Amman’s Ivory Towers

An interesting poll hosted on Al-Ghad posed the question: do you support the construction of skyscrapers in Amman?

When I was in Jordan last summer and spent many mornings rifling through the newspaper only to discover an advertisement for the latest skyscraper to be built, I have to be honest, it kind of got me excited; it had a wow-factor to it. I guess because in some subconscious manner, possibly due to social conditioning, I automatically equated tall buildings with modernism and economic prosperity. Of course that’s not the case but you have to admit, standing at street level in some mega-metropolitan city like New York, Toronto or Chicago, and staring up at tall glass buildings, one is overcome with a sense of awe.

It’s funny what architecture can do, the impression it can give. And I know very little about the subject; I’m just an admirer.

But here’s the thing: I actually don’t want to see Amman turned into another trophy shelf of high rise glass buildings, one indistinguishable from the other. They serve no purpose to me other than blocking the view. The hills of Amman are already high enough for me. If anything I actually like the happenstance direction the city was going in with landmark buildings like the Housing Bank or Le Royal. Even the Hyatt Hotel looks pretty cool. And yes the Jordan Gates seem to be very futuristic looking but I think they, like any other tall glass building, will end up sticking out like a sore thumb amidst the more unique buildings.

The whole Abdali project is intended to flip the city upside down design wise. Again I’m not an architect and I know nothing of it, but the designs I’ve seen are such a contrast to what exists and what I would like to see exist.

Amman is a big small city. It’s the kind of city that’s technically big but has that small feeling to it; that cozy-humble feeling. I don’t want to see 8 lane super-highways or 60 story buildings that touch the clouds.

Your Two Piasters: