Cities in books

For my self-directed brief, I wish to write about the city alongside photographs, maps and possibly drawings. Whilst I still haven’t created a clear brief of what I want to do, I have been looking at existing examples of books documenting the urban environment.

I am currently reading Iain Sinclair’s Hackney, that rose-red empire (2009), which documents resident’s memories of the borough alongside the author’s own views. The hardback edition slipcover opens up to reveal a map of Hackney.

Some of the delightful quotes I have collected from his book include:

p.9 ‘insulted by accidental tower blocks, an opportunistic sprawl of human storage facilities’

p.70 ‘But in the troubled sleep of De Beauvoir Town, monsters crawl and swim; memory traces of old Hackney bedlams, the shit and straw of satanic madhouses lurking beyond the walls of the city. ’

p.84 ‘Kingsland Road barber shops in-fill the gaps between fast-food joints, upstairs solicitors specializing in debt or deportation resistance, internet cafés and nail parlours that double as money-transfer operations.’

Old & New, designed by Onlab (2010), shows how architects deal with existing buildings. The graphic elements of the buildings lead me through each photograph, building up a story without even having to read the text.

Onlab calls their latest publication, The Spontaneous City, a ‘bookazine’ – the content of a book combined with the layout style of a magazine.

Jung & Wenig’s design for an artist book, Aleksander Komarov’s Estate. The blurry black & white photos feel creepy… there is a silent watcher observing everyday scenes…


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Filed under Architecture, University work

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