Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I know Ayn Rand is today, either derided as the author of pulp fiction or the proto-wingnut, but she had some great non-obvious viewpoints which at the very least, challenge assumptions. I remember reading one essay dedicated to exulting industrial progress in which she talks about how she gets teary-eyed when seeing a smokestack pumping out smog, not because of the eco-damage to the skies, but because she is a humanist and such a monumental edifice is evidence to her of man's progress that she weeps. While smokestacks (and billboards i think was the other example) don't really do it for me in the same way, I get the biggest thrill hearing about new buildings being built. Sure, its a less objectionable use of space then Rand's big old chimney, but some people will no doubt be unhappy that we are building new structures at all, just like the pampered Westerners who sniff at the environmental waste and upheaval involved in providing developing nations with usable roads and public utilities, no longer capable themselves of imagining life in America before the Eisenhower Interstate Highway system made continental travel an inalienable right.
I am especially fond of the 'vertical city' concept, underground superstructures, robot garages, capsule hotels coming to Europe, as well as a more harmonious integration of local environment and culture within the tradition of modern architecture, like how the Islamic motifs of the native Malay culture is expressed in the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur. So I got very excited this mornign when I saw that the architect Lord Foster (who created London's first truly iconic building of the 21st century, 'The Gherkin' aka the Swiss Re building; sorry Millenium Dome) is creating a 600 meter tower in Moscow, slated to be the tallest in Europe when completed in 2010.
The Moscow City Tower will be a “mixed-use, super-dense, vertical city” capable of accommodating 25,000 people, according to Lord Foster. It will have nine underground floors of parking and shopping space, a public ice rink on the first floor, an hotel, twenty-four floors of apartments and offices and a public observation deck with cafés and bars at the top.
Ahhhh... I love living in the future. Only question now is whether the Freedom Tower in NYC will be complete by the time the MCT opens.

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