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Behold, a computer rendering of the proposed 100-story Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Ultra-luxury Residences, Miami, Florida, mere yards from the lapping waters of Biscayne Bay. They say it will be the tallest building in the USA south of Manhattan Island. The developer, Property Markets Group (PMG) must not believe in Climate Change and rising sea levels (I’m not sold on that myself, exactly). They do apparently believe in hurricanes, though — and let’s face it, Miami has seen quite a few of them — because the promo material is hyping the strength of the structure and its ability to withstand 150-to-200-knot winds. Ironically the building design uses the current popular trope of appearing to look like a barely balanced stack of milk crates — the hardcore modernists still want to induce as much anxiety in the public as possible.

Real estate is a goshdarn tricky business, of course, mainly because it often takes years between the time a project gets all its permits and financing lined up, and the time they actually build something, and in that time a lot can change. And that is exactly the quandary faced by the developers of skyscrapers and mega-structures today. Back in 2019, it might have seemed like a good idea. Now, maybe, not such a good idea — with the economy wobbling, interest rates creeping up, our politics in a shambles, and global firestorms igniting here and there. Then again, a lot of money around the world is seeking sanctuary, and that might, at least, get those ultra-luxury condos sold off. I kind of want the thing to get built, just to see what happens to it in the hurricane seasons to come.

Thanks to  Ray Hammond for the nomination.

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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.

11 Responses to “November 2022”

  1. Dr. Coyote November 2, 2022 at 4:35 pm #

    My first thought was “bee boxes, and the beekeeper is drunk.”

    Why is it that monumental skyscrapers always seem to be proposed on the eve of and built in the early stages of economic hard times? When I get laid off this day job, maybe I can take up beekeeping. I promise to stack the hives better though.

  2. tucsonspur November 3, 2022 at 7:07 am #

    Did imagination abandon the architect, forcing him to copy his child’s playful buildup of blocks? What other explanation is there for this architectural stack attack?

    Maybe some trick with tuned mass dampers is planned, with the next hurricane aligning the structure and the following one setting it back to its original offending offsets, back and forth ad infinitum. No, too much thought would be required for that wild and windy operation.

    It is now mandatory to look at both the old and the new Waldorf Astoria in NYC to regain a certain sense of architectural balance and integrity by viewing the sleek style of art deco against the shameless style of art wrecko.

    This building doesn’t belong anywhere, especially not in Miami, and enough of this high-rise ruthless hubris contaminating our coasts. Give me the pinks, oranges, and yellows of old South Beach art deco with its more human scale, breezes off the bay, pompano and champagne like Rocko had down in the Keys, and a Hemingway book–now that would be the bee’s knees.

  3. Breck November 3, 2022 at 11:47 am #

    and dumb
    and a reflection of the Times we live in

  4. sonnyL November 3, 2022 at 8:07 pm #

    Correct-O-Mundo. If the builders were the least bit prescient they would have called it Kamala Towers.

  5. Blackbird November 3, 2022 at 9:35 pm #

    The Tiara condominium (43 floors) on Singer Island, Florida, is the tallest of a long line of condos marching down the shoreline, stomping out the dunes, on one of the most important leatherback sea turtle nesting beaches in the US. It was designed by a Japanese firm to withstand winds up to 200 mph. If winds actually reached that speed, then the windows and wall panels were designed to blow out and let the wind howl through the empty framework. After the hurricane, slap on new walls and windows and you’re ready to move back in.

    Well in September of 2004 Hurricane Frances stopped by for a visit, bringing measly little 120 mph winds. What happened? Windows and walls blown out. Furniture and appliances – and everything else – rained out in every direction. It was awesome. Refrigerators, stoves, washing machines jutting out of the dune and beach at odd angles like the Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes. Oh, and the frame twisted too! Maybe the architects were thinking 200 kph not 200 mph… And the tenants had been hit a few months previously with an assessment – the re-rod holding their balconies together had rusted a few years prematurely. Three weeks to the day later, Frances’ friend Jeanne (practically identical twins) swept into town to reorganize the junk piles.

    The Ultradorf, I almost hope they build it, just to see it fall/fail. Gotta admit though, the in-your-face narcissism is so Miami. And it does achieve the near-miracle of making the other steel and glass death masks look almost not-ugly. On the other hand, what it does to the skyline is a crime.

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  6. tom clark November 3, 2022 at 10:38 pm #

    Could we please keep “Eyesore of the Month” to stuff that is actually on the ground now, not worthless bs imagined by architects who are in a dead profession? Thank you.

  7. JackStraw November 4, 2022 at 8:49 am #

    “the hardcore modernists still want to induce as much anxiety in the public as possible.”

    That’s a perfect description as I get anxiety just looking at it, but it would be multiplied if I were standing next to it.

  8. Ishabaka November 4, 2022 at 5:06 pm #

    Having been through the tail end of Hurricane Ian last month, and luckily doing OK, there is NO WAY – I repeat NO WAY I’d live in an unstable looking building on the Florida coast. I don’t care what the architects say about it. There is a reason your typical “Florida Home” is single story, concrete block on slab construction, with a hip roof – because they fare well in hurricanes.

  9. holdfastspike November 5, 2022 at 2:04 pm #

    This reminds me of the blocks i had as a child. everyone in my family thought i would be an architect i built such beautiful towers. but of course the great fun was pushing them over, just like God will do to the100-story Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Ultra-luxury Residences, Miami, Florida.

  10. Reine November 14, 2022 at 1:59 am #

    I am such a fan of Astoria properties. They has good customer service and awesome amenities. I know that its developer also prioritizes gutter cleaning to keep everything going.

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  11. PGH Gutter Cleaning November 14, 2022 at 2:02 am #

    I am such a fan of Astoria properties. They has good customer service and awesome amenities. I know that its developer also prioritizes gutter cleaning to keep everything going fine. Looking forward to stay again in one of their new projects.