The Character is in the Details

Downtown Manhattan is a perfect location to see the evolution of New York City's architecture throughout the 20th and 21st century. When buildings from these eras are juxtaposed, one of the most obvious differences may be the staggering heights that the newer buildings are able to reach. At the same time, the lack of ornamentation in the newer buildings brings forth the unique character and attention to detail that the older buildings have shown through their ornamentation.


Whether it is a sculpture, a scroll, or even a geometric mosaic, ornamentation helps give a building its identity and gives it a narrative and a place in time. From atop 57 Reade Street I had an opportunity to observe two great pieces of terra cotta, a centurion and a lion head. 


"But the building's identity resided in the ornament."

-Louis Sullivan

By Fabian Yang