International Nouveau Riche

We live just minutes away from some very wealthy suburbs that attract celebrities and professional ball players. They build enormous mansions on cul-de-sacs that are freakin' ugly. Copper roofs AND Grecian statues AND seven curved windows AND a four-car garage AND a turret. Money does not buy you good taste.

As silly as these homes are, they pale in comparison with the wealthy abroad. Have you seen this house in Mumbai? It cost $1 billion to build. It requires 600 employees to maintain it.


It is also butt-ugly.

I'm still working my way through the fantastic article in Sunday's Times about the architecture, museums, and universities going up in Dubai and Doha. (Check out the interviews with I.M. Pei, Gehry and others. )Their case is somehow different, because respected architects were hired and paid tons of cash to build franchises in these cities. I can't decided if I like these buildings or not.


I am horrified by how these projects have happened. They've brought in hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to construct these buildings, paid them little, beat them, and then plan to kick them out of the country when the project is done.

These projects smack of hubris. It's not hard to imagine, when the oil dries up and the money disappears, the desert sands swallowing up these monstrosities.


15 thoughts on “International Nouveau Riche

  1. I’ve always wanted a turret. A few of the Victorian era houses around here have a them. I’ve never wanted a four car garage, but somebody was selling an old fire station with much more space than that. I really wanted that old fire station, but it was just too much to fix/heat.

  2. We have a turret. But, it doesn’t have anything in it. Folks who see it from the outside are always wondering, but it’s just empty space in high-ceilinged foyer.
    I’ve never wanted a house that looks like building blocks precariously stacked by a 2 year old.
    And I think the guest worker programs are evil.

  3. `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

  4. They are all gone away,
    The House is shut and still,
    There is nothing more to say.
    Through broken walls and gray
    The winds blow bleak and shrill:
    They are all gone away.
    Nor is there one to-day
    To speak them good or ill:
    There is nothing more to say.

  5. Crazy! I feel terrible about all the semi-slave filipinos. 😦 Sometimes the über-rich just make me sick to my stomach. And I was so fascinated by the buildings just last night. oh well…

  6. Some shockingly large percent (over 50%) of the Philadelphia Flyers live in my town. They tend to have tasteful, non-tacky (although very big) residences. I think that has more to do with peer pressure from surrounding houses than the inherent tastefulness of NHL players.
    My goals are much more modest — a covered porch so that I can sit outside on warm, rainy days.

  7. Hey. Did my turret get dissed? But, I do agree. A real turret needs to have a place to sit where you can watch the princes & princesses crossing the moat to visit. It should also have a window so that you can let down your hair.

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