Growing up in England, then living in some of the coolest cities in the world, I have witnessed some of our planet’s greatest buildings — and some of its worst. Anyone living in a modern city will testify that there is a love-hate relationship with their architecture.
A recent post is giving Internet users a chance to unburden themselves. So here are nine of the ugliest buildings in the world.
1. Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong.
This place looks like something from a Shaun Tan graphic novel. The only way to describe the Walled City is a horror of dystopian, modern living. Set on the Chinese mainland side of Hong Kong, the Walled City is a mazy network of dilapidated, dingy, moldy apartments — a high-rise shanty town in one of the world’s wealthiest cities. It is the ugliest building in the world.
2. Panama Biomuseum, Panama City, Panama.
From a casual observer’s perspective, this building looks like a kid designed it. Designed by Frank Gehry, the Panama Biomuseum resembles an infant’s dropped Lego creation with its weird, primary-colored, misshaped metal roofing pieces.
3. Zizkov TV Tower, Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is renowned as one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval cities, but residents were stunned when plans went ahead for the Zizkov T.V. Tower between 1985 and 1992. The strange, brutalist design oozes Soviet occupation and cruelly juxtaposes the fairytale architecture beneath. If that isn’t enough, the tower is adorned with sculptures of faceless, crawling babies.
4. Evans Hall, UC Berkeley, California
How did the University of California at Berkeley mess up such a fine campus? Evans Hall houses the famous college’s math department but could just as easily be a location from the book 1984; such is the no-frills, gray concrete brutalist aesthetic.
5. Makkah Royal Clock Tower, Saudi Arabia
At a humble cost of $15,000,000,000 (yes, nine zeros), the Abraj Al-Bait is a megalithic residential and hotel complex that dominates the skies of the Saudi Arabian city. The Saudi government owns the building, which hosts thousands of visiting pilgrims during the Haj. Its giant 1,991 ft clock tower and square blocks make it look like something from early 20th century New York.
6. American Dream Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey
So far, U.S. taxpayers have had to shell out $1.9 billion for this incomplete urban eyesore, a sports and entertainment center with a mall attached. Also known as ‘Xanadu,’ an unknowing visitor might pass this edifice and wonder whether they have passed into East Rutherford’s industrial district. Xanadu’s shipping container yard chic, with its garishly turquoise and rusted colors, resembles an architect’s hangover.
7. Trelick Tower, London, England
During World War Two, thousands of bombs rained down on London, leaving behind the post-war dilemma of rebuilding much of the city. Furthermore, the cost was an issue with the nation bankrupt; therefore, the ‘brutalist’ movement was born. Trelick Tower embodies this grim, gray stone construction, designed by the aptly-named Ernő Goldfinger!
8. Swansea B.T. Tower, Wales
“The B.T. tower was built in the 70s and is a strong contender for the U.K.’s ugliest building,” claims a Swansea resident. The beautiful ruin of Swansea Castle, built in the 12th century, sat perfectly undisturbed until 1970 when the British Royal Mail erected the modernist eye-botherer. Now they stand together, like a supermodel and her obnoxious, wealthy boyfriend.
9. The Antilia, Mumbai, India
“The Antilia, the home of Mukesh Ambani in the city of Mumbai,” suggests the final poster. “I can’t think of an uglier home to live in.” Without knowledge of this high-rise modern palace in Mumbai, one might think it’s a lavish hotel, not a private residence. However, the glass-covered tower is 27 stories tall and has a 168-car garage, a cinema — even an indoor snow room. What makes this ugly, though? Maybe the fact it looms over some of the poorest slums in the world.
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