If you don’t find the phrases “property developer” and “tasteless buffoon with powerful connections” completely incompatible, you might enjoy mab’s series on Moscow’s unfettered construction frenzy.  They’re called “Photos To Make You Puke “.

This ugly grey box might be located anywhere:

and look at this, across the street:

For some reason the developer wasn’t able to destroy the pink building, so they’ve just built around it.  The architect created a groovy bricolage of old and new, and thoughtfully tied it all together with grid-lines in brown brick; perhaps as a metaphor, or simply as a reminder of brown shiny unbreakable plastic parcel-tape.

Addendum by Mab:

And this is just one outrage of many. Sometimes protected buildings disappeared from the list and were torn down in the night. What I call pan-European glass office buildings went up in their place. In two cases they tore down the old buildings and “rebuilt them” according to the old plans with modern materials. Everyone thinks this was just a way to steal more money. In other cases they’ve done this kind of thing — smashing a new building on top of and around and old one. Or they leave the first and second floor walls and build up, adding “modern” glass turrets that are supposed to look “olde.”

What kills me is that they’ve destroyed what was Moscow’s “selling point.” After the Stalinist-era changes and a few under Khrushchev, the center of the city wasn’t touched. Walking down little streets was like an architectural tour of the ages: a little classical city manor house, a 19th century style moderne apartment house, a turn of the century old Russian revival mansion… lots of little squares and pocket parks, trees and bushes and flowers. And they’ve destroyed that to make it look like any European city.

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