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Behold, a proposal to redevelop the block around St. Lucy’s Church, Jersey City, NJ.  Yet another exercise in misunderstanding the future counterposes a human-scaled ensemble of traditional buildings squashed underneath a despotic death Borg of computer-assisted banality designed by the firm MVMK (Minervini Vandermark Melia Kelly). You see, property development projects must follow rather long timelines. It usually takes years from initial inspiration to completed construction, what with applying for permits and approvals, completing design, arranging finance, greasing the politicians and mobsters, and scoping out the contractors. Alas, the last couple of years have put modern life through some unexpected ch-ch-ch-changes. The office building has gone suddenly and strangely obsolete as Covid-19 prompts the new work-from-home paradigm (and even that might not last long in the epic contraction and collapse of our techno-industrial economy). Likewise, the residential mega-structure is but an accessory dormitory for the office mega-structure. So, what do you do with the plan for this 444-unit building conceived under a way-of-life that no longer exists? Kiss goodbye a rather large nut of investment-to-date. Sorry, the cosmic pinball display reads TILT. Or else, make a more modest investment in redeveloping the original buildings on the block. That’s what the future actually requires. What a fine old thing the St. Lucy’s is, it’s towers and turrets aspiring to the heavens!

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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.

13 Responses to “February 2021”

  1. shabbaranks February 1, 2021 at 7:06 pm #

    The MVMK-21 borg so effectively colonizes the visual space of the endearing St. Lucy’s church and surrounding adjunct buildings that it’s a wonder why the entire block isn’t just demolished so that the future glass box can set down on a clean palate of barren soil to more clearly pronounce its warning from the future (implicit in the cross beams on tempered dark glass): “Attention all Redditors – do not cross this way.”

    Jersey City is growing rapidly as lots of Wall Street firms dump comrade DeBlasio’s doomed experiment in incompetent, feckless city government. Despite the chic pomo look, count this building as a step towards the deindustrialized future.

  2. tucsonspur February 2, 2021 at 4:30 am #

    Walking by and looking at this structure, Euclid would not be enthused. Its elements are not esthetic, and the straight lines and angles, while not really anomalous, do nothing to promote any sense of amiable architecture. One is tempted to call it putrid Euclid.

    It’s almost as if giant glass teeth were struggling to gnash into and devour old St. Lucy’s, erasing the survival of this Romanesque Revival. The cross atop the tall tower tries bravely to fend off this voluminous vampire, this colossal collection of rude rhombi.

    The modern poison forces mithridatism upon us. We try to tolerate its ever increasing injections of ugliness and sterility that sap the spirit and banish beauty. In this particularly anxious and tumultuous time, one seeks an architecture for the soul. Maybe St. Lucy can help architects see the light.

  3. dowd February 2, 2021 at 6:08 am #

    Best observation: “What a fine old thing the St. Lucy’s is, it’s towers and turrets aspiring to the heavens!”

  4. tom clark February 2, 2021 at 10:57 am #

    Looks like the poor little church is about to be devoured by a rhomboid monster. Gawd help us if this monstrosity ever comes to pass!

  5. MaryV February 3, 2021 at 12:59 pm #

    How could anyone who ‘designed’ this be called ‘architects’?

    What absolutely putrid aesthetics.

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  6. lateStarter February 3, 2021 at 1:13 pm #

    A worthy candidate but I was almost expecting to see the proposed Amazon (Hanging Towers of Babylon) headquarters for the new Arlington Virginia location offered up. Maybe next month.

  7. KappaJoe February 4, 2021 at 12:27 am #

    It’s a giant air-conditioning unit on the verge of crushing the existing townfolk!

    Mr. K is right – these visual paradoxes are an insult to sanity, never mind the soul.

  8. Grace February 4, 2021 at 8:30 pm #

    For a few years now I’ve read posts and tweets asserting that what’s happening to our world is satanic, and I brushed it off as hyperbole and idle conspiracy talk.

    But seeing this brought me up short. It made me feel ill – literally sick to my stomach – to contemplate this assault being committed on the townspeople and parishioners of that church. As Tusconspur said “It’s almost as if giant glass teeth were struggling to gnash into and devour old St. Lucy’s”.

    Heaven help me, the word that immediately came to mind was – I’m loathe to say – ‘demonic’.

    As shabbaranks said, “it’s a wonder the entire block wasn’t just demolished”. I’m normally someone who fights for the preservation of historic architecture, but in this case demolition in lieu of being preserved to live under this monstrosity might come as a kindness.

    I hope the economic crash comes in time to intervene and stop this particular madness. The ‘loss’ of future buildings like this would be a small but worthwhile silver lining in the ugliness to come.

  9. bymitch February 5, 2021 at 10:58 pm #

    Pagan symbolism, boldly tattooed across the facade of something, that occupies the sacred space above a church, dedicated to the patron saint of the blind.
    Who comes up with this stuff and how do they get people to swallow it?
    As a bulk form, it is fan forced, completely filling the space defined by planning rules, just as a fart expands within the confines of a crowded lift.
    However, for some reason, the church tower repels the invasion, perhaps driven by the force of the bells, that will no doubt upset inhabitants of the proposed outdoor deck area.
    Fortunately there wont be too many outside, frying under the reflection off the glass, as scale seems to be a bit of an issue at this level too.
    Apparently plenty of covered carparking included, so all good.

  10. My Point of View February 8, 2021 at 2:11 pm #

    We have to be perpetually on guard against the sort of sick minds that would tear down magnificent gems like Penn Station and replace it with disasters like this.

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  11. MisterBimmler February 12, 2021 at 9:14 am #

    I thought this was some kind of jokey photo-shopped image. Now my eyes are sore!

  12. Ishabaka February 14, 2021 at 3:03 pm #

    Reminds me of a pretty coed bowing to current fashion via an enormous face-tattoo.

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