Straight from a comic book

December 10th, 2013, 3pm

It was 1°C with few clouds. The breeze was gentle.

There’s something distinctive about the Parkview Square building.

It’s fairly tall, first of all — weighing in at 24 stories high, it dwarfs many of the other buildings in the vicinity.

But the height and location — just a short walk from Little India, where the structures seem to hug the ground, bowing humbly to avoid notice — are not what jumps out at you about this monolith.

The first thing I noticed is that it looks like something pulled from a comic book. A building that would host the Daily Planet in a city named Metropolis. Or if allowed to age and crumble a bit, one of the buildings in Bruce Wayne’s Gotham City. It wears slap-across-the-face earmarks of the Art Deco movement, and these stylistic choices stand out even more today because many of them have been appropriated by the ‘steampunk’ movement, and, yes, comic books aiming to add some traditional, ‘Golden Age’y texture to their pages.

It’s interesting how things that are so referential can succeed so wildly as a reference to something other than what was intended.

The Parkview Square building was built by a Taiwanese tycoon (Mr. C. S. Hwang) as a reference to the Chanin Building in New York. I don’t personally see the resemblance (other than the hefty, intimidating presence), but what does jump out are the statues and metalwork; the comfortable curves and matte, outlined look. All details that were meant to add an air of grandeur, but which instead creates (what I imagine must be) an accidental oeuvre to the dramatic, olympian ideals of the mythological.

Paul, Lia, So-Shan, David Wade and 1 more said thanks.

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Colin Wright

Author, entrepreneur, and full-time traveler / I move to a new country every four months based on the votes of my readers / My work ( / My blog ( / My publishing company (

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