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Behold the Evolution Tower in Moscow, the clever DNA-themed behemoth joining the other bowling trophies in the Russian Capital’s jazzed-up Trade Center district skyline. It will be interesting to see how they clean all those curvey windows. Techno-narcissistic building stunts of this kind signal the end of an era. Civilizations always produce their largest and most bizarre monuments just before they collapse. It’s nature’s way. Case in point: the Baluchitherium of the the Central Asian Steppe, largest land animal that ever lived, coming in around 15 to 20 tons and 16 feet high at the shoulder. Must have had a dazzling DNA chain! Went extinct about 20 million years ago. (Sigh.)


About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

7 Responses to “February 2016” Subscribe

  1. San Jose February 3, 2016 at 11:58 am #

    The angled copper-colored building in the background is just as ghastly.

  2. degraff February 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    I would love to see a documented list of monuments and dates built to confirm your statement. I don’t disagree. Off the top of my head, the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building were going straight up as the economy was going straight down. The World Trade Centers and Sears Towers were completed just in time for the 70s malaise to kick in. These “bowling trophies” never seem to go up at the beginning of a boom cycle, always at the end.

  3. jayrome February 7, 2016 at 2:32 am #

    I guess this is perceived as progress. Look back to the Soviet era structures in comparison to a modernistic veneer of these buildings. It must be a feel good kind of thing and a way to tell the world that we are just like you people of the West.
    These grandiose trophy buildings might not hold up for more than a generation. They will never be re-purposed once their expiration date has passed, they will be demolished for the next what ever it will be.

  4. DrTomSchmidt February 8, 2016 at 12:35 am #

    It is at least an interesting building to look at. I guess TrofimLysenko really is gone.

    JHK once wrote about International “Style” buildings having all hard edges and lines as an expression of the triumphalist masculine ethic of the world-conquering Americans in the aftermath of WW2. There was no place for curves on buildings, and no need for women to worry their pretty little heads about the high-social-capital, walkable city neighborhoods they lived in. Men would build a new world for them and their many booming children.

  5. Dennis R. Lieb February 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    The towers are obviously crap, but whats going on in the background, at ground level, in this photo is whats really scary. How much blank concrete can the average person on foot endure before blowing a major gasket?

  6. Illoura February 21, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    The closer up you get, the uglier… At the top of that building it looks like some of the evenly-spaced white ‘bars’ are missing already. If not, that is one glaring design flaw.
    Sadly, I’ve noted lately how all the countries are becoming ‘westerinzed’ – they adopt our business tactics/practices, our freeway layouts and signage, and our housing… and losing identity. The global identity is now all merged and merging, just as we are discovering the flaws in our ‘continuous growth’ system being flawed, AND we just as we have lost all the valuable skills for hand-crafting and knowledge of self-sufficiency, the more ‘backward’ countries are losing theirs. As you say, we are on the way to true backwardization – dragging each other down. I imagine everyone will be quick to remove what even reminds them of the grand illusion of the West.

    I read (or saw a documentary) of where towns in Bosnia (or similar)… grew (something like) 16-30 different types of apples. Until Monsanto came in and paid them to only grow their ‘sellable’ apples.

    This is not just the obvious problem of mono-crops – that the different apples were suited to the climate, and provided types that were early/mid/late ripening, so you wouldn’t lose it all if there were a freak or extreme weather event. Another issue is that they lost ways and to provide for themselves -as each type was filling needs: for pig food, for baking, for storing over winter, for making apple-cider vinegar from, etc. And soon even the knowledge of making these things will be lost.

    The system’s insanity at its finest.

  7. John July 4, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    Wow! I can do that, too! Just like Bjark Ingels Group.

    They taught us how to twist a tower into a fat twizzler on the second day of Revit class. Slick! You, too can design like a starchitect in the privacy of your own office.

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