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Britain’s most hated buildings

By Christa Terry

Channel 4 recently polled ten thousand people to determine which British buildings are despised the most. Twelve structures were chosen, spanning a variety of locales, and I can’t help but agree with those who were polled. Tastes may change, but I’m not surprised that many of these hated buildings are boxy, gray, and otherwise extremely drab.

Some things from the 60s haven’t aged well

Crown House, in Kidderminster, is a prime example of blah architecture. It once housed the Inland Revenue, but to me it looks like the yawn-worthy dormitory buildings I lived in while at university.

I rather like this one

The Scottish parliament in Edinburgh cost ten times more than the anticipated budget and took three years more than planned to construct. I actually kind of like the bit I can see, but the walls that are in shadow seem dirty. Most of the most-hated buildings could do with a good cleaning!

How industrial!

Cumbernauld town shopping centre was the centrepiece of an awarding-winning 1960s new town near Glasgow. This structure is largely abandoned, which isn’t terribly shocking considering that Cumbernauld was named the second crappiest place to live by the Idler.

Where’s the style?!

The Tower at Colliers Wood reminds me a lot of the U.N. building in NY…and I don’t like that structure much, either. At 19 stories, the Tower dominates the landscape, irking the local residents who have to look at it all day.

What I find interesting is how similar these buildings are to those I’d see every day when I lived first in Brooklyn and then in Queens. You could easily compile a most hated list similar to this one using nothing but the buildings in those two boroughs. How hard is it to add a little style to a building that’s going up? I honestly want to know!

3 Responses to “Britain’s most hated buildings”

  1. Tav Says:

    I think the hatred comes it setting rather than it’s style. The Crown House in Kidderminster in the only one of its kind in Kidderminster and its situated in a historic old area of Kidderminster. In the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn the setting is different because, as you state, there similar looking building seen every day in these boroughs.
    The mood point is that something not in its setting it is also loved but only if it’s new or well-kept e.g. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Cumbernauld shopping centre in the 1960s. When a building is un-kept if it’s similar to its neighbours it’s ignored, but if it’s dissimilar to its neighbours it’s hated.

  2. Emily Says:

    The good news is that due to the shoddy modern construction codes in Britain (and probably the US too, although I suspect that Boston City Hall will survive nuclear annihilation), most of these buildings will fall down within eighty years.

  3. Twistie Says:

    I can’t stand drab, grey, awkwardly-proportioned buildings, and most of these fit that bill. I certainly would hate an entire landscape of such buildings, but must agree they stand out more as eyesores in areas where the other buildings don’t resemble them.

    The Cumbernauld shopping center looks as though it were constructed of all the worst bits of three or four different buildings that would look crap standing side-by-side, too. That certainly isn’t helping.

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