Another World's Tallest Building
- Blog Post by: James Lileks
- December 27, 2012 - 12:56 PM
Today’s appliance term you never knew until it breaks: Actuator. I’ll explain later.
#HASHTAG The worst social-media “fails” of the year. We used to have another word for these things - mistakes, failures - but “Fail” is apparently sufficient these days. Even though it sounds so 2010. Somehow I missed this one, which came out in the aftermath of the Aurora movie-theater shooting:
GEEK Shocker! Peter Parker is dead! But his consciousness survives in the mind of Dr. Octopus, who will now be Spider-Man.
That’ll last. Can’t see them coming back with Spider-Man in accustomed Parker form. I mean, he’s dead! They can’t do anything about that! I give it a year before someone grows Peter from some DNA they find on a comb, or they restart everything by going back to the origin story and starting again. That’ll be interesting. If there’s anything people are eager to see retold, it’s Spider-Man’s origin story - which, in the original, I believe, consisted of two panels. Or three? Checking . . . .
Yes, that’s about it. In related news: Jack Kirby is still regarded as one of the greatest comic artists, so it’s a bit odd to find out he did the comic version of Disney’s sci-fi misfire, “The Black Hole.” Regardez! (It’s in French.)
ARCHITECTURE Here’s a new museum in San Francisco, named as “one of the buildings to watch in 2013.” It’s an interesting thing that appears to be pre-collapsed for your convenience:
That will be a nice view for the hundred or so people who see it. Most people will see it from the street, where the building gives everyone a blank wall punctuated with a few windows.
The underwhelming One World Trade Center is another building to watch, although I’ve no idea why; is it scheduled to do something interesting, like shed its skin and reveal a beautiful structure that’s been hiding all along?
And then there’s Sky City. It will be the tallest building in the world. Built in China.
It will be constructed in three months.
Two hundred and twenty stories.
It has the massing of traditional 30s skyscrapers with none of the grace. Also, it’s a conceptual failure, says Christian Sottile, SCAD Dean of the School of Building Arts:
if you look at the outcome of this endeavor urbanistically, it is at best a folly, and at worst, madness. The proposition that a city can be contained within one building is unnatural and devastating to the human spirit. This project would, however, not be the first to propose such an end. It follows a long tradition of audacious architecture attempting to rethink the city. But in the end, the city always wins. I am speaking of the evolved city of over 7,000 years of transcultural human history — cities that honor the human being, as well as the art, craft, culture and resources of places.
Other than that, it’s a home run. If I lived on top of a 220-story building, I wouldn’t exactly be reassured that its builders were trying set a world record for fast construction.
As for other new structures that try to push the boundaries of architecture, tell me this doesn’t look like it will disgorge a billion bees some day.
This one just looks embarrassed for itself.
THE ACTUATOR EXPLANATION It’s the thing that makes the ice come out of the front of a refrigerator. The one I had was made of plastic - wise choice, Electrolux, for something people shove six or seven times a day with a hard object! Because the electrician had to disconnect the power, and because he wanted to cut the power at the fuse box, and because he didn’t know which fuse was the right one, he cut power to my home office, and when the computer came back on the fans were blowing in full panic mode, and haven’t stopped. All because of a cheap piece of plastic.
Well, as the philosophers say, everything is connected.
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