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Conspicuous construction

from David Ruccio


The high times aren’t going away in New York.

The city of just six years from now will be dramatically taller, with a series of luxury high-rises towering above Central Park, a new West Side development and downtown spires.

ONE57-tower-new-york-christian-de-portzamparc-designboom-02 xfjdnyoyf6jlt3v2gfaj

That’s because, as Martin Fuller [ht: ja] explains, there’s a lot of money to be made building and spent on purchasing new luxury condominium buildings in New York City. He refers to these new buildings—like One57 and 432 Park Avenue (buildings 25 and 9 in the rendering above)—as three-dimensional balance sheets.

They’re not so much new architectural masterpieces and engineering marvels as conspicuous ways for the world’s super-rich to consume the growing portion of the surplus they’re managing to capture. In fact, a duplex penthouse atop the French architect Christian de Portzamparc’s One57 condominium sold for an unprecedented $100,471,452.77! (In 2014, seven more apartments at that address, built by the Extell Development Company, changed hands for between $32 million and $56 million each.)

As we know, in general New York City housing is increasingly beyond the reach of pretty much anyone outside the top 10 percent. As for the conspicuous construction associated with the world’s super-rich,

the smokestack­-like protuberances that now disrupt the skyline of midtown Manhattan signify the steadily widening worldwide gap between the unimaginably rich and the unconscionably poor. Those of us who believe that architecture invariably (and often unintentionally) embodies the values of the society that creates it will look upon these etiolated oddities less with wonder over their cunning mechanics than with revulsion over the larger, darker machinations they more accurately represent.

  1. March 27, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Reblogged this on My Desiring-Machines.

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