My wife treated me to pizza tonight (we went to the local Boston Pizza) and she
was telling me that she had heard that one of the guys who crashed the plane into
the WTC was an architect, and had very strong (doh!) opinions on how the West's
architecture was blasphemous. I won't go into all of what she had heard (and I'm
not sure where she heard or read this), but one aspect of it was something we'd
call a "tower of Babylon" complex (my words, not her's).  Don't know if this is
true, and even if it were, it certainly wouldn't come close to justifying his
involvement in the atrocity, but I thought it was an interesting thought. But for
various reasons I think European and North American countries have kind of gotten
through our skyscraper phase, if I can put it that way. More and more the action
is in exurban "industrial estates" -- Redmond WA and Santa Clara CA being a couple
of the original ones, along with places like Framingham MA and Clearwater FL (or
in Canada, Markham ON, Kanata ON, Richmond BC and Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue QC* come
to mind).

It's in Asia, which is just entering the industrial era in a major way, where
we're seeing all the big skyscrapers go up now. Hong Kong and Shanghai, but
according to Elden Watson, who recently came back from a trip to China and showed
me some scanned photos he'd taken, even in places like Shenzhen (the "red" side of
Hong Kong), Chonqing (what we used to call Chungking) and Guangzhou (Canton) there
are plans for skyscrapers over 500 m high. Even the CN tower is only 550 metres
and a bit -- but it's only arguably a "building" (I'd call it a "structure", or as
locals laconically observe, the worst food at the highest altitude).

Not that I'm necessarily defending super-tall skyscrapers (I don't have strong
feelings one way or the other, but do admit to sunburning my tonsils in awe
sometimes when I see some of them for the first time -- the "wow factor"), but I
think the local opinion is, "well show 'em, we'll build it back again, only higher
and bigger."

*that's where the robotic arms (both versions) of the space shuttle were built,
and is also a centre for pharmaceutical R&D. Markham has a big IBM R&D centre, and
Richmond is home to Macdonald Dettweiler [sp?], who designed and built RADARSAT, a
Canadian remote sensing satellite which can look below the earth's surface using

"John W. Redelfs" wrote:

> I think it is hubris to imagine we should build towers still taller than
> the WTC.  Sure they can build them, but the experience with the WTC proves
> that someone else can knock them down.  What is the point?  Why make
> buildings a tempting target unnecessarily?  I should think that the
> builders of the WTC would have learned their lesson.  Super tall building
> are not a good idea.

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give lustre, and many more people
see than weigh.” – Lord Chesterfield

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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