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Behold the proposed new “W-350” tower, a 70-story skyscraper proposed for the center of Tokyo, Japan. The neat gimmick: it’s made of wood! In the tofu-filled minds of many environmental activists (and the techno-narcissist opportunists who prey on them), this is supposed to be a “green” building. Let’s get something straight: a green skyscraper is a contradiction in terms. No skyscraper is “green” in the enviro sense that it is kind to the planet. Mega-structures per se deform urban life by placing too great a human footprint on a tiny area, overloading infrastructure, for one thing. They are out of scale with the resource and capital realities of the very near-future, and they are out of scale with urbanism based on human neurology and cognition. They are not suited to adaptive re-use. They will have one-generation of life (or less if they can’t be serviced). They will never be renovated. They are going to be liabilities, not assets. Another such wooden skyscraper was proposed for London, UK, in 2016. Harken ye architects and developers out there: please stop jerking-off the public with these idiotic stunts. Join the campaign to re-think, re-scale, and re-build our cities so we can continue the project of human civilization.

Below: rendering of 80-story Oakwood Tower, London — as yet unbuilt

Thanks to Matthew Cromarty for the nomination

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.

9 Responses to “March 2018”

  1. JCalvertNUK March 3, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

    The dreaming pyres.

    • cowboy14 March 4, 2018 at 7:05 pm #

      Speaking of which, how do these even meet fire code, for real?

  2. HowardBeale March 4, 2018 at 11:15 pm #

    What would a tree think…

  3. davidreese2 March 5, 2018 at 9:26 am #

    Regardless of the hype from the architects, I don’t believe these skyscrapers are constructed exclusively with a wood skeletal support structure, or even mostly with wood.

  4. shabbaranks March 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm #

    Currently the tallest wood building in the US:



    “Setting a new precedent in environmental stewardship, unique modern luxury is now available in Portland. Carbon12 is the most environmentally advanced, seismically prepared, and technologically sophisticated residential project in the United States.

    A boutique collection of only 14 units, Carbon12 is a glass and timber showpiece situated in a neighborhood at the convergence of the thriving Mississippi District and the Williams Corridor.”

  5. gupton March 9, 2018 at 2:25 am #

    A green skyscraper is a contradiction in terms.
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  6. jayrome March 16, 2018 at 9:08 am #

    Green space on buildings concept looks sensible and visionary, a form of green smoke and mirrors, even beautiful on paper.
    As having experience with penthouse gardens, they are absolutely non-sustainable. They are plants in containers that require intensive nurturing, meaning total dependence on people and artificial systems. Any breakdown in the whole artificial system and the plants die.
    Plants growing in earth behave differently and with greater resilience because of the soils biota, water-holding, and nutrient capacity, more forgiving in a sense.
    Mall Silks plants can look very real and can be replace periodically to freshen up appearances of these visionary starchitectural adventures.
    Isn’t architecture fun?

  7. bymitch March 27, 2018 at 1:52 am #

    Having the same experience as jayrome in the apartment we are renting at the moment. Very large outdoor space that only seems to support very ugly plant specimens and weeds. Fruit and vegetables, or anything leafy and green don’t like it as the soil in the pots turns into something resembling concrete. Carting soil, compost and manure in the elevator is frowned upon by our neighbours, who have given up and gone with artificial foliage or just deck furniture and umbrellas. There isn’t any soil within a 5 mile radius either so it is no mean feat getting soil to the elevator in the first place.
    Some parts of the building, particularly the elevations that don’t face the sun are very green, but this is not generally seen as a good thing.


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