Well, actually no. It isn’t. But it is the most beautiful skyscraper constructed in the last five years, that I’m personally aware of. I suppose I could have missed one. Anyway, it’s called “Turning Torso” and it’s located in Malm?, Sweden.
Taste is always subjective of course, so you may find it’s not something you care for. Hey, it’s a big world. I’ll live. But if you do like it you might want to check out the buildings own flashy site. It’s fun.
Fact is, I liked this building so much that I looked up the architect , Santiago Calatrava, to see what else he’d done. Lots, as it happens. And more lots. Plus, he has a flash site all his own. Please, enjoy.
Most modern architecture either leaves me cold or enrages me. What San Francisco did to the De Young Museum calls for show trials at the very least. Seriously, it looks like a Klingon parking garage. My teeth begin grinding whenever I’m reminded of it. In this one small locus of human endeavor, Kunstler and I are in perfect agreement. Most modern architects are guilty of crimes against humanity. Have you seen the monstrous abortion that’s planned for downtown Louisville?
Awww, it’s a gigantic Dickens Droid. Look, it’s limping along with the help of a trusswork girder crutch. It must be Tiny Tim! God bless us, every one! But where is the robot’s head?
Those people have a lot to answer for. Here’s what Rem Koolhaas, whose firm designed the steel and glass crime, fondly imagines is a deep thought…

“People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it. Of course, that’s both liberating and alarming. But the generic city, the general urban condition, is happening everywhere, and just the fact that it occurs in such enormous quantities must mean that it’s habitable. Architecture can’t do anything that the culture doesn’t. We all complain that we are confronted by urban environments that are completely similar. We say we want to create beauty, identity, quality, singularity. And yet, maybe in truth these cities that we have are desired. Maybe their very characterlessness provides the best context for living.”

God help us all. No wonder I hate his buildings. And yet, they’re not that different from Calatrava’s, aside from being graceless, ill-proportioned, and inescapably intrusive. So it must just be subtle differences, right?
Calatrava’s designs remind me of bird bones, whale ribs, narwhal tusks, or even Brancusi’s “Bird in Space“. They are truly lovely, but in a mildly disturbing way, like something that H.R. Giger might design for his children if he got really, really mellow. Cuddly Giger. Plushy Giger. It soothes me.