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February 2012

Techno-grandiosity rears its sleek, mystifying surfaces in the proposal for Cornell University’s new Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island, New York City designed by the corporate androids at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP.

Cornel Tech Center on Roosevelt Island NYC featured in Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month February 2012

Techno-grandiosity rears its sleek, mystifying surfaces in the proposal for Cornell University’s new Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island, New York City designed by the corporate androids at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP. The deployment on the ground is what we call “train-wreck urbanism.” No street-and-block pattern. In fact, it is just an update of Corbusier’s old towers-in-a-park motif (though the towers appear to have toppled onto their sides). This is the “green” update on Corbu, of course, with the tilted slab buildings oriented to the south for solar collection (or else they may simply roast the occupants within). Note, characteristic of Corbu-derived anti-urbanism, the “green space” surrounding the buildings is wholly ambiguous – while the tree plantings are arbitrary in the vain attempt to signify: “Nature Here!” 
      How much do we suck?

     Thanks and shout-out to Meg Dahlgren for sending in this humdinger. She remarked wisely: “It seems that all an architect has to say is “green design,” and all else is forgiven.”

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.

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