Thursday, August 22, 2013

constructive Crow



Greetings from distant places, dear susan,

As usual, travel has broadened my perspective but, more and more often lately, I must shake my head in amazement at the vagaries of humankind. Weary-winged after my flight across the Mediterranean, I'd  barely alit on the bow of a passing sloop when what should I see but yet another monstrous edifice blighting this enchanting shore. What you see in this picture quickly snapped by one of the fishermen is the 47 stories tall Intempo Tower that rises head, shoulders, torso and thighs above its neighbors in what formerly was the tiny fishing village of Benidorn, Spain. What makes it eye-rollingly outlandish is that in their haste to construct dwellings more lavish than others nearby, the builders neglected to emplace elevators suitable for carrying people and their furnishings to floors above the twentieth. Yes, the developers decided to add twenty-seven floors to the original design without considering this seemingly essential issue for those born without wings.  Their response is a plan to add exterior lifts, but I can't help but wonder how the tenants will react to strangers passing through their bedrooms on their way to their own apartments.

This egregiously bizarre architectural anomaly only goes to prove my long held opinion that people are better off living closer to the ground. High-rises have become endemic in modern cities mostly as a result of the cheap and unimaginative mass production logic of big business. Just as there are famous brand name food purveyors on the corners most everywhere in the western world and beyond, so too are high-rise apartment and office buildings making your cities indistinguishable from one another. True, some of the buildings are entertaining to look at (mostly at night), but they are invariably inhuman in size and scope. Furthermore, there are problems inherent in skyscraping habitations that may not be apparent on first glance but, as energy prices continue to rise, we may yet see the renaissance of human scale architecture - the kind that still exists mostly in old Europe whose central cities are themselves untouchable monuments, but whose outskirts too have often been redeveloped - up.



Here's a charming view of Venice painted by my old friend Canaletto in the days when nothing was taller than a church steeple.

Anyway, let me make a couple of points about why modern high-rises might not be the entirely correct solution to the way people live:

1. Wind speed increases with height. This isn't a problem for birds who may wish to migrate, but you might want to consider that if you open windows for some cross ventilation on the forty-second floor you may want to place bricks on any loose paper.

2. If your windows don't open, especially in a building with glass curtain walls, then on a hot day without power provided by cheap fossil fuels the temperature inside will rise to baking levels.

3. Water pressure to all but the lowest floors of a building will disappear during a power outage.

4. In a period of unaffordable energy costs, people would only be able to occupy floors as high as they could physically climb. For most people, that limit is four or five flights of stairs and may be less if you're carrying buckets of water.

In the long run I imagine skyscrapers might make excellent aviaries. Goodness knows, we birds could do with a break.

Salutations to you and all your compatriots. Please remember to keep the brandy warm and the fruitcake old and dry. I shall return soon.

Devotedly yours,
Crow

20 comments:

  1. And I understand that skyscrapers can 'wave' quite alarmingly in the wind. Even looking at them makes me feel uncomfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that to be true but I've never spent time in a skyscraper to find out for myself. I get vertigo standing on a ladder.

      Delete
  2. Happy to hear from Crow. Wise words on high rises with which I concur! My biggest fear is when the elevators stop working and I'm stuck up top with my bad knees! I manage with our two story house, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crow was touched to hear you'd been inquiring after him. I agree with you about the level of dismay felt if you have to climb down many stairs as I'm also much better at going up them. Living on the third floor of this building stairs are easy; in the last place the seventh floor was more problematic during power outages or on student moving days. Something Crow forgot to mention is that not every high-rise building is equipped with emergency lighting.

      Delete
  3. Very constructive, Crow. Thanks.
    Another interesting point seems to me that – normally – the higher the apartments, the higher the rent / price. In this very case it is obviously the other way round, as those living under the Nuremberg Funnell soon will get filled with knowledge and wisdom. Well, or with ignorance, lethargy, callousness, stupidity, . . . to cut it short, with all 'talents' depending on whose payroll the architects are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As Crow once said to me, 'The higher the elevation, the more likely are those below to resemble targets.'

