We know they’re bad for us. We know we shouldn’t like them. BUT STILL WE DO. What building that everyone else considers ugly occupies an architectural soft spot in your heart?
In last weekend’s New York Times, Alexandra Lange asked seven starchitects to defend seven buildings which are hated by the public. Zaha Hadid, designer of the vag-tastic stadium for the ill-fated World Cup in Qatar, chose an endangered Brutalist office complex by Paul Rudolph. Norman Foster chose the Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, which has since been turned into a park, although has never managed to fully emerge from its monumental Nazi connotations. Vincent Van Duysen picked the Pompidou in Paris, which is supposedly universally despised for turning the city’s historic fabric inside out. Consider the this reaction from an angry citizen: “One Parisienne, upon discovering that Richard Rogers was one of its architects (along with Renzo Piano), hit him on the head with her umbrella.”
I have one such building like this in LA. The Westin Bonaventure is probably one of the most hated structures in the city. It looms on the edge of downtown, a series of imposing concrete slabs and smoky glass cylinders serving as a permanent reminder of the many missteps of the 70s. The Bonaventure was actually part of an ambitious utopian plan to connect a whole section of downtown buildings via elevated pedways and underground malls. I love it for that misguided reason alone: The idea that you’d never have to step outside, or even onto the street, to fulfill your daily needs. As weird as it is, this is excellent place to explore the soaring skyways, climb the circular staircases, and have a drink at the rotating restaurant on the top floor (of course it has a rotating restaurant on the top floor).
What about you? Surely there’s a structure that’s won you over, against your better judgment. Include a photo so we can try to convince you how very, very wrong that building is for you.