World’s ugliest buildings?

The Pilgrimage Church in Neviges, Germany

These were listed among the world’s ugliest buildings, aggregated from various rankings in Forbes, Virtual Tourist and Quite apart from blithely ignoring the complexity of the question “what is beautiful,” which philosophy has attempted to deal with for centuries and has only made more unanswerable, this list is pretty odd. Monstrosities in Thailand, Malaysia, the US, and the hideous Millennium Dome I understand. Even the Canadian Embassy in Washington, not one of my favourite Erickson buildings. But the Pilgrimage Church? More offending buildings at Vancouver Sun. PS I’m not a fan of the Experience Music project either; seems like Disney architecture. A selection from the list:

Van Gogh Museum; Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Two Columbus Circle, New York City

Canadian Embassy, Washington, D.C. (designed by Vancouver’s Arthur Erickson)


7 comments on "World’s ugliest buildings?"

  1. Two Columbus Circle is extremely ugly and already dated. It is basically a bad makeover of a glorious (but much maligned) Edward Durrell Stone building that was one of my favorite buildings in New York.

  2. There are some monstrosities that definitely belong on the list. Of the buildings that I have seen in person, I think Boston City Hall is probably the most oppressive and unpleasant to be around.

    On the other hand, the Chicago Public Library is on the list and I go out of my way to look at it when I’m in Chicago. I think it’s great just because it’s so over-the-top.

  3. By this measure the public dislikes brutalism, post-modernism, and all things playful or expressive … provided it’s contemporary. Didn’t they build ugly before 1960? Some of the Asian entries are jarring to my western eye, but many of the buildings on this list are very interesting and well executed.

  4. I like Boston City Hall, although it is a failure in its integration and scale, and many of the other entries on this list, Breuer’s Whitney I consider a masterpiece.
    I think the Chicago Public Library is repulsive and an example of why classicism has faded (A friend did the competition renderings for the winner and I had an argument with him about classicism at the time).
    I can’t say I care much what the public thinks, they buy hideous McMansions and drive ridiculous over-sized cars, most of mass current taste will be on the scrap heap of history. Loverboy, anyone?

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