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Behold the proposal for Boston University’s new Data Sciences Center (corporate naming rights TBD). Seventeen stories of stacked boxes — meant to signify a pile of books, according to the BU Public Relations office — it will be the tallest structure on the campus. Well, yahoo for that. Otherwise, it presents nothing but blank facades to Commonwealth Avenue, symbolically perfect, since it reveals the emptiness of our high-tech hopes and dreams.  The building also epitomize’s Higher Ed’s march to bankruptcy, having transformed itself into a mendacious racket. Remember, societies and institutions build their grandest monuments to themselves just prior to collapse.
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About James Howard Kunstler

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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.

13 Responses to “October 2018”

  1. jayrome October 2, 2018 at 5:43 pm #

    Instead of going up, why don’t they bore deep into the bedrock. The building can be the same design except sub-terranian. What’s the problem? Spare us the stacked book claptrap!

  2. tucsonspur October 3, 2018 at 3:43 am #

    Some critic once said something like, “what terrible toilet training rituals, what type of strictly enforced play with wooden blocks was this person subject to?” That question seems to be appropriate here. Blockhead design.

    I don’t think it will get people to read.

    The flying bird bomber squadron knows a good target when it sees one!

  3. Jim McCaffery October 3, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

    I have many stacks of books at home and at work. None of them look like that, and if they did, they would fall over.

    By the way (I know I could look this up, but I’m not THAT interested), is “Data Sciences Center” a new name for the library or the computer center? Both? If the former, I’m sure that Aristotle, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Nietzsche would be pleased to know that their works are now primarily known as useful collections of data.

  4. bymitch October 3, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    Whether it signifies a pile of books, or a pile of whatever, the symbolism cannot be disconnected from the function of the building.
    Books, the printing press, and knowledge trifecta is probably not on the radar for those born in the age of computer data, and the ones likely to inhabit this space.
    Its a stretch to even suggest this, if not embarrassing to admit to being so out of date.
    More research tells us that the truth behind the brief was to create an icon, and these days the obvious response is to do something that doesn’t look like its neighbours.
    Unfortunately the effect is lost when your neighbours decide to do the same this a few years down the track, and the reasoning behind the visual statement becomes obsolete.
    An expensive lesson in how to be at the front of being behind the times.

  5. Walter B October 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm #

    Looks to me like something Albert Speer might design if he was jacked up on crack.

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  6. Yukon Tom October 5, 2018 at 1:38 pm #

    The flock of birds in the picture look ominous. Are they black swans taking a break from circling The Liberty Mutual Tower to do a few laps round that other teetering colossus, centers of “higher learning”.

  7. K-Dog October 6, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

    Insanity. That is no pile of books. That pile of ugly boxes represents an unfinished building not yet pushed together and sends the message that nobody need ever grow up. Play with blocks like a child till you die. Consume and produce but never complete anything that matters.

    How many extra maintenance men will be needed to keep the complicated roofing from leaking. Per student, how much tuition will that be?

    The psychology of the message it sends is shit.

  8. pequiste October 6, 2018 at 8:40 pm #

    Umm, uhh, hmmm, ……a shit sandwich?

    And Ph.D. – piled higher and deeper.

  9. AKlein October 15, 2018 at 9:28 am #

    All you critics just don’t understand. You’re all kill-joys. The message these kinds of “structures” send is that we have finally reached Nirvana. All is well in our world, all problems have been solved, we are encumbered no more with any serious issues toward which we should be applying our minds and treasure. We have “arrived”! Now we can freely spend our time and your money on seeking pure self-actualization however we may care to define it. We are now gods. Oh, and by the way, all of you footing the bill – you’re not gods. But you can aspire, of course.

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  10. JCalvertNUK October 22, 2018 at 2:26 pm #

    The rusty brown panels seem to be slightly transparent. So what are they made from? Rusty chicken wire?

  11. davesmithcreator May 6, 2021 at 7:01 am #

    This is a very interesting design. I believe it may inspire people when they see a building made to look like books. They might even start writing papers here and publish it online. My students would love the idea.


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