Wednesday, July 5, 2017

More ugly buildings from around the world . . .


Royal National Theatre, London:

Opened in 1976 in the ugly concrete style known as “Brutalism”, the building has been the subject of criticism from both the public and professionals, including architects. Prince Charles described it in 1988 as "a clever way of building a nuclear power station in the middle of London without anyone objecting". Later opinion has been less harsh and the building has now appeared simultaneously in the top ten "most popular" and "most hated" London buildings in opinion surveys. 

Pixel Building, Melbourne:

Constructed in 2012, the Pixel Building in Melbourne is Australia’ first carbon-neutral office building. The Green Building Council of Australia. Gave it a perfect score of 100 points under the Green Star rating system for building design, plus an extra 5 points for innovation, equating to world leadership. The colourful panels surrounding the façade are made of recycled material and are used to provide maximised daylight, shade, views and glare control. But it’s still ugly.

Russian Embassy, Havana, Cuba: 

The Embassy of Russia in Havana, Cuba, finished in 1987, is of a style known as “constructivist”.

According to Wikipedia, constructivist architecture was a form of modern architecture that flourished in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s. It combined advanced technology and engineering with an avowedly Communist social purpose before declining from 1932. 

By way of another example of the constructivist style, here is the Narkomfin Building, a block of 25 flats in the centre of Moscow. 

Currently under threat of demolition, the building is at the top of UNESCO's 'Endangered Buildings' list, and there is an international campaign to save it.

Go figure.

National Library, Kosovo:

Officially opened to the public in 1982, the National Library of Kosovo has created controversy since that date. According to the architect, the façade, covered in metallic fishnet, is meant to represent a style blending Byzantine and Islamic architectural forms. It has been speculated that the domes of the building resemble and symbolise the national Albanian hat “plisi”, thereby pissing off the Serbian politicians. A NIMBY building.


Epi Apartments, Seattle, US:

The Epi Apartments in Seattle take ugly to new heights, those heights being covered by weird bits of metal for aesthetic reasons.

The Tours Aillaud , Nanterre, France:

Built in 1977, the Tours Aillaud is a group of residential buildings located in Nanterre, in the inner suburbs of Paris, France. The housing project represents 18 towers of differing heights, with 1,607 apartments. The towers are all in the shape of cylinders with cladding made of frescos representing clouds in the sky.

Oz art critic Robert Hughes, in a 1980 BBC documentary, referred to the buildings as “social scar tissue, gimmicky, condescending alphaville modernism.”

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