Ugly Buildings from Around the World
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Ugly Buildings from Around the World

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Like beauty, ugliness is in the eye of the beholder, but I think most of you will agree that all of these buildings featured in this article are more than eligible to be classified as ugly.

We are all familiar with the stark impressionism of the 1960's, and when I started this article I thought that most of the buildings featured would come from that era.

However, it would appear not, as many of them are modern designs, some even award winning, so it just goes to show that there is no accounting for taste in any era.

With all the architectural masterpieces around the world as a template and the age of technology at the fingertips of all these designers and architects, one would think that they could come up with something a little better than these.

I'm sure there are those of you reading this that could come up with a few ideas of your own, but here are my choices, complete with relevant script.

                                                            

  

         BOLWONINGEN,  THE NETHERLANDS. 

In the late 1970's architects in Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands, were given free reign to build 50 futuristic houses known as bolwoningen - roundhouses -, with a view to building more if the idea took off.

Fortunately for the small European nation, these ugly little monsters, that resemble a ball cock from inside a toilet cistern, failed to get local support, leaving any plans for more of their ilk readilly available to be hidden in the nearest toilet cistern.

 

                                                             

        BOSTON CITY HALL, BOSTON, MASS, USA.

Well there had to be at least one monstrosity from the 1960's and here it is in all it's architectural ugliness.

Built in 1969 in the beautiful and historic city of Boston, Massachusettes, U.S.A, there really is no excuse for an eyesore like this one in such a fine city.

Apparantly designed by 3 Colombia University professors, professors of what my research did not divulge, but I'm betting it wasn't architecture !.

It reminds me somewhat of the many half built buildings I used to see in Turkey, left unfinished because the inflation rate of the Turkish Lire fluctuated on a daily basis, leaving many building projects abandoned due to funds running out, 

I wonder what Boston's excuse is?

    

               EIFFEL TOWER, PARIS, FRANCE.  

    eiffel-tower-the-worlds-most-visited-landmark 

France's most iconic landmark and the world's most viewed landmark, the Eiffel Tower situated in the romance capital of the world, has been considered an eyesore since it's conception in 1889.

It is said that at the time that Gustav Eiffel, the tower's designer, first began the construction of the tower, he received death threats, so enraged were the fine folk of Paris with his eyesore.

However, it would seem that Paris is going for the title of ugly buildings capital of the world with the building of other monstrosities such as the  Charles de Gaulle airport and the Georges Pompidou Centre, of which, due to copyright laws, I am unable to show you on here. 

You people have no idea how lucky you are. 

    

  FEDERATION SQUARE, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA.

Unfortunately this entire square built in 2002 in Australia's second city of Melbourne is a complete eyesore, but I chose to show you just one aspect of it.

There's only so much a person can take.

This here is the SBS ( special broadcasting service) Building, set amongst the hanging wires of the squares lighting system, looking like leftovers from last years Christmas lights. 

Designed by local architects Don Bates and Peter Davison they certainly gave it a face only a mother could love.

  

       

 FIRST WORLD HOTEL, GENTING HIGHLAND, MALAYSIA. 

Upon it's completion in 2006 the 6,000 room First World Hotel was the largest hotel in the world.

Situated in Malaysia's  large resort of Genting Highland, Pahang the building is more evident of a 1960's Secondary Modern School in which the kids have been let loose with a paintball machine.

Known locally as the City of Entertainment, I can understand why, I certainly got a laugh out of it.

And just when you thought things could'nt get any worse, I'm afraid that I have to inform you, that this ugliest of uglies, is one of a pair ! 

  

  LANDMARK THEATRE, ILFRACOMBE, DEVON, UK.

Set amongst the picturesque fishermens cottages in the coastal town of Ilfracombe, Devon, one is rendered speechless by the sight of the Landmark Theatre built in the primest of locations on Ilfracombe's seafront.

More reminiscent of a couple of old gas towers than a theatre, my first impression of this was to ask my companion, when will they be pulling these down then?

Apparantly there are no plans for it's demolition as yet, maybe I could go for a crime against the landscape charge instead.

However, the building does have one point in it's favour, the lady at Ilfracombe Tourist Information Centre, which is situated inside the monstrosity, was very helpful, friendly and cheerful, but then again she would be, working inside of it does have it's advantages, she was the only one of us that didn't have to look at it. 

   

  LLOYDS OF LONDON BUILDING, LONDON, UK.

Set amongst the iconic landmarks of the U.K's capital of London, this building which is the headquarters of one of Great Britain's most famous maritime insurers, has to be London's biggest blot on the landscape.

Standing over three hundred feet high like some distorted relic from a science fiction movie, it's exterior was considered a crime against architecture whilst being built between 1978 and 1986, with it's interior even worse.

It is completely open plan inside, with the workings of everything from it's escalators to it's air ducts on show for all the world to see, - thankfully this theme was not extended to employees toilets - not to mention it's nausea inducing glass lifts, running up and down it's exterior walls. 

They say people can aquire an illness called ' sick building syndrome ' if they work in an unfavourable environment, makes you wonder how many of Lloyds employees are sick of this building.  

Another major ugly feature, are the blue cranes still left positioned on the building's roof, in readiness for any extension plans that Llloyds may find they have to implement, leading to many people thinking that maybe it will be alright when it's finished. 

  

  

 NATIONAL LIBRARY, MINSK, BELARUS. 

Set in the once Russian city of Minsk, which is now the capital city of the newly formed ( 1991) country of Belarus, town planners have decided to go against all that is good in Russian architecture and erect this awful ediface in the name of modern architecture.

Completed in 2006, the library which holds thousands of literary treasures from this proud nation's history and heritage, has you thinking just what  was going on inside the heads of designers Mihail Vinogradov and Viktor Kramarenko, when they thought this one up. 

Makes you wonder if they had a bit of a falling out about which design to use and ended up both going ahead with their own ideas. 

  

 PILGRIMAGE CHURCH, NEVIGES, GERMANY.

You know, it's strange that the word GRIM, can be made from the word pilgrimage, as this is the exact word that springs to mind when you first witness this most unholy of holy buildings.

And as if the church it's self is not ugly enough, you want to take a look at the two rows of accommodation at the side of it, built for the many pilgrims that come visiting.

Funny how it's in Germany too, as Nazi concentration camp was another word that sprang to mind.

But hey, what do I know ? Architectural philistine that I am.

Built between 1968 and 1973 this building made designer Gottfried Bohm a household name and the eyesore was considered his most important work, makes you wonder what the rest of his stuff looks like. 

                                                                

THE ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM, ONTARIO, CANADA. 

Built in 2007 this recent addition to the Ontario Museum, is probably more weird and wacky than ugly, but on second thoughts I may be right.

Built by way of a  $30 million donation by Canada's richest man, the Honourable Michael Lee - Chin, it is the work of Polish born architect Daniel Libeskind.

You'd think with that amount of money, Libeskind could have at least got it the right way up.

                                                            SOME MORE ARTICLES FEATURING STRANGE BUILDINGS.

                                                                     weird-and-wonderful-hotels-around-the-world 

                                                                     unique-churches-that-dont-resemble-churches 

                                                                     follies-of-england 

                                                            © D.B.Bellamy.September 2010.

All images courtesy of wikimedia commons with special thanks to Giancarlo Rossi, Diliff, Mb1000 and Triston Nitot.

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Comments (18)

Very interesting selection, DeeBee. I loved your discusssion. The Dutch houses and the Malaysian hotel are awful, but I've got to admit that I like some of these buildings. I think the Pompidou Centre and Lloyds of London are great buildings that expose their functional elements in a celebration of technology. I also think the Pilgrimage Church is magnificent - the best example of German Expressionist architecture I know of.

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Lived in Boston for a couple of years and yes the City Hall building is an eyesore that doesn't fit in with most of the rest of the city. Unfortunately that building represents a style that was popular I think in the 1960's and you see buildings like that around especially on some college campuses and they are all eyesores.

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@ Michael, funny you should mention The Lloyds building as a favourite of yours, it was watching a TV programme about it that made me write an ugliest building article. The designer was interviewed and I understood his reasons for doing what he did, but people have to work in there, it must be awful, the noise, the vast openess, not good for a working environment, but of course it was built to please Lloyds, not the people who worked there. I hated it, Prince Charles was right, it is a carbuncle.

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@ Joe, i must admit, having only seen one of these buildings for real, most of my article's comments came from pics only, so it's interesting to get peoples reactions from buildings they have actually seen. the only one I have seen is the Landmark Theatre, and beleive me that is one blott on the landscape. Set on the beautiful Devon coastline it is just so out of place.

Fantastic! All the revenue put into such ugliness. But you've completely left out my city. I might just write a local version of your article, despite my complete lack of design knowledge.

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Oh yes Ileen, go for it, I realise this article could have been the biggest article in the history of factoidz. After having been out in the car this AM I am considering an ugly church article, strewth there are some gruesome looking ones round my way!

Was it Climbing Great Buildings that you watched, DeeBee? I've been watching it, but I missed that episode. I quite like that Dr Jonathan Foyle - he knows how to convey knowledge even when he's hanging 200 feet in the air.

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@ Michael, yes it was, I became utterly addicted to it, a great series, Unfortunately it has finished now. I had never heard of Professor Foyle before I saw this series however.

He's the chief executive of the World Monuments Fund.

Dee, local churches would be interesting, but how about ugly homes? The possibilities are endless.

Ranked #1 in Local Reviews

@ Michael, ahh that would explain why he was so knowledgeable, not only about architecture but history too.

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@ Ileen, I did think about houses, but it will be hard getting pictures of private dwellings, even if I take them myself, the owners might think I.m up to no good!

I am very familiar with the ROM, -the Royal Ontario Museum. -It's not far from where I live. In fact, -I was just there last weekend. Most of those windows you see in the image facing outward are near the dino bones (you can tell where I spend most of my time!) ;-)

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That's interesting to know stick, i couldn't find out what was actually exhibited in the building when I did the research, thanks for that.

Nice read. Haven't really seen these buildings in person yet. Overall, I'd say the top of the list would be that colorful building. It just didn't seem right.

Some of those buildings made me dizzy to look at :)

Ranked #1 in Local Reviews

@ Ramz, I totally agree, it looks like it's made of lego. However after much deliberation folks, I have decided my worst one on here has to be the SBS building at Melbourne. The entire squre looks like an earthquake zone, it's horrible. I must admit though, I am rather warming to the church at Neviges, it's really rather cool I think, I may have to remove it from here !

Hilarious, these buildings are truly awful! I always thought the Eiffel Tower was ugly, and that pyramid thing in front of the Louvre, too.

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