These designs must have looked great on paper because they don’t look good in execution… at all.
Architecture is an art, but when things get experimental it can get a little scary. It’s easier to paint over a canvas than to demolish a building, so if your ground-breaking design becomes an eyesore it may stick around a long, long time, like these eleven examples.
Chang Building (Thailand)
The intended effect was to have the building resemble an elephant, but it simply doesn’t work for most viewers. But the Chang building does get robust use, servicing apartments, offices, a bank, a shopping center, and more, so in that regard it’s still a success.
Selfridges Department Store (England)
This historic chain prides itself on unique architecture for its stores, but the Birmingham location has many, many vocal critics. The design appears to be some sort of futuristic beehive, a look achieved through use of numerous aluminum discs on the exterior.
Ryugyong Hotel (North Korea)
This one-hundred and five story triangular skyscraper comes with a shaky history: work began in 1987 but ceased in 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union. By 2011 the exterior had been finished, but that appears to be it. Locals are said to not even acknowledge the building’s existence to tourists.
Walkie Talkie (England)
This skyscraper has more problems than visual aesthetics: its shape reflects sunlight onto the streets below, creating direct heat strong enough to cause damage to other buildings and parked cars. One driver was even awarded damages when part of their car melted.
This is a home in South Mumbai, the world’s second largest private residence (the first is Buckingham Palace, by the way). It maintains a staff of six-hundred people. At $1,000,000,000 the building is only twenty-seven floors (with ten elevators). Meanwhile, other buildings of the same size have sixty floors.
EMP Museum (United States)
A pop-culture museum featuring an 800 seat concert venue, the EMP has drawn comparisons to a smashed guitar (apparently an homage to Jimi Hendrix). But some critics are less enthused. The New York Times called it “something that crawled out of the sea, rolled over, and died.”