VirtualTourist.com (www.virtualtourist.com ) has announced its 2nd Annual List of the “World’s Top 10 Ugly Buildings,” as decided by its members and editors.
The United States wins with the ugliest building in the world (Morris A. Mechanic Theater; Baltimore, Maryland), and as the only country to be represented twice (Markel Building; Richmond, Virginia). Canada, specifically Toronto, scores a respectable eighth place finish with the relatively new Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition to the Royal Ontario Museum.
VirtualTourist.com general manager, Giampiero Ambrosi describes the criteria that determine the list: “Many of these buildings don’t have the warmth of an ice cube while others don’t even seem completed. Either way, they make for very interesting conversation.”
The complete list follows. It can be found here.
1. Morris A. Mechanic Theater, Baltimore, Md. Looking at the grim, impersonal facade of this once-thriving theatre, it's hard to believe its stage once hosted the likes of Katherine Hepburn and George C. Scott. Although it would be ugly without them, the windows boarded up with wood certainly don't help matters. Its doors now closed, many locals feel the final curtain should have come down on this building long ago.
Zizkov TV Tower; Prague, Czech Republic: While its ugliness could easily stand on its own, the installation of small, climbing babies by the artist David Cerny transformed this tower from an eyesore to a head-shaker.
2. Zizkov Television Tower, Prague. While its ugliness could easily stand on its own, the installation of small, climbing babies by the artist David Cerny transformed this tower from an eyesore to a head-shaker.
3. “The Beehive”, Wellington, New Zealand. A slide projector that fell on a wedding cake that fell on a waterwheel is one description of the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings, also known as “The Beehive”. Its proximity to the neighbouring Edwardian neo-classical Parliament House only accentuates its unattractiveness.
4. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. When looking at the primary colour-coded ducts constructed on the outside of this modern art museum, one quickly sees why these elements are usually hidden.
5. Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia. Billed as “Melbourne's Meeting Place”, this frenzied and overly complicated square has a chaotic feel made worse by a web of unsightly wires from which overhead lights dangle.
6. Petrobras Headquarters, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A cross between a penitentiary and an unfinished Lego creation is one member's description of this dreary, block-like structure which occupies a prominent place in the city's downtown area. To make matters worse, exterior slats give the illusion that the building is actually falling apart.
7. Markel Building, Richmond, Va. Although it sounds like urban legend, this futuristic building was inspired by a baked potato served to the architect during a dinner for the American Institute of Architects.
Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum
8. Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. What I.M. Pei's pyramid is to the Louvre, so is the relatively new Michael Lee-Chin Crystal to the Royal Ontario Museum. While many praise the glass structure, just as many are troubled by the incongruity to the original, more traditional museum that still sits directly beside it.
9. National Library, Pristina, Kosovo. It's hard to know whether the honeycomb-pattern mesh that coats the outside of this library enhances or worsens this bizarre structure. It's been said that when the building first opened, some thought the giant net-like feature was actually scaffolding.
10. Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea. Riddled with issues that range from lack of money to poor construction to rumoured collapse, this still unfinished building has been under some form of construction for over 20 years.