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Behold, Valley, a brand-new metaphor in steel and masonry for the collapse of Western Civilization. Let the firm that designed it, MDRDV, speak for itself: “With its landscape of jagged stone terraces, bay-windows, and balconies, covered in dense planting designed by landscape architect Piet Oudolf, Valley brings much-needed greening to Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district.”  Ah, just so!  And , no, the center of the building was not taken out by M10 233mm howitzers. This is the same aesthetic in architecture as you might find in a pair of Judy Blue Eyes super-distressed blue jeans. Architecture is now nothing but sheer fashion, and what is more chic these days than apocalyptic ruin? The collective id of our exhausted culture, sick to death of itself, yearns for destruction. Yet even as the great groaning cargo of anomie sinks into the loam of Holland, people need a place to microwave their Kaasbroodje, ink startup deals, and sell Rolex watches. The Valley project is sure enough “green” as green can be — whatever that means — soon to be a badge-of-odium in northern Europe as the region succumbs to a winter without enough fossil fuels to keep the furnaces running. Well done, MDRDV!

Hat tip to Bryan Kaufman 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.

12 Responses to “September 2022”

  1. taijitu September 2, 2022 at 7:27 pm #

    I can only surmise that there are “No comments yet” because 1) Joe Biden’s speech last night has made people speechless or 2) we’re in the devastated state of mind that the simulacrum of current architecture puts us in.

  2. Dr. Coyote September 2, 2022 at 7:27 pm #

    It’s like the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Dome, but pre-built with no A-bomb required. Except that, instead of a warning against the use of nuclear weapons, Valley can serve as a warning against architectural stupidity.

  3. bymitch September 2, 2022 at 8:28 pm #

    Putting aside the shock and awe factor, I was taught that the eye is drawn to the edge, where two disparate things meet.
    The zone where sea meets sand, mountains meet sky, and rubber meets road, are opportunities abound, for meaningful action ,dialogue, and reflection. In architecture, this is where it all happens.
    However, I had to force my eye to trace along this very standard, and underwhelming edge. It, literally, lets the whole side[s] down.

  4. Weaver Revolt September 2, 2022 at 10:05 pm #

    As you note, architecture is now fashion, as is art in general.
    The entire liberal mindset is organized around fashion. All the “Woke” I know are quintessential fashion snobs/victims tightly bound by in-group preciosity.
    It would never occur to any of them that fashion and “sustainability” are two mutually exclusive things.

  5. Chris at Fernglade Farm September 3, 2022 at 8:24 am #

    Hi Jim,

    The genius of this building design is that if the other surrounding buildings get the crap bombed out of them, it’ll fit in with the surrounds perfectly. For all we know this could be some sort of future grand plan? Or a new style, which could be called: destructecture. This could be big, man.

    It could also be a giant work of camouflage? Face it, if the crew of a tank were to sight the building, they might not waste precious ammo on it. “Nah, no need to blow that one up. Someone got to it before us”. It’s genius.

    I’m just having trouble figuring out why you’d want to be reminded of a war zone all the time? I don’t get that at all.



  6. Chris at Fernglade Farm September 3, 2022 at 8:27 am #


    Almost forgot. That’s what happens when you let Godzilla play on the soccer team. 🙂



  7. BartK September 3, 2022 at 1:00 pm #

    Finally something that disproves Euclid’s axiom that all right angles are created equal. And in one of the most beautiful cities no less. But of course: look at recent Paris architecture. I mean, didn’t the Dutch have some dikes and wetlands and channels to create because that building sure won’t keep them above water. The Green (capitalized) plantings really leap out, at least in their description—translation, “We can put up any hideosity as long as we drape it in a few scraggly vines!” Yes, that is the epitome of green, with its apocalyptic “jagged” (ooh, we’re so daring) edges. Bottom line: it is ugly, with a capital UGH.

  8. tucsonspur September 3, 2022 at 4:08 pm #

    What is this thing, this fractured folly, this jagged looking jerry build? Where is the ‘Pride of Place’? Is there something new going about, could there possibly be a nocuous, nascent emotion in bloom, something like Pride of Disgrace?

    It’s a fine setting for blown to bits war movies, and it’s certainly a strong candidate for entry into the first volume of ‘The Annals of Apocalyptic Architecture’.

    Architects are creating monsters from the id and their subconscious minds, future calamity taking up an anxious residence in their stressed cerebral lobes. Their shaky selves are at design centers and drawing boards the world over, and we seem to have no power to stop them.

    We have witnessed the construction of destruction, or should it be the destruction of construction. A new meaning to the word deconstructionist has just been created.

    Since architecture, like fashion, is always changing, we’ll soon be moving on from the ‘deconstructionists’ to the annihilation nihilists.

    Remember folks, “Build Back Better”.

    A nod to Morbius.

  9. tom clark September 3, 2022 at 11:25 pm #

    Build back better, indeed. Gotta empty the dishwasher.

    • tucsonspur September 5, 2022 at 3:16 am #

      My silver ware tray sucks. Hope yours is better.

  10. gusgus2021 September 6, 2022 at 10:24 pm #

    Theres a Church in Berlin that’s like that to serve as a reminder ,its been stabilized but still bombed out .
    I am starting to feel crazy ,Is there a different world that I am separate from? Go to any walmart and look around ,then look at torn 400$ jean’s, how does any of this stuff get the green light ?

  11. Ishabaka September 19, 2022 at 10:38 am #

    99.999% of folks today wearing jeans with holes in the knees do not know who started the fashion.