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Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year again. Here’s JHK’s holiday classic: A Christmas Orphan.

11-year-old Jeff Greenaway hears his mom and dad argue one night after an office Christmas party. He infers from their garbled squabble that he is an orphan, found in a willow basket on the welcome mat outside their New York apartment. Thinking now that his parents are imposters, he steals away to Grand Central Station and buys a train ticket to Drakesville, Vermont, where he intends to start life all over again.
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JHK’s lost classic now reprinted as an e-book
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Behold, the 60-story Tipsy Lego Tower a.k.a. the M City Building proposed for downtown Mississauga, Ontario, Canada — Toronto’s little sister city to the west — designed by an outfit called CORE Architects. What original minds! Everybody and his uncle in the global architariat has been coming out with towers meant to appear tectonically unstable. These cute visual tricks are enabled by computer-aided-design (CAD), but just as rust never sleeps, the diminishing returns of technology also work tirelessly to defeat our narcissistic tropes.

“The design is intended to be ‘iconic yet simple — something that would last the test of time,’ said CORE Architects’ Babak Eslahjou.”

Yeah yeah blah blah, that’s exactly where he gets it wrong. This is a building that will never be renovated… that has no capacity for adaptive re-use, which is the foundation of enduring urbanism. That’s the trouble with these CAD stunts: they produce buildings so unprecedented that there is no extant knowledge about their long-term maintenance and renovation. It’s especially problematic where contemporary fabricated modular materials are concerned because the builders assume that these things will be available far off in the future. #Big Mistake. #Faulty Assumption. The bottom line will be a stupendous waste of money and, sooner rather than later, another techno-narcissistic white elephant cluttering up the urban scene.

My favorite touch in the rendering, though, is the eight-lane expressway that the building is located on. They complement each other perfectly.

Shout-out and thanks t0 Gary and Ingrid for the nomination.

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Note: The blog is sponsored this month by David McAlvany’s firm, ICA. Find out why investors have used them since 1972 to acquire physical gold and silver, and request free information, by visiting: http://mcalvanyica.com/investorkit/

Forth and final book
of the World Made By Hand series

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Amazon Hardcover | Kindle
Autographed Copy Battenkill Books
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New Interview with JHK about The Harrows of Spring

Praise for A History of the Future:
Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist

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With an entertaining new introduction by the author

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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.

12 Responses to “February 2017” Subscribe

  1. jayrome February 7, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    The building looks unstable, on the verge of collapse, similar to an accordion. I guess this thing was not made to last. What a waste of good materials. Hit it with an ugly stick!
    I wonder how this thing will survive the Grand Solar Minimum Ice Age? Who could afford to heat it anyway? At least it will look very cool sticking up out of a glacier.

  2. Phil_C February 7, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

    It would be cool if we could get actual eyesores instead of proposed ones. Not that I’ve submitted any, mind you.

  3. pequiste February 8, 2017 at 12:45 am #

    Computer-aided-design? Looks to me more like alcohol-aided-design.

    Also gonna be a bitch to do those windows with standard scaffolding.

  4. pequiste February 8, 2017 at 12:46 am #

    Oh yeah I forgot to ask – where’s the freakin’ snow eh?

  5. SvrzoH February 8, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    Building may have been interesting, in the contest of “new or prevailing architectural language” that is, if all the exuberance was in one corner only of otherwise more straight (or) stable and less tall tower.

    One aspect of this profession, that escaped general public, is that there are independently wealthy architects who do not have to work for living even though they gladly collect the check. Stuck in “sculptor-wanna be” but with no balls or talent they settle in “safe” profession and tend to be a creators of sculptural eyesores witnessed on this site. Baba-booey appears to be the one.
    Brief visit to Co. site reveals that “Toy-studio” is stuffed, beside aging principals, with flock of chicks and some hipster looking guys as a collective face behind the “creation”.

  6. SvrzoH February 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    One more thing.
    For those not familiar with with use of CAD programs in design, it is nothing other than a drafting tool.
    This month’s sample could have been drawn with ease in old fashion way – hunched over the drafting table.
    Jim’s comment below the photo may give an impression that architect puts building requirement “ingredients” into the machine, press the button and computer spits out a crazy looking building.
    What is rather happening is that eyesores are the result of design runaway train where architects are trying to outdo each other in “originality”.

  7. AKlein February 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

    Jim mentions the appropriateness of the 8-lane highway next to the proposed edifice. Surely true that these two “go together”. Complementing Jim’s pithy observation, I would like to ask, how is it that there are pedestrians walking around the base of the structure. Where are they going to or coming from, I wonder? Perhaps they are steeping themselves in the ambiance. Nothing gets you more in the mood than the fumes from an 8-lane thoroughfare. Behold the couple in the lower left enjoying a stroll. Now that’s livin’!

  8. brb February 9, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

    “For those not familiar with with use of CAD programs in design, it is nothing other than a drafting tool.”

    Actually, that is not entirely true anymore. CAD programs used to just be drafting tools but in 2017 we now have programs like Rhino Grasshopper or Dynamo that utilize “parametric modeing” to spit out funky shapes based on the inputed parameters by the programmer/architect.

    • SvrzoH February 10, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

      You are right, in a sense that model has a embedded dimensional information for final execution which I think is a driving reason for sudden use of a new creativity.
      Clay models or Sarinen warming a rubber bands to wrench out the final shape of a Gateway arch are samples of getting the form, but to execute it, a long and painful calculations needed to take shape.

  9. koltemyrick February 11, 2017 at 6:17 am #

    Everything in the west is so ugly these days. The buildings are ugly. The music is ugly. Clothes, tattoos, television, art; all of this morally relativistic, hedonistic, yes Kunstler, tech-narcissistic garbage that passes for popular culture these days; its g*d damned depressing is what it is!

    • JimInFlorida February 15, 2017 at 8:46 am #

      The Top 1% decided, some time ago, that every aspect of beauty and harmony has been explored and exhausted. To maintain both is not in line with their greed for novelty and “originality.”

      The Super Rich, Social Engineers, and the New Leftists took the cue from Paul McCartney in his song, “Silly Love Songs,” in which the aspect of love has been explored and exhausted, and ought to be discarded from the culture. It also follows that beauty and harmony must go as well.

      Enter the celebration of UGLY. Go into the homes of the Rich and you’ll find vulgar and visually shocking themes hanging from their walls. Automakers rapidly adopted ugliness in their styling cues and cars are now just as bloated, technically self-absorbed, and uniformly ugly as the bloated human beings who drive them. Speed, status, and visual harmony are but a dim memory in cars.

      It’s no wonder that architecture lusts after the same anti-beauty paradigm. Not to copy the Soviet-era Stack-a-Prole buildings but, to deliberately project ugliness and offense, while calling it “daring” and “original.”

      It IS a wonder that we’ve been conditioned to not just feel sorry for what is ugly but, we MUST call it beautiful. The conditioning began with that smarmy song, “Everything is beautiful, in its own way…”

  10. Dubs February 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    As Jayrome says, it looks unstable. And it is. Maybe not structurally, although it will be in time!

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