Why Not Just Build a Giant Replica of Bono’s Penis?

by Henry Farrell on October 16, 2007


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I’ll Let the Structural Engineers Explain « Pax Americana: Culture, Politics, and Ineffectual Debate
10.17.07 at 12:45 am



Uncle Kvetch 10.16.07 at 4:17 pm

The Fuck You Tower is becoming the de rigueur accessory for just about any self-respecting metropolis these days, it seems. Blech.


P O'Neill 10.16.07 at 4:21 pm

Perhaps they can rebrand the incinerator tower in Meath as such.


FQ Morris 10.16.07 at 4:47 pm

What’s so wrong about towers? This one seems quite nice. And Sir Foster is a great architect. People can be so afraid of new and modern architecture, which is a very regressive attitude.


ejh 10.16.07 at 5:28 pm

It’s naming stuff after yourself I can’t abide. It doesn’t impress anybody unless they’re far too easily impressed. Let other people put statues up to you, preferably after you’re gone.


Mrs Tilton 10.16.07 at 5:32 pm

Bono’s tower would look so much better in the City of the Sacred Heart. And anyway, Dublin will be flooded and frozen by the time the building is complete.


Kevin Donoghue 10.16.07 at 6:47 pm

From the linked article:

This monstrosity is going to be looming over the Dublin docklands in just a couple of years’ time, despite being totally out of keeping with the character of the area….

Surely that’s the whole point? Would any sane person have wanted to preserve the character of the area in question? It’s not St Stephen’s Green we’re talking about.


dooby 10.16.07 at 10:49 pm

“Why Not Just Build a Giant Replica of Bono’s Penis?”
Because Bono’s penis is actually less aesthetically pleasing.
This has been today’s easy answers to modern questions.


Sausage McPherson 10.16.07 at 10:49 pm

fq morris: energy-bloated towers aren’t ‘new’ or ‘modern’. They are old-fashioned, 20-th C architecture, born of a combination of architects-as-Nietzian-heroes modernism and corporate oligarchy. Old-fashioned, anti-human, anti-natural-world, destructive beyond measure. Sir Norman Foster’s just another useless, oil-guzzling old fart.


Down and Out of Sài Gòn 10.16.07 at 11:58 pm

The photo makes it look like the biggest cheesegrater in the world. It’s not as ridiculous as Barad-dûr, though.


John M 10.17.07 at 12:44 am

Bono didn’t set the record, he is the record!


sleeper 10.17.07 at 12:46 am

Look, in six months, we’ll be making another replica of Bono’s penis! Political solutions don’t work, I told you… No matter whose penis is up there, they’re all terrible!


Plotinus 10.17.07 at 1:03 am

By God… it’ll weigh more than 1 million Courics!


William Sjostrom 10.17.07 at 7:30 am

As I understand you, the Georgian architecture, which displaced other buildings in the 18th and early 19th centuries, is now aesthetically sacred, not to be replaced by newer architecture. When did you get so reactionary?


Michael Mouse 10.17.07 at 9:24 am

@dooby #7: “Because Bono’s penis is actually less aesthetically pleasing.”

How do you know?

@william sjostrom #14: “When did you get so reactionary?”

1840. Before it was fashionable.


MR. Bill 10.17.07 at 11:00 am

I happen to reside too close to Atlanta (ok i’m about 100 miles away), a city all to willing to embrace wretched skyscrapers, and keep thinking it need something, a new tower for one of it’s corporate citizens that makes a statement. Thus..
Coca Cola headquarters should be designed as an 70 story Coke bottle, in green glass, and the text on the bottle reproduced in red neon. Where’s Claes Oldenberg when you need him?
And I thought the Batman Building in Nashville was a hoot.


stostosto 10.17.07 at 12:19 pm

U2 has always been through-and-through insufferable. If they had stuck to just playing their godawful music that would have been quite insufferable enough, thank you. Yet they (or at least Bono) had to launch perpetual world-saving crusades all the time.

In that perspective this tower actually looks surprisingly moderately offensive. I mean it’s offensive, but not as much as one might expect. But then I have no relationship to the Dublin skyline whatsoever. I didn’t even know it had one.

What I can say for certain, though, is that I think Bono himself looks like a penis. A bespectacled penis.


JohnQ 10.17.07 at 12:35 pm

Well, considering the fact that Bono is probably a cyborg, I’d imagine that is a replica of his penis.


Chris Bertram 10.17.07 at 2:40 pm

That thing in front of the GPO in O’Connell Street also has something of the replica penis about it, I always think.


