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Behold the “Shipwreck Tower” in Prague, proposed to be the Czech Republic’s tallest building at 440 feet, about 40 stories. This humdinger was conceived, obviously, before Covid-19 raced around the world. What you get is another colossal art stunt incorporated into an office building, a virtue-signaling gag telling all you dim bulbs out there that climate change will wreck civilization — at least that’s what the designer says. That would be the Black’n’Arch Studio in collaboration with sculptor David Cerny.

Now, here’s the real gag. Covid-19 is busy destroying office work as a general proposition while it decimates the global economy. The office tower as a building type was already going obsolete before the virus came on the scene. It greatly accelerated the schedule. Not ironically (rather self-evidently), all the energy embedded in this sort of commercial construction — starting with mining and smelting the ore and making concrete — is a big contributor to atmospheric CO2. So the joke is on those who are putting up this building.

Architects far and wide will probably be shocked to learn that the age of gargantuan gags is over. It’s actually time for buildings that allow people to feel comfortable and bolster the human spirit. Thanks for the nomination to the correspondent who styles himself as “Delano Ebay.”


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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 the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

11 Responses to “August 2020” Subscribe

  1. bymitch August 3, 2020 at 1:21 am #

    Literally full of ship

  2. dowd August 3, 2020 at 7:30 am #

    I like the that the building lists suggesting its imminent fall.

  3. lateStarter August 3, 2020 at 10:13 am #

    Another proposal that will never see the light of day. Does anyone have any idea how much a firm charges just to deliver the proposed vision of something on this scale? Also curious about the time involved although I imagine with computers used by such firms, they can whip something up in pretty short order (not sure what level of detail needs to be provided beyond the ‘vision’).

    • bymitch August 11, 2020 at 3:17 am #

      lateStarter, where I come from a vision of this magnitude will set you back at least $250k, based on the estimated cost to build the project. The building can be modelled for around $5k basic wages, the frames of the ship are more complex, perhaps $7k to produce. Jamming them together costs nothing, the computer does the work for you. Allow another $5k to overlay this on a real city image, touch-ups, and photo realistic enhancement. The difference between price and the actual cost is the value of collective excitement experienced when viewing the image, and the measure of cleverness of the designer to take you along for the ride.

    • venuspluto67 August 28, 2020 at 10:27 am #

      Yeah, I took just one look at it, and all I could think was, “What a huge waste of money that would be.”

  4. James Kuehl August 3, 2020 at 11:07 am #

    I wonder if the theme song from “Titanic” plays on a loop over the sound system.

  5. DrTomSchmidt August 3, 2020 at 1:30 pm #

    It is at least interesting to view, unlike any Thom Mayne construction.

    JHK, have you walked around Manhattan recently? The whole office district is empty. NY State And City are going to collapse. I’ll mourn with you.

  6. tucsonspur August 4, 2020 at 6:29 pm #

    I’m laughing and crying at the same time, wondering what shityard could have fabricated this foul, forlorn, frigate of folly, needing something like a crydock to ever even launch such a lopsided leviathan. Harland and Wolff must be rolling over in their graves. And again, the architectural assassins commit murder, allied with a suppositious sculptor, this time in an urban-maritime milieu.

    Maybe it’s a mockery of the gigantic floating hotels that urge the oceans to urbanize. So let’s ‘oceanize’ the urban. Is it the denuded Exxon Valdez, placed here as a poignant reminder of the perils of petroleum? Did someone not see the lighthouse of ideas?

    I know, it’s Noah’s Lark, spoofing the inanity of the modern world and its preposterous pretensions. But why go with something so ugly? A few dozen colorful, Sunfish sailboats could have been cantilevered from the tower’s top, utilizing wind power to turn a turbine, making clean energy squeak. Yeah, that’s right, okay, it wouldn’t have the same apocalyptic angst.

    Why test our longanimity with such a vile and vexing vessel? Remember ‘The Sea Wolf’? Wolf Larsen himself would rage with disgust, probably put all of Black’n’Arch and David Cerny in irons, then sail away on the ‘Ghost’ with these shanghaied, supercilious, senseless, landlubbing loonies ready for the locker of Davy Jones. And then we could rather benignly call this worthless washtub the ‘Sea Goof’.

    • tucsonspur August 4, 2020 at 6:52 pm #

      ‘….this worthless washtub, this ghastly galleon, the Sea Goof’.

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