Monday, January 04, 2010

Big Stuff In Dubai

We're reliably informed that today is the official opening day for the Burj Dubai. For those of you who have been on special assignment, the Burj Dubai is without a doubt the tallest building in the world, and may or may not be the tallest structure ever built-it is without a doubt the tallest building in Dubai, anyway. Among big buildings, the Burj Dubai steals a march on its nearest competitor in Taiwan.

In a world where wretched excess and the next! biggest! thing! is commonplace, the Burj Dubai is without a doubt a big deal, and everything about it is so massive in scope as to leave our cities looking like Omaha by comparison. We can take some comfort in the fact that it was designed by the Chi-town architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill-which means that the architectural bragging rights, and more important the repository of technological excellence-are right here in the midwestern heartland. As we've said on other occasions, reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.

One may well wonder where all this is leading, or, as Fr. Martin used to opine, that the folks in Dubai have the outward and visible signs is undeniable-whether they have the inward and spiritual grace is undetermined. Framed against the general malaise in world economic affairs and a steep downturn in local development, the short term prospects are daunting, and it remains to be seen how long the Burj Dubai will own the bragging rights.

At any rate it's Dubai's day to shine and welcome to it they are.

The Tribune has an excellent retrospective. It is well worth your consideration, and I commend it to your kind attention.

Photo Chicago Tribune.


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