Travel + Leisure
The World's Ugliest Buildings
By Bunny Wong
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.
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.).....
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.....
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.....
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.....
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.
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.....
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.....
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.....
“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.....
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.....
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.....
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.”.....
Read complete article at: http://www.travelandleisure.com/arti...t-buildings/1/