Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but then again, so is ugliness and the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com (www.virtualtourist.com) have some very strong opinions about buildings that fall into the latter category.
With this in mind the site has announced its third annual list of the world's top 10 ugliest buildings and asked Mark Baez, A.I.A. and Principal Project Designer at Venice, California-based M Designs to comment on the final list.
Of one particularly unsightly choice Baez asked "An exercise in geometry in dire need of an exorcism?"
Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. Sheffield Hallam University; Sheffield, U.K.
Resembling a mash up of a Jiffy Pop package, a salad spinner, and a food processor, this unusual complex was originally built as the National Center for Popular Music. When it closed down after just over a year of business it was sold to Sheffield Hallam University and is now the school's student union.
2. Grand Lisboa Hotel; Macau
With a solid resemblance to the I Dream of Jeannie lamp, this flashy structure can at least be admired for its campiness. As if it weren't flashy enough as is, the exterior actually lights up with over one million colorful LED lights.
3. M2 Building; Tokyo-to, Japan
A creation of lauded Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the M2 is disjointed, depressing, and downright dirty. VirtualTourist.com member "robertbaum" said it all: "The building seems to be used by a funeral service provider."
4. Spruce Tree Center; Saint Paul, Minnesota
Proving that it's not easy being green, the Spruce Tree Center is like an 80s version of the Emerald City. Occupying a significant chunk of city real estate, it almost forces residents to look at it.
5. Palace of Justice; Florence, Italy
It's almost impossible to believe that the same city that's home to the Uffizi, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, and the Ponte Vecchio could also be home to this. While it would be a blight almost anywhere, this structure, which looks like three buildings that got into a wreck with each other, seems especially out of place here.
6. Whitney Museum of American Art; New York City, New York
While many praise this building's simplicity, others much prefer the aesthetics on the inside. Followers of VirtualTourist's Ugly Buildings lists may be distressed to learn that the museum's new building was designed by Renzo Piano, architect of the Pompidou Center which appeared on the list two years ago.
7. Industriens Hus; Copenhagen, Denmark
Whether this advertising-covered box is seen in the harsh light of day or glowing in all its neon glory at night, it's hard to know which is the best (or worst) state in which to view it. Smack dab in the middle of the city, it's all but impossible to avoid.
8. Hong Kong Museum of Art; Kowloon, Hong Kong
It's the non-descript factor of this building that seems to bother its critics the most. While it may be bland and featureless on the outside, inside it's a dynamic and fascinating place with over 15,000 separate works of art.
9. Van Gogh Museum; Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The bland, almost colorless faade of this museum has little to do with the vibrant, expressive works of the artist to whom it pays tribute. Resembling half of a half-open hat box, this building looks as if it has yet to be completed.
10. Plattenbauten; Germany
Pre-fab, a term that can set the heart of an architect aflutter, is given new meaning in parts of Germany. Glum and impersonal, these charmless apartment buildings which are remnants of the city's communist past look more like storage units than dwellings. Mercifully, many are being either renovated or torn down.