Monthly Archives: December 2013

Animation of Schizoanalytic Section Cut down Wall Street


Assignment3_Progress_Schizoanalysis Section Cut Storyboarding a Section Cut through Wall Street in the Financial District, from Trinity Church to the Water. Important points of interest: Ghost of the original Wall of Wall street, its twists and turns, not like the 1811 street grid Trinity church, its cemetery, the 4-5 Subway. The interior of the church as a spiritual treasure NYStock Exchange Building, its sunken trading floor, its barricaded exterior, "outside vs inside" culture. The inside of the trading floor as an economic treasure. Federal Hall and the Bill of Rights/Washington's Inauguration across the street from the House of Morgan. The juxtaposition of the two buildings embodies America's capitalist DNA. The House of Morgan was the metaphoric economic center of the world in the early 20th century. To the north the 8 story vault below ground of the Federal Reserve's gold stash can be seen. The Trump Tower across the street from Tiffany's. The Trump Tower is the tallest building on Wall St, along with the NSYE and the Deutsche Bank. The height of the buildings - their spatialized reality is a result of the cultural economics of this street. Skyscrapers were built to allow as many financial companies as possible to be located as close the the stock exchange as possible. However with today's technology, that proximity is no longer as necessary, and financial companies are moving elsewhere. Tiffany's is a prime example of one of the high end retail stores on Wall Street that retain the air of exclusivity and prestige. The Deutsche Bank - the last major bank on Wall Street. Residential conversions - previously occupied by financial companies, now being turned into apartments. The helipad on the East River for VIP bankers use.


(Left side, top image, building ages of Financial District reflecting which era they were built in: Pre 1916, 1916-1961, Post 1961)  New York City’s roof heights have been shaped by building codes, driven by the desire to prevent skyscrapers from eliminating daylight from the streets.  In 1916, the setback codes came into play, and building tops began to be terraced (“wedding cakes”) to permit more light down into the street canyons.  The 1961 code change allowed for buildings to be built straight up without setbacks which was more structurally efficient, but required the buildings to give back to the street with more public plazas, which allowed space and light.

(Left side, 2nd image down) A 3-D diagram showing the difference between 1916 and 1961 buildings, with and without setbacks.

(Left side, 3rd image down)  The Financial District from above.

(Left side, 4th image down) The darkest black of the previous image extracted reveals the figure-ground shape of the street canyons in the Financial District.  The narrowness of the Financial District’s old streets coupled with its extra tall buildings caused by the economic history there causes this acute darkness.


(Right side, top image): New York’s topography as seen in grayscale spectrum.  The whitest areas are the highest.

(Right side, 2nd image down): Upping the contrast of the previous image shows only the highest areas.  We can explain these areas based on significant geological events.  From left to right: the line of the Catskill Mountains dating back 200 million years, the line of the Terminal Morraine on Long Island dating back 18,000 years, and the Hudson River low point.   The Ice Ages were a “re-zoning” of New York’s height just as the setback laws were a “re-zoning” of New York City skyscrapers’ heights.

(Right side, 3rd image down): Civilized areas in red, showing how colonization has occurred at the lowest points of topography, along rivers and bodies of water.  Topographic height therefore is a repellent to civilization.  The same can be said for rooftops in the Financial District as they have more intense conditions of light and wind.

(Right side, 4th image down): Highest points inverted to black.

Assignment2_Progress_Roof Geneology


Building Ages


Building Heights (Financial District)

Green Roofs


White Roof Bloomberg Initiative


Financial District – Note how the height of the buildings can be determined by the darkness of the shadows between them.




Extracting the blackest black with the wand tool in Photoshop gives us a figure-ground of the street canyons


Graph of Building heights to code changes NYC


Map of Building ages: Maroon= Pre 1916 Setback Laws, Red=1916-1961, Pink=Post 1961 non-setback Laws


Diagram showing forms of these buildings – with and without setbacks (1916 vs 1961)

Project1_Final_The NY Metropolis fragmented by Robert Moses' Brooklyn-Queens Expressway built between the 1950s and 1960s. Note how the highway separates the rest of Queens from its northernmost neighborhood of Ditmars, isolating it. 2013.09.13_Buildings_Ditmars.1.2000race_JR The isolation of this neighborhood is reflected in its demographics.  In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, causing a mass migration of people to flee from Greece to New York, settling mainly in Ditmars.  Whereas the rest of Astoria has diversified with Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Caucasians, the Brooklyn-Queens-Expressway caused a spatial and metaphoric divide, isolating Ditmars and its primarily ethnic Greek/Caucasian residents.