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Behold, another 80-story hotel / condo tower by the industrious Chicago architect Jeanne Gang for a site on the south bank of the Chicago River. I suggest this new style be labeled “architwerkture,” since it looks like a digitized schematic representation of something Miley Cyrus might do on an awards show. The project is a partnership with a Chinese real estate development company. Remember, an imperial society always erects its most grandiose buildings just before collapse. The joke is on Chicago. People get what they deserve, not what they expect.

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 Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

9 Responses to “January 2015” Subscribe

  1. AKlein January 12, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    This kind of structure just proves that materials science and finite element analysis systems are so advanced that anything any well-positioned asshole cooks up can actually be built. Way back when, meaningful style had to be subservient to the realities of structural science – whence flying buttresses on cathedrals. Back then it took a clever architect to design a useful and beautiful structure that could also stand and endure. Now we have durable structures – but zero style and often zero utility. Talk about irony.These edifices may be able to stand forever – empty! I wonder what the HVAC costs will be. Do you think you can open the windows to cool it off in the hot hot Chicago summer? Of course not. Meh.

  2. Toby Bo January 13, 2015 at 12:54 am #

    Frank Gehry built huge silver piles of dog squat and this is a huge silver stream of urine.Religion attempts to reach God with cathedrals but science attempts to reach God with squats and squirts.Twerking is fractal movement in phase space so I expect hinged buildings to gyrate with robotics.One can twerk inside the building that is twerking itself.Monosodium glutamate is weaponized against the proles do architects cackle at the power unleashed on sovereign wealth?Playing a joke is too polite they have monkey-house contempt for the capital that scatters like rose petals.

  3. CJ January 28, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

    There’s an annual contest for elementary school kids to build some kind of sculpture out of recyclables in my town. A frequent entry into the competition is the red plastic beer cup structure, with rims to rims and bottoms to bottoms. This reminds me of that.

    I recently worked for a municipality and had the task of evaluating several large public housing projects. In one, an architect proposed so-called “back-to-back townhouses,” meaning townhouses without a backyard. Yeah, that’s called an apartment building. Anyway, I was evidently the only person in the room to speak up and say, “These are wrong.”After the meeting, I did a little research and found out this building type was outlawed in the UK 100 years ago, and that’s why it isn’t found in the US (lack of ventilation, private outdoor space, etc. It’s the type seen in Call the Midwife.)

    The upshot is, no one in a decision-making position was willing to speak up and shut it down, even after I presented the evidence. People are cowards. They know something’s wrong when they see it but they don’t want to be The Bad Guy.

  4. malthuss February 1, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

    looks like a giant metal salt shaker.

  5. PeteAtomic February 2, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

    On the second look of this, I love the little “green space” on the roofs which make the building look like they have little haircuts up there!
    It’s so great!

  6. sethinthebox February 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    It’s making me sick just to look at the picture. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see that monstrosity outside of my window every day, asI work across the river from its proposed site.

    I’d implore god to save us, except this design proves, unequivocally, god is dead.

  7. S.Hamilton March 15, 2015 at 5:07 am #

    There are two kinds of building designs that Kunstler hates:

    1. Buildings that are new and innovative.
    2. Buildings that are plain and boring.

  8. Pretext Theory March 24, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Raise the middle tower, add a fourth tower and we have the perfect expression for today’s starchitecture…
    ___
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    __| __|____
    / | | | \
    / | | | \
    | | | | |
    | | | | |
    | | |
    | | |

    • Pretext Theory March 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

      ASCII art doesn’t translate well here.

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