Here on Artbuk, we often show you beautiful buildings, outstanding examples of styles, and the most refined of gems. Architecture, like every other field of art, has its fair share of the wonderful, the mediocre and the…well, failed. It is these, to put it mildly, “less outstanding” works that we’re going to look at in this piece – with tongue in cheek, mind you.
Hotels, apartment buildings, shops – at the risk of sounding vague, we most often choose those that catch the eye with their sophisticated form. Investors, who understand the real estate market well enough, are also aware of this, which is why, when building new facilities, they’re after memorable uniqueness. And so they employ architects or entire design studios, allocate exorbitant sums of money, and wait for the final outcome that will bring them returns and profits. Is it easy to design a building that will be hailed over time an architectural hit? Chances are, it isn’t! It seems that to make it to the list of the ugliest, weirdest and just plain worst is just as difficult. And yet…
To start off with, let’s have a look at buildings-animals . Yes, this is not a typo – we’re talking about animal-shaped buildings. Say, a shop shaped like a pair of slightly cross-eyed sheep. Or a National Fisheries Board housed inside a big fish. And finally, a residential and office building in the shape of an elephant, the form of which is more reminiscent of a Minecraft hen – and that was well before that video game became a thing. Here are some examples of taking it slightly too far with architecture!
How do you show off wealth while flawlessly avoiding the sense of good taste and elegance? Why not just decorate everything with gold, like King Midas’ golden touch? Monumental, nearly bending under the weight of the precious metal, the Licheń Sanctuary or the Trump Tower in Los Angeles are two such questionable gems. What do they both have in common? They perfectly reflect the ridicule saying “gold yet modest”.
OK, so if gold is kitsch, then how about colors? Many-hued, pastel, full of contrasts, almost like a preschooler’s drawing. This is the only thing that comes to mind when looking at the façade of Malaysia’s First World Hotel & Plaza. The famous complex brings to mind an amusement park where the fun lasts all year round. Equally colorful and controversial is the finish of Warsaw’s Sobieski Hotel where the French body of the building has been coated with a rather peculiar palette of colors.
As for the aftertaste, we’re sorry to say things don’t get much better. It may happen that an outstanding architect’s vision loses when confronted with reality. Such was the fate, among others, of Willa Monte in Poland’s Zakopane, whose almost century-old body was unceremoniously dismantled and built over with an architectural “crap” that can hardly be put into words. Here, we’re no longer talking mistake but a complete lack of professional ethics.
Sometimes they outrage, occasionally they scare, but most often they produce a smile. An architectural miss or hit? Where words don’t do justice, a picture is worth a thousand words.
transl. Jakub Majchrzak