We tend limit our architecture coverage to, you know, things that are actually good. But what about the architecture that’s really, really bad? Travel+Leisure has produced a new list that really scraps your eyeballs: The World’s 13 Ugliest Buildings.
For example: What you see above is the headquarters of Loneberber Home, created in 1997. The company creates hand-woven baskets. Their headquarters is a basket. Get it?
Actually, the Loneberger office wasn’t really an outlier, in terms of kitsch bordering on mental disability. This stuff used to be fashionable.
In particular, guys like Michael Graves and Robert Venturi used to propound “post-modern architecture,” as an antidote to the high-minded pretensions of modernist architects such as Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. Instead, they went the other direction, aiming for hodgepodges of historical detail and kitsch that were meant to be approachable, and, above all, populist. Even Frank Gehry got in on the act, with his headquarters for Chiat Day, built in 1991 (The binoculars out front are a sculpture by Claes Oldenburg):
Some of that stuff was better than others–Gehry’s building doesn’t look too bad, despite its goofiness. But today, much of it is simply awful–T&L for example, highlights several buildings in the post-modern vein, such as Graves’s Portland Building, the awful Fang Yuan building, which looks like an ancient Chinese coin, and the Harold Washington Building, which sort of looks like a bunch of architecture textbooks threw up on the same site.
Let’s hope post-modern architecture never, ever makes a come back.