Architecture, like all arts, is one that has its masterpieces and its unloved failures. There are trends. There are schools and bitter feuds, grand arguments about what makes a structure beautiful. There are many theories of what makes for good architecture and what makes for bad. Buildings are debated in conception and completion, and great ideas as often as not get rejected in favor of lesser ones.
But this list is not about those great ideas or any of those debated theories. No, in this series of 15 buildings which span the globe, we’ll show you some of the ideas that should have been rejected, the worst of the worst. Idiotic ideas. Outrageous designs. The foolish, the weird, and the downright ugly. Some were created by world-renowned architects, some by complete amateurs, but all of them have in common one useful fact: they persist as monuments to the mistakes that brought them into life. They are a catalogue of bad decisions.
This is an ode, not to greatness, but to magnificent failure. Each building on our list tells a story of hubris and stupidity. These are the sorts of homes, offices, and hotels that will leave you clutching your head, asking, “Why? Why did they do that?”
These are 15 of the worst architectural failures to ever grace the planet.
15 Malaysia’s First World Hotel
14 Jaiyi County Church
13 The Tours Aillaud
12 The Fang Yuan Building
11 The Longaberger Company Headquarters
10 The Villa Faberge
9 The De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel
8 MIT’s Strata Center
7 Freedom Cove
6 3121 Antelo Rd
5 1010 HillDale Ave.
4 74380 Palo Verde Drive
3 The Tianzi Hotel
2 Hotel Ryugyong
1 Penn Station
New York’s Penn Station is inoffensively bad. It is bad in a mostly dull and acceptable way that might not bother you at a first glance. Which makes this a special entry on our list. Yes, the station is not spectacularly grotesque on its surface, but once you know its history and see what they tore down (the black & white photo) to make way for this dull, linoleum drudge, it’s almost too heartbreaking. Penn Station belongs on this list because it’s the perfect example of mediocrity gobbling up excellence. What’s newer is not always what’s better.
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