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Thursday, June 03, 2010

AIA Guide to New York City Launch Party



Last night the 5th edition of the AIA's magnificent Guide to New York City was feted at a launch Party at The Center for Architecture downtown. First published in 1968, the AIA Guide has long been the definitive guide to the New York's architecture. From Manhattan to Staten Island, the reference guide has interesting things to say about all the interesting buildings in the city. Norval White first published the guide in 1968 with Elliot Willensky. Co-creator Norval White died in France two weeks after the new manuscript was completed, but all the speakers at the event spoke of him with such gravity and reverence that he seemed still very much alive last night. "For those of you who knew (Norval)," said John Dixon, "he was formidable."

22 students of City College architecture professor Fran Leadon actually helped make the book. How organic is that? "Without them the book would never have gotten finished." Their work on the book involved photography, taking notes and keeping an eye out for "interesting buildings we might have missed." The 42,000-plus photos were then uploaded to Flickr and sorted for publication. It was a cool party, and because it was peopled with a lot of architects, black was the dominant color for clothes and there was lots of funky glasses (part of the architects uniform, you see). As important as the guide is -- and it is important -- I cannot wait for the iPhone app, so I can reference the scholarship and pithy observations whenever I see an interesting building.

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