Monday, January 4, 2010

Burj Dubai

      Charles Crowell/Bloomberg via NYT 

The Burj Dubai opens today.  It is by some distance the tallest building on earth.  Half as high again as the CN Tower.

Many commentators are calling the tower a symbol of arrogance, greed and an unsustainable  free-for-all era.  Some associate the building with vulgar oil money and uppity Arabs.  And we all know Dubai was built with what amounts to slave labour.

But I disagree with those that say its ugly.  IMHO, it is one of the most beautiful skyscrapers ever built.  Its really hard to make something so big look graceful, but it is graceful.

The comments about its opening also remind me of very similar statements made about the Empire State Building.  It was started at the end of the roaring 20s, but not completed until well into the depression.  Some said the building would never fill, that it would be a white elephant, a lesson on hubris.  Eventually, it did ok.  I’m hoping the Burj will also eventually do ok.