We will take a bit of a break from mid-century buildings to look at some of the ugliest buildings in New York. Believe me, it took a lot to whittle the list down to 10. Here they are, in no particular order.
2 Columbus Circle
But since we are a mid-century site, we’ll begin with the destruction of a perfectly good building to “improve it” into this monstrosity.
Really, was there anything wrong with the original, affectionately known as the “lollipop building?”
Just a few steps from Columbus Circle is perhaps the most offensive building in town. The base of the Hearst Tower is a lovely art deco stone structure. Someone decided it would be a good idea to stick this fat, hulking mass through the middle of it.
8 Spruce St.
Speaking of ugly towers, this could be the worst in the city. It is marketed as “New York by Gehry” to honor the most overrated architect in the history of mankind.
Frank Gehry’s first attempt to ruin New York’s skyline was this squat, wavy building on West St.
Don’t you love the way it intrudes on the sidewalk?
In his defense, Gehry comes across as a decent guy in interviews. And he apparently has a sense of humor about himself, as he displayed in an episode of “The Simpsons.” I could only find the French version, but you’ll get the idea.
A few blocks down from Gehry’s disaster is another one by Renzo Piano. This guy designed a couple of mediocre buildings for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. So the folks over at the Whitney asked him to do the same here. And he certainly delivered, coming up with a mish-mash of a building that gets uglier depending on what angle you view it.
Another building that gets worse on each successive angle is the Blue Condominium on the Lower East Side. Real inventive name, guys.
3 Park Ave
This thing sits like a fortress on 34th and Park. There used to be an armory on the site. Is that why they built such a blank, brick wall — as an homage?
Well, that’s what we all called it in the neighborhood. Not only is this just an awful, awful building, it changed the entire complexion of Columbus Ave. And not for the better. I’ve still never figured out what that metal thing with the stakes sticking out of it is supposed to be. Art? It just always looked unfinished to me.
Here it is in all its glory in GIF form.
No comment on this piece of work.
I know it’s an engineering school, but come on, did it have to commission this atrocity, perhaps the ugliest building in all of New York? Is there anything attractive about this building? It would work as a prison, maybe. Or maybe it is a lesson for its students on how not to design a building.
The steel criss-cross beams make the sidewalk very welcoming, don’t you think?