Pigtown Design: Ugly Buildings?

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October is Architecture Month, and we’re putting a panel discussion for it on ugly architecture. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s widely thought that Béton brut, or brutalist architecture is one of the less attractive styles. There’s a building here in Baltimore of that style, which the Baltimore Architecture Foundation has nominated for listing on the Endangered Buildings list in Maryland. Part of the discussion will be centered around whether it’s fair game to dislike a building just because it’s ugly!mechanic

Right as I was working on putting the panel and other details together, I noticed an article in the Guardian about the building that they touted as Architecture’s Epic Fails!

2 Columbus Center in NYC. Um… where are the windows?


Tour Montparnasse in Paris. It just looms above everything, looking dark and foreboding.image

The FBI Building in Washington, DC. For a city with so many gorgeous monuments, it’s got a lot of hideous 1970’s buildings.image

Boston Government Service Center. Designed by Paul Rudolph, the Dean of the YALE School of Architecture. Maybe he hated Harvard!image

EMP Museum in Seattle. Two huge egos involved in this: Frank Gehry and Microsoft zillionaire Paul Allen. Neither one’s best work.image

Portland Building, Portland Oregon. Michael Graves’ 1980’s building with many structural flaws. Now scheduled to be torn down.image

Another Paul Rudolph design: The Orange County (NY) Municipal Building, complete with leaks and black mould. Looks a bit tippy, too!image

Is there a building where you live that you’d like to nominate? If so, put the link in a comment and I will add pictures tomorrow!

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Meg Fielding

Meg Fielding writes the local interior design and lifestyle blog Pigtown Design. She enjoys dual citizenship with the US and the UK.

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