James Howard Kunstler’s latest Eyesore of the Month, which I reprint from his blog Clusterfuck Nation, had to be the winner of this year’s ridiculous eVolo Magazine architecture contest. And so it was. Only the ugliest and the stupidest entries are permitted. In this case the winner digs up Central Park and surrounds it with a horizontal skyscraper in glass stretching around the park’s four sides … And then …
Here is Kunstler’s delightful evisceration:
Behold the winner of eVolo Magazine’s 2016 Skyscraper Competition.
I know. “Say, what…?” you say.
This latest exercise in techno-narcissism by trendster architects Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu imagines the massive excavation of New York’s Central Park and the re-fashioning of its bedrock into a fantasy sunken wilderness landscape with a 1,000-foot high glass wall around the whole shootin’ match. Maybe the genetic engineer techno-narcissists can be enlisted to supply a King Kong and a few tyrannosaurs to liven up the scene. (Or just set Donald J. Trump loose in it when the GOP mandarins pull the plug on his crusade for the White House.)
Note that one sign of cultural collapse is the widespread inability to distinguish mental health from mental illness.
We are so in trouble, America.
New York Horizon (Images from Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu)
About David Brussat
This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred.
History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book.
My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally.
I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002.
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I find the kinship with Corbusier’s Paris plan very very close. The almost obsessive need to demolish and recreate is obscene
The Plan Voisin is a pretty extreme example yet far from inappropriate. Look at the part of the Beaubourg that was torn down for the Centre Pompidou. Look at just about any example in America and Europe of urban renewal (urban removal). Examples of destruction of the good in preparation for construction of the bad proliferate. This is why most people are put off by our built environment. Has anyone in charge noticed?
I like the suggestion that modernist designers are literally trying to turn our built environment into Hell. That’s a promising new line of argument.
You jest, of course, Steve. I wouldn’t argue that they are trying to turn our built environment into hell. They would probably not admit to that. But they are trying to turn it into something they do not understand (and might admit to that), and which seems like hell to most everyone else.
Well, it will not be built, and that’s good, but it’s not enough. It should be trotted out constantly as a warning of the sort of thing modern architects aspire to, even if practicality limits them to the merely ugly and stupid more than the lodestar of the totally insane.
You’re right, everything around that Central Park concept is ugly as all hell. Something should be done.