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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 4:27 PM
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The World's Ugliest Buildings - Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure
The World's Ugliest Buildings
October 2009
By Bunny Wong

1

The Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea

With its concrete sides sloping at sharp 75-degree angles, this stark 1,083-foot-tall, not-quite-finished hotel looks threatening and out of place on the Pyongyang skyline. Its history is odd, too: the country ran out of money for the project in the early 1990s, and it was airbrushed from photos at the time. After a 16-year hiatus, construction began anew last year—that squiggle at the pinnacle is not an ornament, but a crane.

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2

Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) Building, London

It’d be easy for James Bond to hide on that roof: he’d have his pick of hulking concrete slabs, characterless green glass, and jagged rotundas behind which to suavely crouch. (In fact, the ‘80s-wedding-cake-meets-fortress does appear briefly in a few 007 films.).....

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3

Harold Washington Library, Chicago

If buildings came with footnotes, this one, named for a beloved former mayor who deserved better, would have pages worth of citations. Neoclassical references collide with a glass-and-steel Mannerist roof; throw in some red brick, granite, and aluminum—and a bad sense of scale—and you’ve got way too much architecture class for one day.....

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4

The Obelisk, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

In an area that looks straight out of Romancing the Stone—a dusty Peruvian town in the Amazon jungle—Incan ruins might make sense, but not this lumpy lookout, which features a mismatched trio of elements: curved base, futuristic middle, Middle Ages top. “Notice the sculptural elements at the base, crawling up the tower like a fungus,” says Roel Krabbendam, director of design at ABA Architects in Tucson, AZ, who used to live in the town.....

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5

Longaberger Home Office, Newark, OH

If you worked here, you’d be conducting business in a 9,000-ton copy of a woven-wood basket. Its stucco-over-steel construction was an award-winning feat, apparently; the synthetic plaster received a prize. But it’s as if, in 1997, a giant-size Little Red Riding Hood set down her seven-story hamper on a flat section of Ohio.....

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6

The Portland Building, Portland, OR

Let’s break out the government-building checklist. Small, boring windows? Check. Humdrum off-white masonry? Yes. Terracotta pilasters and shiny blue glass? That, too. The first three levels of the squat, 15-story municipal-services structure are covered in dark green tiles, adding to the bewildering gaudy-meets-tedious tone.

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7

The Fang Yuan Building, Shenyang, China

This 25-floor office building, finished in 2001 in the northeastern capital of Liaoning Province, is a weird mishmash of ideas. One is a reference to old Chinese coins, which have square cutouts—just like the structure’s square center. Other parts of the design are like a garden-variety corporate building, with a concrete base and, on the sides, steel rims with glass grooves.....

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8

Bolwoningen Houses, Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

If Lewis Carroll’s Alice wandered into a 1960s sci-fi flick, she might have come across something like these bulbous houses. The residents live inside bizarre-looking bubbles (small ones, at 18 feet across) with UFO-like windows.....

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9

National Library, Minsk, Belarus

You can’t really hate this glass-paneled, 23-story rhombicuboctahedron (a solid with 8 triangles and 18 squares), complete with color-changing LEDs to make it sparkle at night. After all, it’s difficult to begrudge a library with such mojo. But the designers should have stopped there. Instead, what’s referred to as “the diamond” sits atop a geometry equation gone wrong—tiered circles, huge triangles, winglike flaps.....

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10

“The UFO House,” Sanjhih, Taiwan

If visitors had ever arrived at this resort on Taiwan’s north coast, they would have slept in an uncomfortable-looking, spaceship-like pod. As it happens, nothing ever got off the ground at this twice-abandoned project from the 1970s.....

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11
The Ideal Palace, Hauterives, France


Cinderella’s dream digs it’s not, but Le Palais Idéal does bring to mind a fairy tale—the kind one might have visions of after dropping acid. Gargoyles peer out at grottoes with Hindu temples, and tiny mosque-motifs adorn squiggly stone pillars.....

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12
Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool, England


Cathedrals like this one, officially named Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, should conjure up thoughts of heavenly repose. But here, congregants look up and imagine getting impaled on those unfriendly spires—that, or they plan their next camping trip, inspired by buttresses that recall a fancy beige tent.....

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13
The Experience Music Project, Seattle

Sure, a building dedicated to rock music shouldn’t be too conservative. The problem? In not looking like anything in particular, it appears anchored in nothing. Of course, people have tried to describe it, and have come up with everything from “a multicolored blob” to “open-heart surgery.”.....

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Read complete article at: http://www.travelandleisure.com/arti...t-buildings/1/

Last edited by wrab; Oct 17, 2009 at 1:23 PM.
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 4:32 PM
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Okay, maybe the Ryugyang Hotel belongs on the list. But most of these buildings are not so very bad. A few are genuinely interesting.
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 4:37 PM
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I think the giant basket is kind of cool.