      I'd never heard the term Nuremberg Funnel before but the longevity of its premise proves we've been impervious to wisdom for a very long time. Architects do indeed design and build for those who pay their bills. Unfortunately, there are far too many times when those buildings overwhelm the communities where they're placed.

      Delete
  4. The condition is regretful, and I am sure Crow views it from an ecological perspective - as all natural creatures (other than man) must. However, we must realize that the effects we are seeing must stem eventually from a single cause. And, if we follow all the atrocities against nature back to one incident - we must settle on over population. The world population doubles every forty years...
    Poor Crow.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a longtime (if not original) member of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      Delete
  5. I'm scared to be up too high myself. Now if I had some wings, as Crow does, I might not be scared of flying. But I'm usually afraid of humans because we do so many dumb and mean things to each other and all of the Earth. The VHEM website is sure interesting too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I once climbed a moderately high mountain without a problem, but sheer vertical heights make me very queasy indeed. Wings would be an improvement if only Crow could share his.

      The VHEM website is brilliant. I'm so glad you've been by there for a visit :)

      Delete
  6. Well, the drawing of the building as shown by Crow is exactly like the photo they showed on the news. The announcer had a difficult time keeping a straight face. Yes, let's do turn them all into aviaries, especially since mankind seems hell-bent on sawing down or burning out all of earth's lovely trees. The stats at the end are riveting, nearly taking my mind off the fact that a building was constructed without elevators to the top floors.....
    I do think you were too kind in saying most people would have trouble climbing more than 4-5 stories. With the rampant obesity of today, one story might be the end of the story for many. Sad state of affairs, most definitely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering the building looks just like a very tall letter 'M' it wasn't too difficult to draw. Most modern architecture is so incredibly boring it makes you want to weep at the sheer banality.

      You're right about obesity being such an enormous (sic) problem that most people would be forced to live in the lobbies.

      Delete
  7. Now, I come here to get the news. I stopped reading newspapers, watching TV news and reading internet news stories a long time ago. Your report from Crow has filled me in on this particular story. Since I would never ever consider living in any such building, I would have glanced over it completely, but Crow has a way of informing that certainly can keep my interest, especially since I seem to have more sedentary time on my hands these days.
    By the way, I lost some weight and have managed to keep it off for almost 2 years, but I still couldn't make the stairs because of other ailments and residual conditions from past health problems. I'd be one of the lobby dwellers. Like on the US train system, Amtrak. I'll find a place to recline in one of the public areas and spend the night there.
    My best to Crow, and to you.


    Peace

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read printed newspapers or magazines in many years either, nor have I watched TV, but I do spend more time than is likely good for me reading the news linked from a few websites. The story about the skyscraper built without elevators is minor compared to some that are more worrisome. You're probably right to ignore them too.

      It's a good thing if you're able to live in a place where big apartment buildings aren't just about the only choice for people of modest income (like us) or who can no longer keep up the maintenance on a house in a cold climate (also like us). I just think it's a good thing that people understand the potential downside of living at a great height. So far we can still manage the stairs to our third floor place and that's a good thing. I'd be happy to bring you sandwiches and drink to your comfy spot in the lobby.

      All the best to you too :)

      Delete
  8. Everyone loves Paris, yet there's nothing obscenely imposing within the city proper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paris is human scale - unless you decide to climb the Eiffel Tower.

      Delete
  9. oh well the people at the top will be very very fit... I hear stories from people who go from here to there for holidays.. and they sit by the swimming pool and drink alcohol... spend a fortune, dont' look around at any of the countryside or interact with any of the people.
    I would rather stay at home.
    in fact I do always stay at home.. or at them moment someone else's... because I have no money to waste.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They might be fit from climbing those stairs but they'll have to hang ropes out the window holes to get food and water.

      I've read about that town being a famous resort too so your mentioning people you know going there to veg out (vegetate) comes as no surprise. It seems the same is true of resorts and cruise ships everywhere but I wouldn't like that either. Like you, even if I had money to throw around, I'd try to spend it more wisely.

      Delete
  10. My head is numb, so I cannot leave much of a note. Glad Crow is up and about; hope you are the same.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you're feeling well again soon. Crow sends his regards.

      Delete