September 7, 2006

"The intended spiraling effect may be lost on the casual viewer."

It certainly was lost on me, looking at that illustration.
[T]he buildings do not appear at first glance to be parts of a unified whole. Instead, it may look like an instance of urban randomness.
Yes, I'd say so. In fact, it looks an awful lot like that collection of block-like buildings that everyone got outraged about, that led to the design competition that Daniel Libeskind won. Talk about a spiraling effect. We've spiraled back around to the dull original attempt.


Chris said...

Feels Chicago-y to me. The one with the antenna looks a little like the Sears Tower, the one with the X's looks like the John Hancock, and the one with the slant looks like the non-skyscraper Adventures-in-Babysitting State of Illinois building.

Al Maviva said...

Phew. I'm glad the buildings are going to be really mundane and fairly short, basically pretty ugly, nothing spectacular. Because to build something really distinctive and extremely tall, thereby knocking Petronas Towers off the top of the pinnacle of talles buildings in the world, and adding a distinctive signature to the NYC skyline, would upset the... well, you know, we wouldn't want to... well, it could be taken the wrong way, like offensive cartoons or something. It would practically be asking for it. Hopefully, the kind of people who might attack buildings like this won't notice them, or something.

sonicfrog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sonicfrog said...

These are still ugly; there's no general theme, and it clashes with the early 20th century skyline. Why do people keep building ugly buildings like these? Their hideousness might just motivate someone to fly planes into these too! (Just Kidding of coarse)

Back in the 90s, Fresno built a new fangled city hall for itself. Same thing. It stood out like a disco ball in a deck of cards! On the day of its christening, some one called in a bomb threat. God that was so appropriate! And no, it wasn't me. I was covering the event, working the on air camera for a local TV station, so my hands were full at the time.

Simon said...

They are all exceptionally dull examples of current fads in architecture; it's the monochrome boredom of Norman Foster, the insufferable desire to show off "look what we can do with modern materials," and the even more insufferable desire of architects to be postmodern artists, a tendancy which reaches its apotheosis in Libeskind's singularly awful body of work. Still, pace Chris, it could be worse than dull: Chicago has given planning permission to sully the most beautiful urban skyline in America by erecting what appears to be a 2000' cross between a drill bit and a vibrator on the lakefront.

Chris said...

Wow, the intended spiraling effect of that thing will not be lost on the casual viewer.

I liked Libeskind's Statue-of-Liberty-ish design myself.

Smilin' Jack said...

Well, I thought the new WTC design was ugly until I clicked on Simon's link to that thing in Chicago. Yow!

I still think the original towers should be rebuilt, but one story higher--making room for a memorial, and sending a message.

Jason said...

The twin towers were ugly monstrosities. The planned replacements aren't any better. The best solution is to build something practical as though the twin towers never existed.

Christy said...

What Jason said.

I read Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York by Paul Goldberger this year and learned just how inefficient skyscrapers really are for office space. I also learned that architects like to design things that can't be built. So I'm not holding my breath waiting for these new buildings to arise out of the skyline.

Jeremy said...

We need more people to get downtown and if it takes a monstrosity of architecture, then by golly, that's a chance we're willing to take. Besides, Fresno was never a cultural jewel to begin with.

Seven Machos said...

What do you know from Fresno, Jeremy? I bet only that the people are hayseeds. They must be.

From Bauhaus to Our House is still the best treatment of this subject. Why do people who own perfectly good real estate accept this absolute shit?

Here is what should happen:

downtownlad said...

These buildings are pretty good. The Norman Foster tower is superb and will definitely become an icon - on par with the Chrysler Building I bet.

And these buildings are tall. The Foster tower will be taller than the Empire State building.

They are even better than the new 7 World Trade, which is now one of the finest buildings in lower Manhattan in my opinion.

Let's build. I'm tired of bloggers who don't live in New York sabotaging the reconstruction of my city. Michelle Malkin stopping the stunning Snohetta building for example, now dooming that corner to be a barren wasteland forever.

Al Maviva said...

There is only one possible name for that new building in Chicago: The Steely Dan Tower.

downtownlad said...

By the way - you can see the Michelle Malkin barren wasteland in the link Ann provided. It's the green square between the Freedom Tower and the Foster building. You can't even plant trees on that spot, because it's over the Transportation Center.

What could have been one of the greatest squares in New York City, will now probably be a place where you can buy 9/11 shot glasses from tourist vendors. Gee, thanks Michelle. Not!

charlotte said...

In the renderings in the article, the top of the proposed Foster Tower looks like it was severely sheared off, causing the structure to list to one side. I have it on good authority that Cheney and his henchmen sabotaged its original flat-roof schematics with graphite, and that this benefits Bush and Halliburton, somehow.

downtownlad said...

The slanted roof was part of Liebeskind's design. Ashame the other two buildings don't follow that plan.

Here's an AWESOME rendering of the buildings. I'm liking them better all the time.

charlotte said...


That's a great panoramic rendering. Almost Bierstadt. Makes me want to go eastward ho!

sonicfrog said...

Jeremy said:

We need more people to get downtown and if it takes a monstrosity of architecture, then by golly, that's a chance we're willing to take. Besides, Fresno was never a cultural jewel to begin with.

I whole heartedly agree that we need more people to go downtown, but people only go to City Hall because they HAVE TO! :-)

PS. Do you live here? i thought I was the only blogger from Fresburgh hangin with Althouse.

Richard Dolan said...

It's an interesting idea, but I don't think it will ever be built. The main activity downtown today is the conversion of office towers to residential use. The former JP Morgan Bank building across the street from the NYSE, and the Chemical Bank building behind Federal Hall are two of the huge conversions now nearing completion. There's not much demand for millions of square feet of new and expensive office space downtown, given that all of the major financial players are spreading out their office locations in the NYC metro area rather than concentrating them in one part of the City as was the pattern before 9/11.

So time will tell. But don't hold your breath.

Jeremy said...

Fresyes! Just moved here from the coast earlier this year. Still finding my way around.

I'll tell you, one of the most noticable things to a new-comer is that between the heat, the smog and K-Fed, there is little to no Fresno Pride outside the Bulldog's stadium. That's too bad.

sonicfrog said...

I always cringe when someone describes the best thing about living in Fresno is that:

you're an hour away from Sequia National Monument, an hour and a half from Yeosemite, two from the beach, three from San Fran, and four from LA. etc. etc.

So the best things about Fresno are the places you can go to get out of it!