Building Stories by Isabel Hill
Central Library, Youth Wing
Photography based on the artist's book Building Stories.
This exhibition is an offshoot of my recently published book, Building Stories. Reproductions of color plates from the book are an architectural exploration of some of the symbols and icons on a variety of buildings in New York City. Making the analogy that buildings are like books with stories to tell, Building Stories transforms and animates the history of some of New York’s more unusual and fantastic architectural treasures. Historic photographs from a variety of sources—including Brooklyn Public Library, the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and other city and national archives—give a rich and colorful look at our past.
The study of architecture and the nature of cities have been compelling interests for me since college. My work, both in writing children’s books and producing documentary films, continues to be greatly influenced by my colleagues—urban planners, architects and historians—and by cities themselves!
Most recently I have been incredibly impressed with children in the neighborhood schools I visit; their views and observations of the city help me to understand and see things in different ways. I conduct architecture tours with them because I believe in the importance of an early appreciation for our built environment. These tours are a wonderful first step toward neighborhood preservation, as kids develop enthusiasm and concern about their neighborhoods just by looking at buildings. They start to feel good about their communities and care about making them cleaner, safer and more beautiful.
Isabel Hill is a historian, children’s book author and filmmaker. She
has exhibited work from her books at the Katonah Museum of Art in
New York, Brooklyn Public Library and Private Properties Gallery in Washington, D.C. She is the recipient of an Elliot Willensky Award
and a finalist for a Benjamin Franklin Award. She earned a Master of Arts in American studies from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Hollins College.
Eberhard Faber Pencil Building
© Isabel Hill
Eberhard Faber Empress
Public School 124 façade
© Isabel Hill