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Here come the borgs! Introducing the new US Federal Courthouse in Salt lake City designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners. They’ve really caught that old security state spirit in a building that looks uncannily like the computer server that contains your credit record, your tax filings, your phone log, your internet purchase trail, the drone photos taken outside your girlfriend’s bedroom window, and all the other nifty data-crumbs that the world’s greatest democracy is harvesting in order to maximally coerce you. Note, they didn’t even bother to airbrush in the theoretical pedestrians but opted to show the street in its actual glorious entropic deadness.

Below is the lobby after a neutron bomb eliminated all the humans cluttering up this high art monument to techno-necrophilia. The tiny security checkpoint at lower right denotes the scale. Comfy, huh?



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.

14 Responses to “February 2015”

  1. PeteAtomic February 2, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

    This looks like a house for giant gerbils.

    • Ishabaka March 23, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      Bingo! I happen to own The Worlds Greatest Hamster, and his cage has a clear tube he goes up and down to access the two stories that looks remarkably like the staircase shown. I sure hope there is some kind of glass/clear plastic between the steps, or some adventurous kid is in for a big surprise…….

  2. CJ February 2, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    Salt Lake CIty needs some cozy places. It’s got too much of this crap. And it started out SO nice!

  3. dellafella February 3, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    On the upside, it might have the unintended side effect of deterring crime. After all, even the most hardened criminals would probably find this place even more alienating than solitary confinement!

  4. joakie February 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    Unreal – it looks like the Borg cube from Star Trek:


  5. AKlein February 5, 2015 at 8:28 am #

    They pay people to design this shit?

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  6. Toby Bo February 5, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    In the past archictects constructed the narrative in the form of a building.Now architects deconstruct the narrative in the form of a building.The structure looks like it was vandalized with toilet paper.There is a fresh square pointing in all directions to radiate sanitation.Outhouse or courthouse they are boxes to spend minimal time.The vertical brown strip shows proper application has occured.Bathroom renderings feature cleansing sunlight and easy wipe surfaces.Nobody is ever shown using the bathrooms in renderings.Modern architecture is not ironic it is toilet humor.Racism is obvious where white cleans away black.National monuments in marble echo this racism.America is held together with marble and parchment like a sorted bathroom.

  7. pmarproject February 6, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    This will be fun to heat in the winter. Windows are being produced with higher R-values than they were 30 years ago, but you still shouldn’t make 90% of your building out of glass. Oh wait, it’s a federal courthouse, that means the taxpayers pay for the utilities.

  8. TimR February 7, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    This project made the cover of Architecture magazine, the official magazine of the American Institute of Architects. What does that tell you about the state of the profession?

  9. piltdownman February 9, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    “You, too, will become one with The Borg.”

    Having worked in a building with a circular staircase, I have to wonder if any of the architects have ever actually been forced to use such infernal contraptions? They should ONLY be used when there is no other logical option; perhaps in an exceedingly narrow Amsterdam canal house, not in a public building which appears to waste an amazing amount of space attempting to appear “important.”

  10. pequiste February 16, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    Spiral staircase for the customers and probably a slide or chute for the security contractors: all the warmth and charm of Kilmainham Gaol.

    Question: Which phrase will be laser cut into the lintel of the entrance portal?

    A. Resistance Is Futile.

    B. Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.

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  11. skcarter April 8, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    When I went in this building the guard insisted on going through my wallet card by card, bill by bill. Very strange but totally in keeping with the feel of the place.


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