Ah, the wonders of travel. You see so many beautiful, historic buildings … and so many ugly ones. Even the most scenic of cities is bound to have something that is so utterly out of place and devoid of attraction that you wonder what the architects and the town planners were on. Including the following …
1. Pompidou Centre
Pompidou or pompous? I’ve hated this building since my first visit to Paris circa 1983. A vanity project initiated by a former president of France, it’s enough to make you want to bring back the monarchy. At least they built nice palaces.
2. Sagrada Familia
I would probably be thrown out of Barcelona if I said this in public, but I just can’t stand the Sagrada Familia. The citizens of Barcelona are very proud of the cathedral (still unfinished after over a century); I think it looks like a cross between a sandcastle and the set of Aliens.
3. Montparnasse Tower
Here’s another Parisian entry (oh dear, Paris). The Montparnasse Tower is 59 floors of sheer ugliness. It is often said that it offers the best view in Paris since you can’t see the tower itself. I’ve been to Paris. I agree.
4. Lloyd’s Building
This ‘landmark’ in the financial district of London was memorably described by Prince Charles, who loathes modern architecture, as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’. He was right. Like most (if not all) office buildings, it definitely wasn’t designed for beauty.
5. The Pyramid at the Louvre
Paris is the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited. So why, oh why, do they feel the need to spoil this beauty by erecting incongruous structures like the Pyramid? In another setting it might be striking, but against a palace that is centuries old, it just looks wrong.
6. Sydney Opera House
Sorry Aussies, but iconic though it may be, I just can’t like the Opera House. I can’t even come up with a way to describe it. It’s just … wrong.
7. Prague’s Television Tower
This has to be one of the weirdest buildings I have ever seen. The basic structure is strange enough, looking like something out of a science fiction film from the 70s, with what looks like pods sticking out from the central column. But someone thought it would enhance that if they put sculptures of crawling babies on the outside … erm, right.
8. The Barbican, London
The best thing about the Barbican is the arts centre it contains. The worst is the hideous architecture, with its ugly apartments and towers. The most unbelievable is that it is Grade II listed, which means that it is considered "nationally important and of special interest". Beats me why.
This can only be the tip of the iceberg of architectural monstrosities, so what other hideous buildings have you come across? Are there any cities that you avoid visiting, as they contain buildings you just can’t bear to come across?
Top Photo Credit: Dean Terry