I like the EMP but get the criticism. Locally folks refer to it as "the wreck of the Partridge Family bus" or the ever popular "it looks like the Space Needle took a dump."
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 4:38 PM
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i don't actually dislike any of these buildings. in fact the bubble houses and the UFO house are actually pretty fucking cool!

and sticking up for the hometown here, i'd hardly consider the harold washington library to be one of the ugliest buildings in chicago, let alone the world. sure, it's a silly or whimsical building depending on how purely you adhere to the tenants of modernism, but i find its ridiculously over-scaled nature to be appropriate in the city of big shoulders. the building is so often criticized for being "out of scale", but what the hell is actually in scale in downtown chicago? this is the very birthplace of the skyscraper we're talking about here, "scale" was kicked squarely in the nuts by the architects and engineers of chicago well over a century ago.

i will agree with any critic that the interiors of HWL are underwhelming and poorly laid out, but if we're talking about the building's curbside appeal from the street, i just don't understand how this is allegedly the 3rd ugliest building in the world. we've got shit-loads of buildings in chicago that are uglier than HWL.



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Last edited by Steely Dan; Oct 15, 2009 at 5:42 PM.
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 4:43 PM
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^ I would be very happy to live in the UFO House.

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As for Harold Washington, Blair Kamin notes that it was also named one of "America's Favorite Buildings" in the 2007 AIA poll. Oh, the irony!
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 4:53 PM
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A lot of those buildings are quirky but I wouldn't call them ugly. The truly ugly ones are so common in many cities that they don't get any attention.
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 6:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrabbit View Post
Okay, maybe the Ryugyang Hotel belongs on the list. But most of these buildings are not so very bad. A few are genuinely interesting.
I agree, wrabbit. For instance, I think the huge basket is cool, and I see nothing wrong with the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, the Fang Yuan building, the SIS building, or several others.

In fact, I think the library in Chicago is an amazing piece of architecture!

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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 6:11 PM
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All buildings above are lovely ones, far of being ugly, in opposite they are unique interesting and the Hotel in Korea is one of best designs i ever seen recently. Being different does not seems equally being ugly. They are all odd too representative.

This one below is a ugly one then, which has thousand all around over the world:
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 6:23 PM
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Yeah, you couldn't do a list of genuinely ugly buildings. It would just be depressing:

my pic

I think the Ryugyong Hotel is a genuine candidate, though, because it is so oppressive and such an obscene waste of money.
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 6:47 PM
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where oh where is the elephant building?
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 7:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
where oh where is the elephant building?
Hahahahaha, I can't agree more! That beast is a true eyesore, somehow managing to be both unique and boring...

Also, the Fang Yuan building is great! We need more coin architecture. I also agree that the real ugly is that which we fill our cities with:


Some spanish blog
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2009, 8:01 PM
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The only building I sincerely dislike among these is that library in Chicago-- it really makes my stomach want to turn inside out. Apart from that picnic basket, or whatever that is-- seems like joke.
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 4:24 AM
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That basket IS terrible. Its suburban which is terrible enough...and it makes a mockery of the built environment. Buildings are not supposed to be STARS, especially office buildings...but that building has this terrible HEY LOOK GUYS I'M A BASKET (case).
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 4:30 AM
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While the hotel in North Korea is not a pretty building, it seems there's more of a political motivation for the Ryugyong to get #1 on the list. Almost a cop-out..
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 8:08 AM
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I'd say the Harold Washington Library is a good attempt of a modern interpretation of classical and Beaux-Arts-styled building. And I find it a fascinating building, but I also agree with the author when he/she (what gender is the name Bunny?) says that the building is out of scale with its surroundings. The gigantic roof has all the subtlety and understated grace of a pimped-out Hummer H2. Plus, it doesn't quite jive with the rest of the building, which I have far less problems with - it can stand to be a bit more interesting.

Overall, the building just looks top-heavy and awkward to me, rather than imposing yet graceful.
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 8:27 AM
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Only 4, 5, and 7 are ugly IMO. I love 8, 10, and 12.
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 11:23 AM
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1- The Basket is really good as a headquarters of a supermarket or fruit company building, which has everything in relation to the business they are. So in this terms is wonderful design.

2- The library is really impressive how blocked bricked it is with a immense beautiful beaux-arts huge ornaments on its top, everything good for a massive good library building design.

3- The Hotel design, seems rocketry, going up, militarismus in the same time of clean glassy tower design, icon star of their times. So it is in this interpretation a wonderful design also.

I can live good with all them and think everyone is representative in its place, not obstructing anyone. I'd like we have more buildings like that, instead the same everytime repetition of glassy boxes or 60' modern times Bauhaus cheap concretes.
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 12:10 PM
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The basket building is the headquarters for the Longaberger Company - they're not a supermarket chain, they MANUFACTURE BASKETS!

http://www.longaberger.com/ourCompany.aspx

Whatever the case, I think it's one goofy-@ssed building.
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 9:37 PM
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Of the two British ones on the list, Liverpudlians seem to really like the Cathedral (see these reviews), and from some pictures, you can see why.


Chowells, Wiki,

The SIS Building, on the other hand, is supposed to be pretty grim inside - all corridors and sickly green light from the glass. But if you want a really ugly example of the style, you just need to look next door.


Wojsyl, Wiki
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Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 12:52 AM
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^Man, that's just too much repetition for one building.
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