I think the spiral observation tower in Denmark is pretty cool - it is perhaps related in a general way to the Sculpure in New York. I like observation towers.
But the scariest one I’ve been to isn’t new, it’s old, and also in Denmark. The Church of Our Savior in Copenhagen has an external staircase you can climb to the steeple, and the guard rail gets lower and lower as you go up.
Holy forkin’ heck! That spire looks terrifying. The spiral, on the other hand, looks amazing.
I went to the top of the bell tower at San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The trip up was in a glass elevator, that afforded a worrying view of the crumbing stairs winding up the interior of the tower. At the top, I was enjoying an unobstructed view across the Grande Canal to the Doge’s Palace and Piazza San Marco, when the bells of San Giorgio Maggiore started ringing a few yards away from me. I almost had a freakin’ heart attack.
Unlike the Eiffel Tower, the Vessel is literally pointless - it has no geometric point. But more practically, Eiffel has an amazing view of Paris because it is taller than the surrounding buildings. Contrast that with the Vessel, which is walled in by close taller buildings and has only a view of a train yard and the Hoboken Planet Fitness.
I couldn’t bring myself to walk upright to the top as the guardrail got lower and lower and the steps narrower and narrower. I made it to the top, but crouched down - as kids ran up and down the staircase past me bewildered by the scared “old” person :-/ I’m still a bit stunned that kids are allowed up there, though…
I went to the top of the bell tower at San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. The trip up was in a glass elevator, that afforded a worrying view of the crumbing stairs winding up the interior of the tower.
I’m mildly acrophobic and claustrophobic, but I also love going up in old church towers . They very radically in how safe if feels going up them, though. The absolute safest feeling? Probably Frankfurt Cathedral - it’s totally caged in, but also a bit less fun for all of that. There is no way to fall out, not even if you tried. But many other towers feel positively sketchy - I have to keep reminding myself that the tower has stood hundreds of years and is very unlikely to collapse just in time for my short visit…
I went up in to the dome of St Paul’s in London. It was a real slog, as the steps are all about 3" high, and too long for my stumpy little legs to take two at a time. Getting to the top, I peered over the edge in to nave, and thought, where are all the people? Then I realized that those little specks moving around on the floor were people! There goes my vertigo
Eh, I think it’s a “why not both” question. I really hesitate to push back on “what is art” or “what is beautiful” because looking backwards those ideas have changed tremendously. Instead, why not grant permits for this sort of construction only after an equal contribution of the expected cost of the installation be put into community projects, for example?
This is the same argument I make whenever some billionaire spends .001% of their fortune on something ostentatious - “Great, don’t care what you do with that .001%. What are you going to do with the other 99.99%+ that will help humanity in a way that no one but you billionaires could?”
I mean if it were my unlimited money I’d build some giant Jackhammer Jill statue somewhere but make sure I’d spent at least that much on making the world a better place aside from giant statues of awesome pixel art.
Aside from that, though, the other truth is, there’s no reason in this modern age to not consider the implications of building tall, walkable structures without suicide protection. There is zero excuse for that, but “because it would sully the look of the structure” has to be the negative-zeroth reason, by far.
I think this falls under the patron philosophy of art though. Art is for the elites to create as a public service and it serves the purpose of educating and bettering the lower orders of humans. They’re meant to walk up this pointless staircase, meditate on the futility of their lives, and sometimes die in doing so. It’s all very spiritual and meaningful and they’re surely educated by it in a way that public housing or some other tangible good just could never achieve.
And I was speaking from my own perspective as both an artist and a lifelong student of art - I find that structure to be aesthetically displeasing to my eye… but even worse than that, is that it’s an impractical eyesore which serves no useful purpose, and it lacks the proper safety precautions.
There, I agree emphatically; that’s a brilliant idea.
The resources used to create and install that monument to hubris and mindless materialism could have done wonders for the surrounding community.