9 cartoons about high-rise architecture
One of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen was the Manhattan skyline when coming in from Newark airport, via New Jersey. Manhattan has some of the most iconic of first-generation skyscrapers: the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building. New York and Chicago led where others followed. High-rise buildings make sense economically. They use land and energy more efficiently than smaller buildings and single houses. However, as I demonstrate in these images, there is a soulless, homogenised, blandness to a city in the sky. Perhaps something happens in the hearts and minds of people, once they become separated from the land and from each other. Architects like Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson and Le Corbusier have created wonders of modernist architecture. However, these buildings succeed only if you have wealthy people owning and living in them. History has shown us that we lower orders, the poor schmucks with shallower pockets, do best whilst living in traditional housing.
Six of these cartoons were first published in Punch magazine. Subsequently, they appeared in my first book, ‘Isn’t Progress Wonderful?’ The book was repackaged as ‘Earthtoons’ for the US release. Both were published in 1991. Most of the rest of these cartoons were published in my third book, ‘Nature, man’s best friend,’ published in Denmark.