The phrase “underutilized real estate in New York City” may strike many as an oxymoron: isn’t every square inch of the city covered in asphalt, concrete, buildings or park space? If you’re equating “real estate” with “land,” you’re right, but like early 20th-century developers that saw opportunities to build upward, Solar Decathlon 2011′s Team New York thought creatively about the notion of available space in the Big Apple. While land’s at a premium, the students from the City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture and the Grove School of Engineering realized that many of the city’s buildings have flat rooftops – and those rooftops represent 1.6 billion square feet ripe for sustainable development.
It’s really too bad these photos have to be shrunk down so small to fit here, because in full-size panoramic view, they’re breathtaking. These are all from Hale Kula, a series that focuses on schools photographer Juliane Eirich found in Hawaii. They all take place at night, when the schools are lit up and look more like old motels than school houses. Eirich’s photos act like film stills, begging the viewer to invent their own narrative or place themselves within the frame, and this series in particular embodies a certain magic, kind of like that feeling you got as a kid returning to your elementary school at night for a talent show or play and seeing it different, dark, quiet – special and spooky at the same time.
Eirich won second place in 2010 National Juried Competition at the Camera Club of New York, where her work will be up until August 14, 2010. More photos below.