Simanaitis Says

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SATIRE IS THE DIURETIC of the body politic, someone once said (and I’ve oft repeated). To see stunning examples of this, look no further than the works of New World Projects Ltd., a group of Chicago architects whose slogan is “Rational Design Against Political Insanity.”

The Chicago River Folly. Their website Flying Pigs on Parade earned its name in 2016 when the group proposed installation of four inflated golden swine to “block the obnoxiously large Trump Tower sign along the Chicago River.” Or so it was described by Blair Kamin in the Chicago Tribune, January 14, 2019.

The Chicago River Folly, an artist’s rendering. This and the following images from the Flying Pigs on Parade website.

“The inflatables,” explains New World Projects, “were to block the contentious TRUMP sign at Mr. Trump’s Chicago tower, providing visual relief to the citizens of Chicago. The project, intended for deployment in 2017/2018, was ultimately rejected by waterway management officials.”

On the other hand, the proposal earned New World Projects a 2017 Gold Medal Award from the Association of Licensed Architects.

The Wall, Sort Of. Moving from strength to strength, New World Projects recently proposed a “U.S.-Mexico Border Wall: A Study in Absurdity.” What’s more, it has a GoFundMe campaign “for a prototype of our ‘wall’ to be erected around the Mar-a-Lago compound, the de facto southern presidential residence.”

The New World Projects picket fence envisioned around Mar-a-Lago. You might recognize the guy with the putter in the background. But the young woman doesn’t look like Melania.

“We propose this,” planners say, “as a means to keep the ‘bad guys’ in. This as an alternative to the irrational and inhumane border wall that will harm many in need, further divide America, and waste tax payer money.”

New World Projects seeded the GoFundMe effort with a $500 contribution; this morning, the fund is at $968. The goal is $570 million, one-tenth of the $5.7 billion Trump claimed as ransom for those affected by the government shutdown.

“Should we not be able to build our wall around Mar-a-Lago (highly likely),” the architects admit, “all funds will go to where they are actually needed… CHARITY—in this case the International Refugee Assistance Program.”

On January 8, 2019, de zeen reported the “Cost of Trump’s US-Mexico Border Wall Soars to $33 Billion,” and that “a petition has been launched to designate the eight construction prototypes as a national monument.”

As Anna Russell used to say, “You know, I’m not making this up.”

Indeed, the authoritative Architectural Digest, January 24, 2019, described Trump’s Mar-a-Lago wall as a “30-foot-tall picket fence, making a statement about the separation of wealthy suburbanites from the consequences of the political decisions they often support. It’ll be painted in a garish shade of gold, a longtime hallmark of the Trump aesthetic.”

A Gold Picket Fence Across the Southwest. New World Projects says that a giant picket fence would recall an age when “America was great.”

The U.S. side, all gold and shiny.

The pickets would be “lethally electrified on the Mexican side to keep out the droves of bad hombres (rapists, drug dealers, terrorists, murderers & immigrants and their children).”

The Mexican crime-scene side. Warning signs are posted, albeit only in English.

Source of the necessary electricity? From “six new coal-fired power plants built along the border, further supporting America’s fossil fuel future.”

One of six new coal-fired power plants on the U.S. side.

Tim Nelson summed matters up in Architectural Digest: “Will this incisive architectural proposal convince Trump to scrap his plans for the wall entirely? The chances are not looking good. But at a moment when all of politics feels like a farce, we could probably do with some architecture that imitates life.” ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019


  1. Michael Rubin
    February 3, 2019

    I recall Molly Ivins saying, “You can’t make this stuff up,” or words to that effect. Miss her all the time. She’s be having a field day (there’s an old saying) with the current cast of characters.

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