The 150 Greatest Buildings According to You
February 12, 2007 8:10 AM   Subscribe

The AIA 150 The blue has been filled over the years with "greatest" posts We all have seen the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Movies. The 100 Greatest British Albums, the 50 Greatest Commercials of the 1980's, you name it, they've all appeared on MeFi. The American Institute of Architects has taken a different tack. Instead of relying on a "blue ribbon panel", like the AFI, and despite being the experts, the AIA took a public poll to find out what the people actually think are the Greatest American Buildings. The results are the AIA 150. The whole thing is being turned into a website and a museum exhibition which will tour the country.
posted by Ironmouth (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Your last link is a 404, but it looks like it's supposed to be the same as the first link anyway.
posted by mkb at 8:23 AM on February 12, 2007


Compared to the Hancock Tower, I think Boston's 75 State Street and 111 Huntington Avenue are both more interesting.

Nothing from Detroit, either! I'd expect at least the Renaissance Center, if not the stargate, the Fist, the Hart Plaza Fountain
posted by mkb at 8:37 AM on February 12, 2007


Thanks Ironmouth.

2 warnings:

1. Site is running super slow.

2. Nat'l Cathedral was voted #3 - 8 places above St. Patty's! Yikes.
posted by Mister_A at 8:47 AM on February 12, 2007


Seriously? The World Trade Center? I know it's a sentimental favorite but wow, what a load of overt fascism. About as great as the AT&T Long Lines building.
posted by basicchannel at 8:51 AM on February 12, 2007


Basicchannel, it was a public poll. So it wasn't selected by any group.

I thought Marina City in Chicago should have been in there, but who knows.

It is the same link. How does it get fixed?
posted by Ironmouth at 8:54 AM on February 12, 2007


Looks like I got a period on the end of the last link.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:55 AM on February 12, 2007


since #19 was destroyed by terrorists, i suggest #151 should be allowed to move up and join the list.
posted by bruce at 8:55 AM on February 12, 2007


Nice to see Allegheny Court House in there but am bummed that Philip Johnson's PPG Place didn't make the cut.
posted by octothorpe at 9:02 AM on February 12, 2007


I never knew about Darth Vader being on the Washington National Cathedral. That makes me so happy!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:04 AM on February 12, 2007


mkb, Detroit should have the Fisher Building and the Guardian Building, two of the finest examples of Art Deco in the US. The Ren Cen is just ugly. Not to mention a really nasty maze inside.

There are definite reasons one should ask experts. This is, unfortunately, just a popularity contest.
posted by QIbHom at 9:09 AM on February 12, 2007


This reads rather more like a list of 150 buildings people have heard of.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:10 AM on February 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


I can't load it. Is the Cologne Cathedral on it? It better be. Also Al-Khaznah (The Pharoh's Treasury) in Petra, Jordan
posted by WerewolvesRancheros at 9:11 AM on February 12, 2007


Harold Washington Library? Ugh.
posted by stargell at 9:11 AM on February 12, 2007


The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic had a piece on this last week that points out the folly of letting the common man decide which buildings are the prettiest. While I don't wish to teabag every modernist architect since Mies, he's right in that it is an odd list of recognizable buildings.

Werewolves: it's a Americentric American architecture list.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 9:14 AM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fascinating post, I-Mouth!
I usually avoid "People's Choice" rankings as I'm chock fulla elitism, but architecture seems the one art that, by its products sheer presence, forces itself to be consumed by ALL people ALL the time.
We all experience the weather; we're all capable of articulating it's effects on us.
Ditto a big pile of stone we encounter daily. We might not understand historical precedent, advances in materials and methods, or the myriad zoning variances and budgets that curtail a project, but we know how it makes us feel pretty quickly.
The most Democratic of forms?
posted by Dizzy at 9:18 AM on February 12, 2007


I can't believe Philly City Hall beat the Sears Tower. Go Philly!
posted by Mister_A at 9:19 AM on February 12, 2007


Your last link is a 404, but it looks like it's supposed to be the same as the first link anyway.
There's an extra . at the end of the 2nd linking throwing it off.
posted by jmd82 at 10:14 AM on February 12, 2007


This is an interesting list, better than I expected. Lots of important, but fairly obscure and not immediately arresting buildings are included - e.g. Louis Sullivan's Auditorium Building.
Plenty of clunkers too, but that my #1 favourite piece of American architecture is voted by the public as #10 is still quite encouraging.
posted by Flashman at 10:17 AM on February 12, 2007


(Strange that Louis Kahn's Salk Research Center in LaJolla didn't make the list)
posted by Flashman at 10:18 AM on February 12, 2007


Republic Bank Building in Houston. That's the one.
posted by wrapper at 10:20 AM on February 12, 2007


@ Terminal Verbosity

Oops heh I guess I missed that connection. :P
posted by WerewolvesRancheros at 10:22 AM on February 12, 2007


The Vietnam Memorial is incredible, the rest of the top 20, not horrible but mostly unremarkable. Glad to see it made it into the top 10.
posted by maxwelton at 11:28 AM on February 12, 2007


The Nebraska state capitol? This list is really crappy.
posted by raysmj at 11:31 AM on February 12, 2007


Also, your favorite band sucks.
posted by aramaic at 11:35 AM on February 12, 2007


wow, we 'mericuns like alot of ugly buildings. putting the bellagio at #22 transformed this list from a curiosity into a comedy.
posted by the painkiller at 11:40 AM on February 12, 2007



Meh.
Ingalls Rink at Yale makes the list, but Beinecke Rare Book Library does not.

Meh. Meh.


As an aside, for good architecture porn, Great Buildings is a nice site. Ingalls; Beinecke.
posted by fluffycreature at 11:55 AM on February 12, 2007


The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic had a piece on this last week that points out the folly of letting the common man decide which buildings are the prettiest.

Did he ask the readers for a raise too?
posted by srboisvert at 12:10 PM on February 12, 2007


Do Americans not have any architectural favorites outside of America?
posted by juv3nal at 12:14 PM on February 12, 2007


Aw my bad. "...favorite structures across the nation"
posted by juv3nal at 12:16 PM on February 12, 2007


No Dulles Terminal? The best thing about flying is seeing that great structure from the inside or out. One of the few buildings that's as great from air as it is from the ground.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:41 PM on February 12, 2007


How the hell did the Harold Washington Library get on the list? Worst. Library. Ever.
posted by mrbula at 3:51 PM on February 12, 2007


Are we talking about the same Harold Washington library?

If nothing else, it blows all the other (pre-fab concrete) Chicago buildings of the '90's out of the water.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 5:24 PM on February 12, 2007


mrbula writes "How the hell did the Harold Washington Library get on the list? Worst. Library. Ever."

It was one of the 247 buildings that recieved at least 6 votes by members of the AIA.

My WTF is the Washington monument, isn't that more of a sculpture than building?
posted by Mitheral at 7:14 PM on February 12, 2007


Yes, the same Harold Washington Library. Of all the designs in the competition for the new library, Chicago picked the worst.
posted by mrbula at 8:34 PM on February 12, 2007


The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic had a piece on this last week that points out the folly of letting the common man decide which buildings are the prettiest.

I despise this. Buildings aren't simply art -- they are our environment. The common man lives in and among these buildings every single day, so his or her tastes are perfectly valid, if dull to us architecture snobs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:02 PM on February 12, 2007


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