All the Buildings* in New York (*That I’ve Drawn So Far)
By James Gulliver Hancock

May 29, 2013 /
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By Eva Bjerring

New York has a lot of buildings. Even if you stick to the most noteworthy you can lose your breath just thinking about trying to remember them all.

So initially, the first thought that sprang to mind reading the title "All the Buildings* in New York" was 'yeah right?! How can you squeeze all the buildings from a city literally flooded with architecture monuments in to one 60-pages book?' - until you catch the subtitle "*that I've drawn so far".

The quirky and personal addition immediately cast a smile on this reviewers face.


The Drawn Travel Guide

Artist and illustrator James Gullivor Hancock has a goal: he wants to draw every single building in New York.

So far he has reached around 1000 (of the more than 900.000 in NYC, so there is a long way to go) on his blog, and 100+ has made it into the printed version.

What makes this project interesting is that the drawings are supplied with the street address and additional, varying information. In some cases it is the name of the architect behind the building, as with the instance of the Chrysler Building;

A little note saying that Patty Smith used to work at Strand Bookstore or a drawing illustrating which subway line (G) to take to MoMa from Greenpoint.


But the best part is that Hancock has divided the buildings into boroughs, so that you literally can use the book as an alternative, artistic travel guide. Especially if you want a different take on the city than the average hustling about with the often so unimaginative guides.

Even for the Natives

Being Australian James Gullivor Hancock spots the buildings as an outsider, but he illustrates them with as much love as the native New Yorker providing his take on the city with a personal and deeply empathetic touch.


He draws the buildings that interest him, either for their history, emotion or aesthetic, he tells in the Australian magazine Wish.

And perhaps more interesting than the actual drawing for Hancock is the scratching away of the history or beauty of the building - alongside the small anecdotes and facts takes his curatorial look to a level of interest for anyone fond of the city.

He then separates the building or building block from the surroundings letting it shine in its own glory. For an experienced student of buildings, this resembles a lot how you look at the surroundings. It widens your senses and lets you take in the detailing of the building.

For others is a good starting point into experiencing building design, not just as any other building next to all the other buildings, but as a unique mass build on an idea, a need or as statement of its time.


Did He Get All Details?

Drawing the city instead of writing about or photographing it as so many others awakes your curiosity on a whole different level. It makes you want to go seek out every one of the buildings and explore just what is so special about that brownstone?

Is it that is so typical, that it tells the story of a particular time in history or because one little detail sticks out? And what is that then? Did he get the coloring right on 194 Bleeker St right? Or all the windows on the 145-146 Central Park West?


You have to go there yourself to count, because he doesn't tell. He just leaves you with that itch you have to scratch…


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Publish date: April 2, 2013

Hardcover, 64 pages

Last updated: December 20, 2013

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