Confederacy Of Awful

In the traditional sense, the word “awful” had the precise opposite of its meaning today;  something “awful” (or “awe-full”) created awe in the listener or viewer, rather than making one want to puke.

I suspect that “awe-full” was intended in the creation of this list.  But as one who as World Emperor would impose a retroactive global ban on any structure taller than twenty floors, the list simply makes me want to head for the barf bag.

As far as I’m concerned, of course, “Ten Best Skyscrapers” could just as easily be “Ten Best Snakebites”.  That this is an annual competition depresses me even more.  Here’s one example, taken at random:

And, to add insult to injury, the “Tour Alto” (6th place) is in Paris.

Kill them all.


  1. I think that in a few years all these commercial buildings are going to feel the pinch from the growing “work from home” trend. Why live or work downtown in tall skyscrapers, fight heavy traffic, or look for expensive non-existent parking, when you can live out in the picturesque suburban or rural landscape and work via a zoom call??

    Of course the downside is that all those citified liberals will be moving out to red-state America.

  2. I spent 5 years working on the 42nd floor of the Pru here in Boston and after several weeks while the view becomes normal, there is very little difference between working on the fourth floor or the 42nd. You just go to a different bank of elevators. There were days when the weather closed in early, and on a stormy weekend you could hear the building move, ( all tall buildings actually move in the wind – remember the the Hancock Tower Windows? ).

    ….. and if we banned all the weird building designs that delusional Architects dream up, then being a Structural Engineer who has to figure out how to design and build the dammed things without a # 6 Skyhook would be no fun at all.

  3. The reality is that skyscrapers are here to stay, limiting buildings to 20 stories means the cities would just sprawl further. Maybe less necessary than formerly, as Ravenwood points out above, but still. The tallest building I ever worked in was 1 Liberty Plaza in lower Manhattan, 54 floors although I was only on the 7th. Not an attractive building by any stretch, but it kinda grew on you just like the original WTC did. It was commissioned by US Steel to show how steel could be used in building tall buildings.

    That said, most modern skyscrapers (as well as most other modern architecture) are hideous. Personally I’m fond of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

    Mark D

  4. Modern skyscrapers are a self-solving problem. They don’t last. Not in the long term, anyway.

  5. I always thought the glass dildo in London-town was especially egregious.

    I’m sure you could support a 21 story wall around the cities that house these monstrosities. Trapping the woke denizens therein. The enjoyment I would get from watching them eat each other could not be measured.

    As a Proof of concept , I submit Portland OR as a good location.

  6. A couple of things come to mind when I read about these goofy towers of ego and batshit. A little over 30 years ago I worked kind of high up in an office in Dallas that overlooked the black, shiny glass, Trammel Crow building which was kind of ugly and after every heavy rain I was able to watch men coming out of the top of the building, rappelling down the slope of the pyramid at the top while the recaulked the glass panels which leaked a lot.

    Second thing is a conversation I had a few months ago with my old shooting buddy in Dallas, he was a senior partner in a law firm in the Big Green Neon building kind of high up with a corner office. About three years ago his firm merged with a large national and my friend decide it was time with over 30 some years in to cash in a bail out with one other lawyer in his specialty. He told me it really irritated him to be paying people who had the job of telling him he needed to get his billing hours up. He told me after working from a home office for a year and then the two lawyers rented an oversize walk-in closet of an office in Preston Center, a half mile from his home, that the need for large law offices with huge foyers, up to date law libraries with staff, clerks and typists is becoming a thing of the past. He predicts lots of problems filling tall buildings in large cities. He might be right, the net after expenses sure improves when overhead is reduced.

  7. Kim said “Kill them all.”
    Yup – I suggest a defenestration party, where the egoperp architect is stripped naked and duct-taped for three or four days to one of those all glass south facing walls they’re so fond of, in order to appreciate the roast/freeze blinding sun cycle their design foisted on the building occupants, and then thrown out the window wall through the glass, followed by a controlled implosion demolition of the monstrosity to pulverize and bury the architects remains.

  8. Compared to the Shard, La Defence or anything at all in Dubai, that glass dildo is “almost” nice, but no argument, return to classical buildings is a sorely needed movement. As usual, I blame the krauts and Marx.

  9. I used to be in construction management and I’m glad I never contributed to ruining city skylines. Other than the Chrysler building in NYC most can be wiped off the skyline for improvement.

    There’s glass building in Boston that was built around 1999 or so that looks like a giant roll on anti perspirant bottle.


  10. As the Parisians say, the best view of Paris is from the Tour Montparnasse – because from there one cannot see the Tour Montparnasse.

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