Elan Vital – Water Street Brookyln

Water Street

Site Drawing in Progress



Once upon a Time in America’ – Sergio Leone

I wanted to look at Water Street in Brooklyn, just next the Brooklyn Bridge. I chose this site for two reasons, one reason slightly more prominent than the other.

Jane Jacobs talks about Brooklyn possessing a number of aged buildings that she argues are vital for businesses and artists etc. looking for premises which don’t come loaded with the heavy overheads of new construction. Apparently Brooklyn was great for this when Jacobs wrote ‘Death and Life of Great American Cities’, being an incubator for small business.¬†Along with her other theories surrounding the conditions that give rise to active areas, sustenance in the built form over time and successful social conditions, I chose a site in Brooklyn which has a mixture of residential, arts, business and commerce, all interrelated elements and functions which express Jacob’s theories.

The second reason is that I saw the site on the iconic ‘Once upon a time in America’¬†poster. I’ve always thought it was such a beautiful image, so I was kind of drawn to it. Turned out it was also actually quite a decent site in which I could express the theories I’d been looking at.

I would like to layer up the different layers of use, of function, of age and appropriation upon the drawing shown by way of transfers and line drawing. So I will layer up planes of images over the facades, what they’re used for etc, and start looking at overlapping relationships and interconnectivities.

2 thoughts on “Elan Vital – Water Street Brookyln

  1. It would be great to convey history of the area, small enterprises, and why these older buildings became their headquarters through how you draw the site and the buildings. How do you combine line work with your transfer technique to show how these histories or stories start to relate and overlap? how do you show time in relationship to the city? This is an interesting technique using long exposures to create an overlay of images and ghostly traces of presences in the city that came before of are soon to come: http://socks-studio.com/2010/09/24/the-passing-of-time/
    Its reminiscent of your transfer technique but how do you use the linework to show the unchangeable parts of the city and then emphasise the changes and how they connect to one another? Good base – looking forward to seeing how it develops.

  2. Wow. Those photographs are fantastic! Thankyou for the reference. Thats also a really good point about the linework and the transfer technique, how the medium can deliver different messages ie. Fixed linework for more permanent aspects and then an additive transfer process which is slightly more flexible. Maybe the drawing actually allows for and promotes the process as something interactive.

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