Anti-Social, Despotic, Architecture

Released: Feb. 26, 2009.

A listener asks James Howard Kunstler to react to the Feb. 9 fire that destroyed a Beijing building by Dutch starchitect Rem Koolhaas. Kunstler believes many famous architects, including Koolhaas, often strive to confound people in order to appear supernaturally brilliant. It’s all in the service of grandiosity and narcissism, though. Rather than attempting to disturb our expectations, architects should strive to give us buildings that are neurologically comprehensible and that satisfy our need for cultural orientation. Kunstler also takes shots at a proposed skyscraper in Boston and the Southern Poverty Law Center. **Tim Halber, managing editor of Planetizen, responds in a listener comment to Duncan’s recent comments about the failures of new urbanism.

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( 29 MB | 31:34 mins.)

Rem Koolhaas CCTV building, photo by Iamdavidtheking
Rem Koolhaas CCTV building in Beijing,
photo by Iamdavidtheking.