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Architecture Gone Terribly Wrong: 10 Ugly Buildings

Edited By: Natalia Jones
 Big and strange doesn’t equal beautiful when it comes to architecture. In fact, if you are guided by these principles and these principles only when approving an architecture project, you might end up creating some hilariously bad buildings, and these 10 design fails are the proof of that, as all of them are considered failures despite being seemingly thought through, large-scale projects, from the enormous Elephant Building in Bangkok to the Žižkov Television Tower in Prague. Don’t believe us they’re that funny looking? See for yourself below.

1. Elephant Tower

Location: Bangkok, Thailand
ugly buildings around the world Elephant Tower Bangkok, Thailand
Located smack-dab in the middle of the Thai capital's business district is the infamous Elephant Tower, one of the largest high-rise buildings in Bangkok. We weren't surprised to read that it's also the most recognized skyscraper in the city, as its awkward attempt to resemble an elephant is difficult to ignore.
Why did anyone think creating it is a good idea? Well, elephants are considered a sacred animal in the country, as well as a symbol of royalty and Thailand's national symbol, so we guess the thought of creating an enormous elephant-shaped skyscraper seemed like a good idea at the time.

2. Torre Glòries (Formerly Known as Torre Agbar)

Location: Bacrelona, Spain
ugly buildings around the world Torre Glòries (Formerly Known as Torre Agbar) Bacrelona, Spain
Completed in 2005, the 38-story Torre Glòries overwhelmed Barcelona's skyline forever. To make matters even worse, they even decided to make it light up in all colors of the rainbow at night. But don't bail on visiting beautiful Barcelona just because of this monstrosity, just remember that there are over 10 of Gaudi's masterpieces including the iconic La Sagrada Família in Barcelona.

3. The Selfridges Building

Location: Birmingham, England
ugly buildings around the world The Selfridges Building Birmingham, England
We think most of you will agree that anything that looks like a giant alien slug that landed on Earth and is in the process of devouring a bridge is difficult to love. No wonder this building was voted the ugliest in the UK in 2008. On the bright side, this one's a shopping center, so at least you'd spend most of your time inside without having to admire its charming blobbiness.

4. The Royal Ontario Museum's Crystal

Location: Toronto, Canada
ugly buildings around the world rom crystal ontario canada
From one 'patented' ugly building to another, behold the crystal room at The Royal Ontario Museum, which is also known as 'the most hated building in Canada'. This recent addition to the museum was completed in 2007 and it isn't functional, not to mention that it clashes with the adjacent museum facade completed at the beginning of the 20th century.
Interestingly, though, more recent media sources report that many Canadians learned to tolerate the building.

5. Kaden Tower

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

ugly buildings around the world Kaden Tower Louisville, Kentucky
It turns out the United States aren't immune to terrible architecture designs either, and a great example of that is Kaden Tower, a 15-story office building that resembles a box of tissues more than any building should.
To make things even worse, it wasn't even us who first thought of this resemblance, as the official website of Louiseville itself compares the poor building to a Kleenex box.

6. Building of Slovak Radio

Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

ugly buildings around the world Building of Slovak Radio Bratislava, Slovakia
Completed in 1983, the radio center in Slovakia is a questionable design choice. Call us old-fashioned, but we don't think that an oversized rusty upside-down pyramid would fit as the face of any national institution, really.
Admittedly, the building was created in an era where socialist realism, an art style imposed by Socialist rule, dominated the art scene in the country and it remains a remnant of that era. According to the website of the Slovakian capital, the city inhabitants do recognize the building as an important part of the city landscape.

7. The Orange County Government Center

Location: Goshen, New York
ugly buildings around the world The Orange County Government Center Goshen, New York
This building may be ugly, but in 2012, it earned its place under the sun when the county officials approved its long-awaited and much-needed renovation. Until the renovations have started, however, there was a lot of discussion and the New York Times even dedicated an article titled "Are Some Buildings Too Ugly To Survive?" questioning if unsightly buildings like this one should be eligible to renovations at all.
Since the government center is one of the few examples of large brutalist architecture projects from the 1960's, it was deemed worthy to be restored and cherished. The renovations of the building were finished in 2018.

8. Ryugyong Hotel

Location: Pyongyang, North Korea
ugly buildings around the world Ryugyong Hotel
This North Korean hotel holds the Guinness record for being the tallest unoccupied building in the world, but why does this monstrosity of a building remain empty? There is no real answer to this question, as it has been standing tall above all other buildings in Pyongyang for nearly 4 decades.
Admittedly, construction stopped in the 1990's due to lack of funds to continue the project and didn't resume for another decade, during which the building earned its creepy nickname "Hotel of Doom". However, construction resumed in the early 2000s and the hotel was supposed to open in 2012, but it never did.

9. Žižkov Television Tower

Location: Prague, Czechia
ugly buildings around the world Žižkov Television Tower Prague, Czechia
The Žižkov Television Tower sticks out like a sore thumb in the historical cityscape of the Czech capital, but simply building a tall futuristic-looking tower very close to the city center wasn't enough, so it has been further embellished by enormous statues of creepy faceless babies seemingly crawling up and down the tower.
Luckily, the statues were removed a few years back for renovation, but the tower stands tall and will continue doing so, as the locals seem to really love this weird building.

10. National Library of Kosovo

Location: Pristina, Kosovo
ugly buildings around the world National Library of Kosovo : Pristina, Kosovo
The last item on our list is the main library in Kosovo that was conceptualized as a mix of Byzantine and Islamic architecture, but we fail to catch this resemblance, at least from the building's exterior design.
And while most Kosovars appreciate the brutalist style of the building, online publications write the following about the architecture of the library, "It’s been said that when the building first opened, some thought the giant net-like feature was actually scaffolding".
We must admit, the building does look a little bit like a ham wrapped in netting, but beyond its strange looks, we also recognize the historical and national importance of the building.
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