Twist and Shout

Posted: November 15, 2020 in Economics, Idle Nonsense, Industrial Collapse, Skyscrapers
Tags: ,

I learned (quickly for once) that Emporis has awarded its annual prize, the 2019 skyscraper of the year, to the Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, Russia. Although I have blogged quite a bit about skyscrapers and possessed passing familiarity with the name Emporis, I didn’t know buildings actually received awards. In fact, I had suggested that architects held a silent sweepstakes no one actually wins except perhaps in preposterous prestige points for being the tallest building du jour. Guess I was wrong.

Anyway, the Lakhta Center is plenty tall (1,516 ft., more than three times the height of any other building in St. Petersburg) but not a challenger in the international supertall category. Not even in the (current) top ten. But it does feature a version of the twisting design (blogged about here), an apparent antidote to the dreaded box.

So the Lakhta Center can twist, but it can’t exactly shout from the rooftop about its award (since it’s a spire and has no roof). Meanwhile, I remain puzzled that these projects continue to be funded and get built in an era of increasing desperation among peoples who can’t feed, clothe, and house themselves. Tent cities and homeless encampments stand in stark contrast to gleaming skyscrapers. Indeed, if the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that demand for prime office and/or hotel and condo space in a supertall building is cratering with more of the workforce telecommuting instead of working on site and travelers staying home. I’ve expected these massive, multiyear, multibillion-dollar projects to be abandoned any time now. Yet they continue to move forward, and at no modest pace. My shouts aren’t being heard, either.

  1. Greg Knepp says:

    I, for one, attribute the design of this pointy piece of shit to what I call ‘The Supernova Effect’ – a characteristic manifested in various forms in virtually all foundering societies, but particularly evidenced by outsized physical structures like skyscrapers.

    There are numerous examples; I will name just a few: the huge late-gothic cathedrals and the ostentatious (and somewhat retro-designed) St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which signaled the end of Catholic hegemony in Europe, The gaudy Easter Island Statues which grew larger as the island’s residents died of starvation, the gargantuan US Capitol building constructed during the Civil War – a time when the Industrial Revolution, rather than the nation-state, was already beginning to dictate the direction of history, King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle which gave voice to the end of royalty as a prime cultural mover, and, of course, the entire pathetic Dubai project…need I say more?

    Supernova efforts are much like cargo cults. They speak loudly, “looky here, I’m still alive and still really important!”…I weep for the historical, cultural and architectural heritage of St. Petersburg. Apparently Russia is on the skids.

  2. leavergirl says:

    Wow. Another penis.

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