Traditionally, office blocks and commercial buildings have been rectangular, concrete-based and relatively uninspiring. However over the years there have been numerous attempts to blend a more aesthetically pleasing design with business needs: the Petronas Towers and the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, are iconic and instantly recognizable.
However not all designs are as pleasing, indeed some have been near-disasters, either visually or in their construction. This article takes a look at a handful of the worst designed (or at least worst received) commercial properties in America.
|2. Citicorp Center|
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Completed in 1977, the Citicorp Center in New York featured a revolutionary design, placing a skyscraper on stilts in the center of the structure, rather than load supporting columns at its corners.
However, in an incredible story covered on a recent episode of the 99% Invisible podcast, following completion, a student calculated that the initial design was so unstable that a major storm could have blown over the 59 floor structure, causing catastrophic destruction across Midtown Manhattan.
|3. Portland Building, Portland|
Standing in Oregon’s main city, the Portland Building is a real clash of architectural styles, blending columns, a decidedly odd mix of colors and styling elements that appear to have come from very different influences.
Although this is said to be one of America’s ugliest buildings, I must confess to having a soft spot for it, not least because it looks like it was designed with crayons.
|4. Denver Public Library, Denver|
Two words: Lego Hogwarts.
|5. Longaberger Home Office, Newark|
From the ugly to the bizarre – the head office of Longaberger (a handcrafted basket designer) is a building that looks like … a handcrafted basket. A quick Google image search will show you just how odd this building is, and it’s quite hard to believe it exists outside of a theme park.
Again, this is another entry on this list that, while I can see why it’s “horrible”, I actually quite like it. It’s innovative, ballsy, it perfectly captures the company ethos and above all, it’s fun!
|6. Boston City Hall, Boston|
A true concrete horror. Resembling a diseased harmonica, Boston City Hall has few redeeming features or points of interests: local opinion has been divided on whether to rip the structure down or preserve it.
|7. J Edgar Hoover Building, Washington DC|
Brutalist architecture is an acquired taste, sure, but it’s heavy, authoritative, fort-like seriousness should be perfect for a law enforcement organization. However, the FBI’s Washington home looks like a giant waffle.
|8. AT&T building, Houston|
An incredible building, if only because you wonder how it ever got the go ahead. Communications giant AT&T’s central office is a literally a 100ft block of grey concrete, with virtually no external windows.