors per week. He is also the founder of “The Archi-tourist” and is the US Representative/Editor of World-Architects.com.

“Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture” highlights more than 200 buildings completed since the year 2000, a decade when a veritable building boom gripped the city, giving rise to a host of new – and architecturally cutting-edge – residential, corporate, institutional, academic, and commercial structures.

MB: Thanks for being here John!

JH: Thanks for having me.

MB: Tomorrow I have friends coming to visit New York City for five days. I am going to hand them your guide and send them on their way. What should I tell them is the primary benefit of this guide to any other on New York and what would you wish for them to get out of it after they return it to me?

JH: New York City has enough layers – historical, physical, social, and so forth – that no single guide can provide a comprehensive overview and therefore be necessarily more valuable than another one. By focusing on recent architecture, my guide highlights changes to the city that find expression in architectural form: Be it the rise of the starchitect, the condo-ization of parts of the city, the increased awareness of green building, and so forth. I would hope that your friends understand and maybe even appreciate the new buildings they might not have otherwise paid attention to in their visit to the city. On some of the walking tours I’ve given, people have commented that they have noticed certain buildings in the past, but they never knew why there were significant or why they looked the way they do. Hopefully the book will pique their interest and give them some background on notable buildings and spaces, and get them to explore parts of the city they might not have otherwise visited.

MB: What parameters were critical for selecting the buildings in the guide?

JH: The main criteria was that the building or space be public in some way, be it a façade on a street, a publicly accessible interior, or an accessible outdoor space…

Be sure to listen to all of the Oculus Quick Takes here!

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