We recently covered the Cobra Tower. Well, "cover" might be a stretch. We featured about a dozen images of the crazy and bizarre high-rise shaped like a cobra rising straight up from the coiled base of its tail. Photoshopped into various prominent Asian coastal cities, the creation of designer Vasily Klyukin would be "symbol of wisdom and eternal life, this tower would embellish any Eastern city." Uh, sure ...

Over at CityLab, Kriston Capps (a former ARCHITECT colleague) dove in head first, under the surface that we were happy to stop at. "Klyukin," Capps discovers, "is a Russian-born Tony Stark, a billionaire banker and real-estate mogul turned science-fiction novelist turned self-styled starchitect. He lives in Monaco. (Of course he lives in Monaco.) He has never built anything, barring his own personal empire." but that doesn't stop Klyukin from coming up with various designs that no one will ever build: a scooner-shaped spa, a leg lamp-esque tower for the New York waterfront, hugging towers that overlook Lord Foster's Gherkin, and so, so much more.

The designs are ludicrous. They're unbuildable. They're oh so tacky. Which is fine, says Capps: "But there’s a serious point here, too. Klyukin’s ideas didn’t come from a vacuum. He’s pushing the next step in a trend of spectacles promoted by major museum commissions and open-design competitions, allegedly honest arbiters of material culture and the built environment. Klyukin is simply willing to take spectacle further. So much further."

The work is a funhouse-mirror reflection of some of architecture's most vain pursuits, and maybe one we should think about.

Read Kriston Capps' full story at CityLab.

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