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Behold: the New Princeton University Art Museum!  Or is that the box that it came in???
Yeah, I know, an old gag, but it still works. What you get here is just another exercise in fake originality. How many of these floating boxes are there in the world? Thousands upon thousands?  There’s no scaled detailing. It doesn’t satisfy human cognition. Rather, lacking that neurological correspondence, it repels the human brain. Notice: the rendered figure  (blue sweater) in the left foreground looks over her shoulder fretfully at it as she steals away in the gloaming. The architect himself, Sir David Adjaye, says: “[It is] a space of genuine inquiry where the exhibition of diverse practices, learning as a synthesis of knowledge and cross-cultural connections weave together into a singular experience that encompasses a multiplicity of ideas and peoples.” He must have taken that course in anodyne metaphysical bullshit at London’s South Bank University. Below is the view from the rear, even more boring, pointless, and joyless than the front.

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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 “October 2020” Subscribe

  1. kewanee boiler October 2, 2020 at 5:22 pm #

    Jim – The second photo shows you made a mistake. The beautiful museum is on the left in the second photo. The building on the right is a parking garage, obviously.

  2. tom clark October 2, 2020 at 5:26 pm #

    I just replaced the filter on our air purifier. The resemblance is remarkable.

  3. tucsonspur October 3, 2020 at 12:53 am #

    “He must have taken that course in anodyne metaphysical bullshit at London’s South Bank University”. Pure gold.

    Don’t get trapped thinking inside the box. When you understand that this structure is straight from the catechism of corrugated expressionism, you’ll feel more at home and more capable of understanding the deep cultural rifts that still confront us all.

    It really isn’t that bad of a box, although it is somewhat tiresome without any ribbons or bows. A colossal red bow, with its sensuous curves placed square in the middle of the drab exterior, could have done much to attract the kiddies to the stimulating wonders of art.

    The fat, ugly picture frame in the lower left is beyond my comprehension. Even inserting a protected Turner or Titian wouldn’t bring joy to this tragic misadventure. However, a bawdy Botero just might do the trick. Oh, I forgot, the kiddies.

    In all of this we must pause to remember that even the most plain, ordinary, box of candies can contain delightful treasures within. Chocolate truffle, anyone?

  4. par4 October 3, 2020 at 7:14 am #

    Put an Onion Dome on it, and slap on some paint.

  5. SvrzoH October 3, 2020 at 7:11 pm #

    Could it be that 2020 is the year that we “discovered” blacks?

    https://www.dezeen.com/2020/09/30/david-adjaye-2021-riba-royal-gold-medal-architecture-news/

  6. JackStraw October 3, 2020 at 7:53 pm #

    It’s not finished yet.

    A mural is planned, which will be done by an as yet unnamed famous and extremely brilliant graffiti artist.

  7. malthuss October 5, 2020 at 1:20 pm #

    the box looks like California buildings, circa 1960. colleges etc.

  8. JCalvertNUK October 5, 2020 at 9:34 pm #

    I had hoped that those vertical fins might hidden or shaded some angled vertical windows – a la Coventry Cathedral – but no such luck. This architect must rally hate windows. (Maybe he’s an Apple man?)

  9. Jo-G October 5, 2020 at 10:09 pm #

    Here in the ROK new construction for retail looks like this. The Koreans put it up very quickly. I call it shipping container style. I think they’re trying to out do our strip mall look with something more banal. So, when I look at this I think “Cheap and thoughtless”.

    The architect describes the concept in this article:
    https://www.dezeen.com/2020/09/24/princeton-university-art-museum-adjaye-associates/?li_source=LI&li_medium=rhs_block_1

    If you’re inside the thing you don’t have to look at it. It ensures that adjacent new construction won’t need transparent windows.

  10. bymitch October 6, 2020 at 12:51 am #

    The pleats remind us of the formality of the kilt.
    But what’s underneath it is a space of genuine enquiry, and an exhibition of diverse practices.
    Och Aye

  11. Night Owl October 9, 2020 at 9:23 am #

    Here in Germany, lots of people are putting additions onto their homes that look quite similar.

    I think this was a trend in the tiny house scene, too.

    I think its rather logical, TBH. When a society no longer wants to invest the required time and funds in architectural beauty, the answer to all questions is the shipping container.

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