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The Ugliest Buildings in the World?

Travel and Leisure magazine has rounded up the 15 ugliest buildings in the world. The only problem? Almost all the buildings are pretty cool-looking. Not perfect, but visually interesting and ambitious. The headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service in London is a brightly-colored fortress (which apparently includes a moat!), though it doesn't seem particularly secret. And I like Chicago's Harold Washington Library!

By Ezra Klein  |  October 12, 2009; 4:39 PM ET
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The Longaberger Home Office, Newark, OH, is just adorable. Perfect for a picnic basket manufacturer, but still good for any firm with a sense of life balance for employees and the public

The Portland (OR) building isn't as bad as the picture makes it seem. In context of other nearby highrises, the dissonance isn't so bad.

More interesting the general very strong dislike of PoMo architecture by T&L. Surely this stuff is better than the "International" style predecessors, with the faceless, emotionless, straight-walled nothingnesss.

Here's a new (just opened) mixed-use building in downtown stumptown with what looks like an all-glass structure (windmills on roof!) originally intended to be condos but now apartments.

Indigo 12 West (product of naming contest)

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | October 12, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

i live next door to the MI6 (secret service) building in London and if they think that is ugly they should see the building next to it! In fact the only glimmer of hope in an otherwise desolate architectural landscape is the new American embasy that is in the process of construction.

Posted by: jacksutcliffe | October 12, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. The SIS HQ isn't too bad at all, and the Harold Washington Library in Chicago is lovely.

Posted by: CorkExaminer | October 12, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Your taste in Chicago architecture is certainly better than your taste in Chicago food.

Posted by: leoklein | October 12, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll add to the pro-Harold Washington Library remarks so far, as a former Chicagoan, I went to college just a block from there went it was being built, and its a wonderful building outside and inside. I think they are also out of their mind about the Rock and Roll museum in Seattle. These T&L people need to be more broadminded.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | October 12, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

last week, i had the good fortune to return to one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the united states, (in my opinion.)
it is the national museum of the american indian, in washington, dc.
its interior, as well as exterior, is organic and serene. you can hardly believe you are in the midst of the busy city. there are native gardens surrounding the museum, with ripe gourds and corn stalks, and around the building, are facsimiles of native american dwellings, built out of clay, which will erode over time, and return to the soil.
the interior galleries are built like small dark dwellings where you can rest and meditate on the beautiful artifacts and exhibits.
the architecture creates a true sanctuary of peacefulness and quiet, in the midst of the energy of washington, dc.
here is a link to a photograph of the building.

Posted by: jkaren | October 12, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

#1 for most mystically beautiful building in the world....

Posted by: jkaren | October 12, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Having grown up in Newark OH, and finding the longaberger (AKA giant basket) plopped down on the edge of town on a trip back home, the initial reaction to the building is "what the hell is that", followed by "at least it is on the ugly end of town". It is a ridiculous, ugly building, but at least it doesn't detract from its surroundings.

Posted by: jimotto | October 13, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

That Longaberger "building" is like the company-hq version of The Fork In The Road:

And, uh, most of these are, in fact, ugly. That Chicago one is definitely a post-modern mishmash, but not hideous. I would actually nominate the Pan American Health Organization HQ in DC to replace THAT is a 70s beehive of ugliness!

Posted by: ajw_93 | October 15, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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