I have never had any desire to go to Dubai. But that changed this week when I listened to this BBC podcast on why we build skyscrapers, and learned about the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. I want to see it.
“Yonic – yo• nic, adj. – a stylized representation of the female genitalia that in Hinduism is a sign of generative power and that symbolizes the goddess Shakti.” – Merriam Webster
But why do we build skyscrapers, anyway? Power, ego, and from a practical standpoint, to make the land pay. Nothing increases the financial output of a piece of urban land than building up. But what if women were in charge of the built environment. Would we have skyscrapers at all? Architecture at this scale is, in essence, one big pissing match writ in tons of glass and gleaming steel.
On the competition between Chicago and New York for possessing the tallest building in the western hemisphere: “The two cities have fought continuously for supremacy in the skyline,” which continued with the debate on whether the spire of One World Trade Center should be counted in the overall height of the building, in competition with Chicago’s Willis Tower. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, who governs these issues, ruled in favor of the trade center, despite the fact that the council is headquartered in Chicago.
“People in Chicago are very secure about their architecture. They realize that being the tallest isn’t what matters. It’s being the best that matters.”
Size doesn’t matter? Don’t let that fool you, boys. Because in other contexts, it sure as hell does. Happy International Women’s Day.