Katherine 10.17.07 at 3:00 pm

Is the problem that the tower is a bad/ugly design or that it is proposed by Bono/U2? Be honest now.


stostosto 10.17.07 at 3:32 pm


Honest? I think such towers will always face resistance from small-minded, unimaginative, regressive reactionaries such as myself.

But when they’re proposed by insufferable and irritatingly, incomprehensibly (to us) successful people who furthermore are earnestly endeavouring in proselytising causes, well…


novakant 10.17.07 at 7:01 pm

It’s rubbish, just like that space needle thing on O’Connell Street. And while I haven’t turned into Prince Charles yet and could name a number of modern architects that I like, there is a point to be made that urban architecture a la Haussmann or John Nash has a certain timeless and humane quality that pleases most people’s eye, while most of the postwar architecture is bland corporate junk.


nick 10.17.07 at 10:59 pm

“What shall I do with this absurdity –
O heart, O troubled heart – this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog’s tail?”


Keir 10.18.07 at 4:24 am

Haussmann? That built Paris so the mob could be kept down by the cannon? So, so, very humane…

As for timelessness, Zola is said by Wikipedia to have hated the changes, and this wasn’t a hugely unusual opinion.


chris y 10.18.07 at 8:01 am

You can’t really tell from the postage stamp picture Splintered provides whether the thing is actually any good or not. It might very well be. Plenty of modern architecture is in fact awe inspiring and beautiful in a skiffy sort of way (although plenty more is ugly, derivative rubbish made of inferior materials and guaranteed to make the people who use it ill).

I’m not agin modernism. I’m agin putting that thing there, where it’s clearly disproportionate and contextually incongruous. If Foster was as good as they claim he is he would take account of the built environment in which he proposes to place his stuff. That he doesn’t appear to do so suggests that he is more interested in drawings than buildings (and not an arrogant solipsist who doesn’t care whether his designs are actually useful at all, oh no.)


Kevin Donoghue 10.18.07 at 8:22 am

I’m agin putting that thing there, where it’s clearly disproportionate and contextually incongruous. If Foster was as good as they claim he is he would take account of the built environment in which he proposes to place his stuff.

In this instance the built environment includes the Point Depot, Alexandra Basin (where ugly great container ships dock), the East Link toll bridge and Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium; a little further out there are the two tall chimneys of the power station, painted in bright red and white stripes to scare the airliners. Eyesores all.

Seriously folks, what do you expect Foster to put there, a Palladian villa?


astrongmaybe 10.18.07 at 1:28 pm

26 – neither a Palladian villa nor a vast, look-at-me, over-lit tower is appropriate for the kind of urban environment currently surrounding the site. Just because you find a number of the neighboring buildings ugly doesn’t give star architects and the Ozymandian rich (Mr. Hewson) license to treat the surrounding area as a blank canvas.


astrongmaybe 10.18.07 at 1:39 pm

a propos:

Caltrava’s ludicrous James Joyce bridge
should be a warning of the results of cutting-and-pasting the lesser projects of internationally-celebrated architects into the Dublin cityscape. The bridge might have looked OK elsewhere, but at this point on the river it makes no sense at all. It is meant chiefly as a signifier of “Caltrava,” a brand associated with notions “modernity” and “progress” which the clients want for the city and think they can buy off the shelf.

I’m not arguing against development, modernism or new materials, only for their intelligent application. In other words, (26) “folks” taking architecture and urban planning “seriously.”


Kevin Donoghue 10.18.07 at 2:10 pm

…neither a Palladian villa nor a vast, look-at-me, over-lit tower is appropriate for the kind of urban environment currently surrounding the site.

Okay, so you can tell me what is not appropriate for the site. What is appropriate?


astrongmaybe 10.18.07 at 3:00 pm

Eh, give me a couple of million euros of a development budget and a team of architects and I’m sure I can come up with something.

If that’s not forthcoming, the best I can do is point you in the direction of some more intelligent redevelopment of former industrial areas. Hamburg is a good place to start.


novakant 10.18.07 at 3:13 pm

Haussmann? That built Paris so the mob could be kept down by the cannon? So, so, very humane…

That was part of it, but you’re ignoring the huge improvements in the quality of life for most inhabitants that the transformation of Paris brought, e.g. sanitation and transport.

Anyway, my argument about the humane quality of this type of architecture was more aesthetic than sociological, and whatever Zola might have thought at the time, I think there’s a reason why Paris is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities, if not the most beautiful, by a large majority of people.

What is appropriate?

The area is indeed awful, but building a swanky scyscraper won’t solve that problem. If you want to regenerate such an area you have to modernize the existing buildings that are worth it and integrate modern buildings in between, all within the restrictions of an overarching aesthetic. Then you have to attract the right people and businesses to buy or rent flats, shops and offices.

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