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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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Featured Eyesore of the Month

July 2017

James Howard Kunstler : July 5, 2017 6:25 pm : Eyesore of the Month

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Behold “The Fair-haired Dumbell” under construction in Portland, Oregon, down by the mighty Willamette River. Of course, every Modernist architectural eyesore of the past seventy-five years is given an affectionate (and disparaging) nick-name. Why? Because deep down the public hates these monstrosities, even if they pretend to like them when they arrive on the scene — who wants to appear to be against “the cutting edge?” Thus, “The Gherkin” in London and “The Pregnant Oyster” in Berlin and so on. The list is endless, but you get the idea.

This humdinger, by the Guerrilla Development Company — what’s more “cutting edge” than pretending to be guerrilla warriors? —  is a spec office building — and what’s more humdrum than working in an office?  The elevations are canted outward, promising interesting renovation problems ahead. Flat roof, ditto. It is verboten in US architectural culture these days to make any reference to traditional building forms. And the highest-and-best outcome is something that garners the designer brownie points for novelty. This one just screams “Look How Original I Am… Nothing Like Me Has Ever Been Seen Before In Human History.” And that’s pretty much true.

Architectural media suck-ups will laud this thing for “playfulness,” just wait. In fact, this project just mocks our human aspiration. Remember, nothing goes out of fashion faster than yesterday’s “cutting age. Bdlow, a rendering of the finished product. Uccchhh…

Thanks to Sam Boush for the nomination!

6 Comments »

July 2017

James Howard Kunstler : July 5, 2017 6:25 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Support this blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page! Behold “The Fair-haired Dumbell” under construction in Portland, Oregon, down by the mighty Willamette River. Of course, every Modernist architectural eyesore of the past seventy-five years is given an affectionate (and disparaging) nick-name. Why? Because deep down the public hates these monstrosities, even if they pretend to like more »

June 2017

James Howard Kunstler : June 4, 2017 9:51 am : Eyesore of the Month
You can’t make this shit up. Behold the final surrender of American spiritual life in Poughkeepsie, New York.

May 2017

James Howard Kunstler : May 1, 2017 11:54 am : Eyesore of the Month
     Behold The Shed (artist’s rendering),  the new multi-use performance venue for the old Hudson Yards — kind of a toaster-oven for the arts by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, architects. The glass and steel lid thing on the right slides back over the stairway piece to open up the space to the elements — and more »

April 2017

James Howard Kunstler : April 2, 2017 12:14 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Support this site by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page!      Could we do this any worse in America? Behold: childhood development completely subordinated to the project of free parking in Naperville, Ill. What’s even more astounding: it’s the “play lot” for a Montessori “academy,” which stresses freedom-of-movement in educational activities. Wikipedia says of Montessori education: “The more »

March 2017

James Howard Kunstler : March 6, 2017 10:23 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the Troy, Michigan, Children’s Hospital, apparently based on the idea that little kids will associate chemotherapy with playtime. Yes, the USA is a toxic stew of molecules not found in nature, and this building actually looks like Willie Wonka’s Carcinogen Factory. The yellow stands for “Roundup” (Glyphosate) engineered into the very genetics of the more »

February 2017

James Howard Kunstler : February 7, 2017 3:23 pm : Eyesore of the Month
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. more »

January 2017

James Howard Kunstler : January 2, 2017 4:11 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Beh0ld, this humdinger, The Wrapper” (artist’s rendering) designed by architect Eric Own Moss for Culver City, California, a dreary gerrymandered backwater of Los Angeles under the LAX flight-path. Is the building wearing a straight-jacket to prevent it from hurting itself? It demonstrates that the architecture “community” won’t tire of playing self-referential computer games with large more »

December 2016

James Howard Kunstler : December 3, 2016 10:09 am : Eyesore of the Month
Click here for slide show Mixed use suburban style: golf course housing “community” located right next to the county prison. This is among many images from Ron Pollard’s new photo survey of American landscape horrors, We Kill Everything. Enjoy the slide show which so strikingly depicts the sorry condition of our nation’s spirit as expressed more »

November 2016

James Howard Kunstler : November 2, 2016 11:12 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech in Pasadena, California, designed by Thom Maynes’ Morphoses team. I’d call the style “Bizarro Corbu” after the early Modernist, Le Corbusier (human name: Charles-Édouard Jeanneret). Bizarro derives from the trope in the old Superman comics, “Bizarro World: an alternative universe of industrial madness populated by sub-humanoids with more »

October 2016

James Howard Kunstler : October 4, 2016 10:35 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold, “The Vessel,” designed by one Thomas Heatherwick for the gigantic Hudson Yards apartment project on Manhattan’s West Side (developer: the Related Companies). This ridiculous “urban landmark” (so-called) will be 15 stories high, composed of 154 flights of stairs and 80 horizontal landings. Heatherwick says the idea is based on “the ancient step-wells of India.” more »
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