Friday, August 01, 2014

Chit Chat: Skyscrapers

Our chit chat continues, next subject: skyscrapers.

For starters, Anonymous informs us that skyscrapers, in the past, were sometimes (rather dreamily) referred to as "cloudscrapers". I did not know. That's pretty cool. Can we go back to calling them cloudscrapers? Curiously, the term is both dreamier and closer to factually correct. I've never actually seen a really tall building scrape the sky,1 but I have seen the tops of tall buildings enshrouded in clouds, "scraping" them, as it were. Dreamier and more accurate. Hmm... One wouldn't have thought it possible.

But wait. I've got more to say about sky/cloudscrapers. In fact, I've got a gripe.2

Skyscrapers3 have a two-fold aspect: they are seen from without, and they are occupied from within. This is true of any building, but with skyscrapers, the disparity between these two experiences of the structure is exaggerated.
  1. From without, they stand masterfully tall, the great creations of our time, forming a city's skyline, often elegant and sculptural, neck-craning and amazing.
  2. But from within, they often kind of suck. During my couple of years temping in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time working in a lot of skyscrapers. And inside, they're mostly just crappy generic climate-controlled fluorescent-lit unremarkable office spaces. Sure, occupants around the perimeter are granted fantastic views, but these views are often reserved for the mucky-mucks, leaving the majority of worker bees stuck in the windowless interior. (And as a temp, I was the lowliest, windowless-est of the worker bees.) And the only breath of fresh air, the only escape from this interior nowhere-space, is a long elevator ride away. (The interior is even more interior than most interiors.) I just wish more of the architects who design these wondrous creations would consider the experience of the internal occupants as much as that of the external viewers. A little less grand ego; a little more thoughtful consideration.
That's what I've got to say on the subject of sky/cloudscrapers. Gripe over. Whew! I feel better.

1 'Cause, y'know, "the sky" is really just an artificial construct of us ground-dwellers, used to refer to what appears to be an over-arching blue dome but is really just an optical effect created by the fuzzy blob of gasses that surrounds our little planet.

2 Ooh! Slimbo's got a gripe. Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

3 Sorry, I'm going to run with the standard term for now.

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