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August 23, 2004 8:18 PM   Subscribe

An Ugly Buildings Hit List seems to be developing in Scotland. The president of the Royal Institute of British Architects is calling for the demolition of the ugliest buildings in Scotland. The Architects have their list, and the press is asking the public to chime in as well (with pictures).
posted by mmahaffie (10 comments total)
And you have just no *idea* how badly needed this is. Especially if you live in the US, where architects' mistakes get erased pretty quickly. Here, if you're not quick, they get listed and lauded and you can never get rid of the damn things, even though they are ugly and dysfunctional.
posted by bonaldi at 9:11 PM on August 23, 2004

We have our share of ugly brutal buildings, too.
posted by amberglow at 9:26 PM on August 23, 2004

Yes, the Whitney is unbearable. Christopher Alexander (of A Pattern Language and now his four-volume grandiosity on architecture and the universe), although a loony in many regards, writes very well on the violence that modern architecture has done to our lives.

It would be a grand world if just a wish for beauty -- not high-scale aesthetics, just a simple wish for non-ugliness -- could override all other concerns. Building after building would fall.
posted by argybarg at 9:37 PM on August 23, 2004

Oh, and I suggest reading H.L. Mencken's essay on The Libido for the Ugly. Our landscape has only gotten more blighted since.
posted by argybarg at 9:38 PM on August 23, 2004

amberglow, the MetLife Building isn't a bad building. It's just in the wrong place.
posted by mrbula at 10:29 PM on August 23, 2004

Wow, I thought all of Amberglow's suggestions were cool!

Oh well, pickers can't be choosers, I suppose,
posted by shepd at 10:33 PM on August 23, 2004

I'm with mrbula (and the City Review) -- I quite like the MetLife building. It'd be superb if it were placed differently.

See also James Kunstler's crotchety-but-entertaining Eyesore of the Month page.
posted by Vidiot at 11:51 PM on August 23, 2004

"I think the idea of improving the environment, or space for people, is more important than individual buildings. But how do you decide which building is the most vile?"

Quite simply. When it comes to Edinburgh, it's Appleton Tower.
posted by rory at 7:46 AM on August 24, 2004

Rory: I never realized the tower was so hated. In the link from the original post, a contributor says of the Tower:

"When I open my curtains, I have a glorious view of Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Castle, and the Scott monument. However, to destroy this almost perfect skyline are the major mistakes of Edinburgh, namely the David Hume Tower and Appleton Tower in George Square. To see these buildings standing is a vision of hell. Nothing can describe the way how these two buildings destroy the skyline of Edinburgh."

Just to see how it blights the cityscape, I found this picture. What is it with the University and their complete lack of aesthetic after the Victorian era?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:58 AM on August 24, 2004

(Belated follow-up, I know... sorry, been away.)

The university demolished rows and rows of terrace buildings to make room for it, and for the car-park right next to it (not even a multi-storey car-park; just a big gravelled lot). It was controversial at the time - an ex-colleague of mine was a student then, and took part in demos to save the old buildings of the area - but the architect was a man of vision, clearing away all that old stuff to create a bold new symbol of the future... which nowadays has bits falling off it everywhere, and looks even worse than it does in those photos.
posted by rory at 5:30 AM on September 2, 2004

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