As any designer knows, there are some ideas that simply look better on paper than in actuality. For that reason, Building Design, a British architecture website, awards the Carbuncle Cup an honor bestowed upon the worst building of the year. This year, the site derided Lincoln Plaza, a 31-story luxury residential building in London. Now, we're taking a gander at the most off-putting buildings around. Look if you dare.
The 31-story luxury apartment that was bestowed the honor of the 2016 Carbuncle Cup is actually quite luxurious — it boasts a health club, private movie theater and four-story winter garden for its residents. Yet its jutting design irks architecture critics. "In its bilious cladding, chaotic form, adhesive balconies and frenzied facades, it exhibits the absolute worst in shambolic architectural design and cheap visual gimmickry," Ike Ijeh wrote in a BD editorial.
This Japanese university building has been likened to a Transformers character on more than one occasion. According to the university's website, the building consists of "essential architectural elements — posts, water tank, lightning rods and joints of various kinds ... It represents a new order, not achieved through simplistic control from above but through tolerance of chaos." Yeah, there's chaos, alright.
When the FBI headquarters were completed in 1974, the J. Edgar Hoover Building had cost $126 million to construct, which was then a record for the most expensive government building ever. The Independent reports that, years ago, the building would have even been considered stylish, reinforcing the idea that it housed a strong and confident government agency. Yet in 2006, the American Institute of Architects wrote that it was a "swaggering bully of the neighborhood ... Ungainly and ill-mannered." Sounds like the FBI took the AIA's lunch money.
What is it about government intelligence agencies that elicits bad design? The SIS (or M16 Building), the headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service, has consistently topped roundups of the world's "ugliest" buildings. Its design is very ... interesting.
According to Travel + Leisure, when this cathedral opened in 1967, mosaic tiles started falling off and the roof started leaking. Talk about a terrible first impression. Those spires don't exactly invite people in either.
You see those tiny sculptures that appear to be climbing up this 700-foot transmitter tower? They're babies. It's okay to be freaked out.
"Ask anyone to describe the Ascent in Covington and you'll hear, 'It's the building that sweeps,'" reads the copy in a Kentucky local television channel's YouTube video on the Daniel Libeskind-designed condo project. Yet other architects have criticized Libeskind, saying that the harsh sweep as unoriginal. (It also appears in several of his other designs, from the Centre de Congrès à Mons to the Royal Ontario Museum.)
Avant-garde architect Frank Gehry knows that the Experience Music Project, a rock music museum, isn't exactly pleasing to the eye: "I look at a lot of buildings and consider them ugly. Most of them, in fact," he told The Seattle Times in 1999. Well, that's one way to talk about your life's work.
Consisting of eight triangles and 18 squares, this 23-story glass-paneled library is a geometric nightmare. Did we mentioned it lights up in color-changing LED lights at night? Classy.