written by:
September 5, 2013
Originally published in City Living
“I begin to know a city through its fragments, walking below tall buildings, along facades of signs, doors, and windows, crossing without knowing from one district to the next, down busy streets and empty ones—some more interesting than others, but all part of this thing we call the city,” writes Irish illustrator Nigel Peake in his new book, In the City (Princeton Architectural Press, 2013). Peake’s prismatic ink and watercolor drawings document and deconstruct the artist’s observations of and musings on metropolises like Shanghai, New York, London, and Paris.
Illustration by Nigel Peake

In this image from In the City, illustrator Nigel Peake deciphers skyscrapers as an amalgam of “tall glass and steel and neon.”

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Illustration by Nigel Peake

In the City, a new book published by the Princeton Architectural Press, is now available. In the tome, illustrator Nigel Peake presents his musings on cities and abstract drawings that depit his perception of the built environment.

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Illustration by Nigel Peake

"This book of work has been drawn from various visits to places, from the things that I see, the things that I find odd or comfort in. I like to walk in cities, it is the best way to observe, with the pace of the walk you have a rhythm and you have time to see," writes Peake.

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Illustration by Nigel Peake

Here, Peake illustrates a glass facade. The book is divided into chapters on surfaces, places, fragments, paths, and changes.

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Illustration by Nigel Peake

This image of a skyscraper appears in the surfaces chapter. Peake writes: "Saturated, shiny, soggy, new, ragged, old, scratched, metallic, hot, broken, opaque, cracked, soft, and ripped. Within a small distance, all of these appear side by side."

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Illustration by Nigel Peake

The book features drawings made from pencil, ink, and watercolor. This one appears in the "change" section. "Structures appear, things are repaired and replaced, and some disappear, while new permanent ones are made," writes Peake.

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Illustration by Nigel Peake

A bird's-eye view of a rooftop from In the City (Princeton Architectural Press, 2013).

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Illustration by Nigel Peake

In this image from In the City, illustrator Nigel Peake deciphers skyscrapers as an amalgam of “tall glass and steel and neon.”

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