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Architect Thom Mayne and his Morphosis firm are great favorites here, year after year, and they’ve come up with a new humdinger expressing every trope of techno-narcisismo idiocy in circulation — at least until the corona virus put the schnitz on what used to be considered our economy. The place is Los Angeles, the site is the block on Sunset Boulevard once occupied by the Viper Room, the depraved nightclub where Joaquin Phoenix’s big Brother, River, died of a drug overdose way back when. The proposed new building is a combo office and luxury condominium / hotel pair-of-thingies. Kind of looks like the cyborg skull of a giant space alien is about to crush the office workers in their green-fungus-laced glass box. A facsimile artifact of something that resembles “nature” lies on a little slope between the two main attractions. A little touch of the old Blade Runner video display occupies the lower right corner. Very Hollywood. Touches all the bases of proggish virtue signaling: We’re rich as hell, but, hey, we really like the planet… really!  Notice all the low-rise highway strip dreck around the thingies. That’s the true heart-and-soul of LA! By the way, I doubt that this will ever get built now. It was announced a month or so before the Great Lockdown. Hotels and offices are now outski. Nice Try!

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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.

18 Responses to “May 2020”

  1. dowd May 5, 2020 at 5:23 am #

    Building is the shape of a backwards C.

    Urban Dictionary: backwards c

    “Meaning the opposite of mostly anything. Opposite of Utopia is Dystopia. Meaning cynical, wrong, toxic, destruction. Vastly used in the industrial and cyber-punk cultures.”


  2. bymitch May 5, 2020 at 5:36 pm #

    The symbolism abound in the image of Mr Krabbs, holding up a Krabbi Patty, has always been captivating for me too.
    Now modelled in a 3d representation, this supercharged symbol offers a more powerful dialogue on the protagonist’s plight, as a shallow, one dimensional character.
    Extending the thematic program, the object of desire, now burned to a crisp, exposing its complex layers, as just layers, adding the 4th dimension of time.
    Heavy baggage that repeats itself, just held aloft by, what we architects refer to as, an ‘active wedge’.
    An awful lot going on in this one.

  3. basketballstars May 8, 2020 at 3:55 am #

    Kind of looks like the cyborg skull of a giant space alien is about to crush the office workers in their green-fungus-laced glass box. basketball stars

  4. Ishabaka May 8, 2020 at 10:03 am #

    Jeez Louise, even the ’70s brutalist concrete abbatoirs (I mean office buildings) look well designed and classical compared to this.

  5. tucsonspur May 8, 2020 at 9:59 pm #

    I assume that this is not a joke. Well then, I simply don’t know what to make of this tragic terror of techno-narcissism. The image of this structure nonplussed me, and I can’t afford to be made nonplussed.
    (Yeah, like the severed horse’s head in the bed.)

    It seems like the ‘fungus box’ is about ready to be devoured or crushed by the jutting jaw. The skateboarding slope could be a challenge, peppered with those shrubs, dense at the bottom, but fading out as they approach the shrub line. Some might be driven mad enough by this crazy construction to see it as a high diving board, and splash onto the LA streets below.

    From “BauHaus to Our House” to Horror House. A misshapen, flying buttress bracing(?), encasing, the freaky, forlorn haus of fungus. A cockeyed cantilever, culminating in crassness.

    This from Morphosis is downright atrocious. A nightmare in any neighborhood. It’s so outre that calling it obnoxious is a huge understatement. Thank God it’s not on the rise but on the demise.

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  6. malthuss May 11, 2020 at 9:49 am #

    PAC MAN is on the right. food on left.

  7. Lonly1946 May 17, 2020 at 4:02 pm #


  8. spikedpsycho May 17, 2020 at 6:06 pm #

    Never heard of symmetry?
    I’m going out on a limb and saying ALL architecture styles go thru critique.
    It would redo this shape, in an Art Deco format.
    Imagine the sharp bow of a ocean liner hull.
    Granite, aluminum and polished concrete.
    I would eliminate the green roof and the bottom part of the layout and put the greenery on the ground where it belongs.

  9. JackStraw May 27, 2020 at 4:17 pm #

    It says, “I’m crushing your head!”

    • venuspluto67 August 28, 2020 at 10:29 am #

      LOL, good one! 😀

  10. AKlein June 1, 2020 at 8:53 am #

    It’s just such a damn shame that the economy won’t be able to support such unique and stark creativity going forward. As a people, our great loss. Where did we go wrong? We must have offended the gods.

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