Towering Inferno


David Greising has a great piece on the wonderfully berserk plan of British developer Bill Davies to transform—and expand!—the old main post office into an "urban mecca" (maybe we could call it Xanadu… oh, wait, that never works) predicated on the if-you-build-it-they-will-come principle. Greising almost had me convinced it’s an untenable idea for all sorts of practical reasons, until he got to the end:

The 120-story tower would be so close to the Willis Tower, nee Sears Tower, Beitler said, that an air vacuum would be created. Windows would get sucked out of both buildings.

Then there’s the radiation problem. Those monster antennae atop Sears Tower pump out enough radiation to microwave a woolly mammoth. “The radiation would sterilize anybody who lives in that 2,000-foot-tower,” Beitler said.

OK, he’s got my attention. It’s certainly ambitious: a shopping destination yoked to a giant, permanent Towering Inferno, like the Transformers shoot 24/7. Not to mention a resonant, kinetic improvement to the essential lie that static ruin porn tells.  As a profitable enterprise it still seems unlikely that Davies’ plan will ever take shape, but as a memorial to the era of overbuilding it’s got more flair and more honesty than the Great Spire Hole.