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The Luxury Highrise

Those with New York envy, beware. A snippet of the book From Bauhaus to Our House, Tom Wolfe, 1981:

The only people left trapped in worker housing in America today are those who don't work at all and are on welfare--these are the sole inhabitants of "the projects"--and, of course, the urban rich who live in places such as the Olympic Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York. Since the 1950's the term "luxury highrise" has come to denote a certain type of apartment house that is in fact nothing else but the Siedlungen of Frankfurt and Berlin, with units stacked up thirty, forty, fifty stories high, to be rented or sold to the bourgeoisie. Which is to say, pure nonbuurgeois housing for the bourgeoisie only. Sometimes the towers are of steel, concrete, and glass; sometimes of glass, steel, and small glazed white or beige bricks. Always the celings are low, often under eight feet, the hallways are narrow, the rooms are narrow, even when they're long, the bedrooms are small (Le Corbusier was always in favor of that, the walls are thin, the doorways and windows have no casings, the joints have no moldings, the walls have no baseboards, and teh windows don't open, although small vents or jalousies may be provided. The construction is invariably cheap in the pejorative as well as the literal sense. That builders could present these boxes in the 1950s, without a twitch of the nostril, as luxury, and that well-educated men and women could accept them, without a blink, as luxury--here is objective testimony, from those too dim for irony, to the aesthetic sway of the compound aesthetic, of the Silver Prince and his colonial legions, in America following the Second World War.

But these "luxury highrises" make the NYTimes easy to deliver from doorstep to doorstep.