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Behold Dubai’s Museum of the Future, the very first monumental building to be designed entirely by algorithm!

The official hype sez:

We will be a showplace for a new era – a center of creativity and hope where you can see, touch and shape our shared future.

And a megaphone for empty platitudes, too, like the oval hole in the center of the thing. Ironically the city of Dubai is exactly what you’d come up with if you wanted to design a building with no future — an overblown re-make of the worst elements of Los Angeles in a country with too much unearned money and no idea what to do with it. I’ve been there, too. I was brought in by McKinsey & Co. for a completely absurd urban planning session about five years ago. Most of the other “experts” on hand were MIT Media Lab dudes and computer animators from Disney (and one schmuck from the Harvard architecture school, real estate division). The Dubai officials thought that urban design was about projecting movies on buildings. I never sat through such a gale of idiocy, even at Midwestern land-grant diploma mill symposia. (Took me six months to get paid for the gig.)

Don’t worry.  By 2050, tawny eagles will be roosting in the skeletal ruins of  Dubai’s massive real estate folly. A genuine museum of the future would be a pre-owned camel sales office in a tent.

Thanks to Drew Keeling for the nomination.

By the way, notice how much the Museum of the Future resembles the abandoned space ship from the original Alien movie:

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.

22 Responses to “November 2019”

  1. tucsonspur November 4, 2019 at 6:54 pm #

    Why not jump through this wormhole’s portal and see where it takes us? Maybe there’s a chance the future won’t be so bleak, riddled with the rusting relics of Dinocars, Triceratrucks and Pteroplanes. These would certainly be on display, if it were truly a ‘Museum of the Future’.

    Unfortunately, this empty eyeball, this time toroid, traps us in the present while giving us only faint hints of hope with its mystical hieroglyphics. But who knows what the future holds, maybe the technology is out there that will rescue the world’s Fossil Fools.

    Behold the Wizardry of Man, the Algorithm of this Amalgam:


  2. shabbaranks November 5, 2019 at 2:13 am #

    What wonderful use of the likely H.R. Giger designed abandoned spaceship from the original – and now forever classic – film ‘Alien’ (1979).

    Perhaps the Dubai Museum of the Future will issue all visitors their own ‘face hugger’ masks that contain audio tours of the contents of the museum? What a blast!

  3. kittric November 6, 2019 at 10:33 am #

    Ironically enough, I was thinking “the eye of Sauron”, at first glance.

  4. My Point of View November 15, 2019 at 12:59 pm #

    “…first monumental building to be designed entirely by algorithm!…”

    The algorithm laid an egg ….and we thought “design by committee” was bad.

  5. GunHillTrain November 15, 2019 at 2:23 pm #

    Notice how there is an elevated train line passing right in front of it. In sixty years Dubai, like New York before it, will be tearing down these lines and replacing them with subways (or just buses in some cases). “These ugly els were a mistake and they’ve got to go!”

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  6. JCalvertNUK November 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm #

    It looks like a urinal lying on its side.

  7. bymitch November 18, 2019 at 7:08 pm #

    Having to produce an algorithm in order to construct a, one-off, simple object, is about as anal as it gets. You dont have to draw a long bow to square off with the resulting imagery, either. It obviously suggests navel gazing is the symbolism of our future, the irony being the world is already over-subscribed when it comes to self-indulgent a-holes. Got the environment covered too, according to the hype, I guess the obvious one is birds can fly through it.

  8. Civil Infrastructure and Sustainable Urban Planning November 21, 2019 at 11:41 am #

    Interesting that you reference a “completely absurd urban planning session about five years ago.”

    There are several key aspects of urban planning the public takes for granted daily in other regions of the world. These involve civil engineering fundamentals involving infrastructure such as sewers and waste water treatment. Some might think others around the world may be a bit better at this than Dubai.

    Before focusing on the glitz and glamor of the trappings of luxury, wealth and riches – exemplified by extremely tall buildings and buildings designed completely by an algorithm – and of course all aimed at showing off, it seems prudent to focus on basic civil infrastructure first so you don’t outgrow your infrastructure too quickly and embarrass yourself on the world stage!



    Different day longer line:


  9. neon sky November 22, 2019 at 10:17 am #

    Does it wink? Gosh, I hope so.

  10. JosephRuggeri November 27, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    What an amazing museum! What a great article! Fantastic building! Thanks for sharing the post with us! I am an architect student and I am amazed by the conception! By the way, my current task is to develop a modern museum design, so I am looking for ideas and inspiration! Also, I finish my thesis and can recommend a useful words-to-pages tool – look at this site to get help!

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  11. Ishabaka December 16, 2019 at 10:03 am #

    All it’s missing is a clitoris.

    • TiredOfTheTreadmill January 20, 2020 at 9:52 am #

      Dubai has a sizeable Muslim population so the clit was removed. What’s with all these Abrahamic religions and their need to ensure women are unhappy? I guess the men of these religions want to make sure everyone’s as miserable as they are.

  12. Daniel1 January 5, 2020 at 5:35 pm #

    car serpentine belt change from the B-pillars and replaced with a smoother one. Everything else is the same, so we assume this is a genuine PHB. This is the first time I’ve seen a CHP/PHB with a sidecar, as the factory saw fit to leave them in the same spec as the B-pillars. I’m not sure if this one has a lockable sidecar or not. If you compare this one with the front.my article you’ll see that the sidecar is locked like the rear… though it does have a little compartment right on the front for a handle.

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