ugliness is subjective. what seems ugly to me might be totally beautiful to someone else.
case in point, i think the salk institute is one of the most beautiful buildings i've ever seen, my mom thinks it's one of the ugliest. this difference in opinion has always fascinate me. do i think it's beautiful because i studied architecture and i've been told it's beautiful? or is it, in fact, an ugly, cold, pile of concrete?
to answer this, or any question whether a building is [ugly] or not, i like to judge buildings against the same traits i find ugly in people.
i don't think it's any stretch of the imagination to say that if someone had these qualities, they might not be getting "swiped right" too often 'cause they are indeed ug-ly. i find the same holds true with buildings.
i think dishonest buildings are ugly. if a building promises or eludes to one thing on the exterior and it's false once you get inside, that's an ugly quality. if a building uses fake stone or brick as a material, to me it's the same thing as someone lying to my face. false windows, false fronts, faux this, imitation that...all just lies. the more lies told, the uglier it becomes.
i think inappropriate buildings are ugly. i'm not a huge traditionalist at all, but if someone were to build a sleek and modern glass house in between a block of historic brick townhouses, i would find that inappropriate and therefore ugly. the building doesn't have to be traditional but it should pick up some cues from it's context. i feel buildings should be appropriate for their surroundings. there are times and places to be loud and flaunt it on center stage and there are times when you need be quiet and blend in. a building should know the difference.
i think an unorganized building it is ugly. granted i know many people who are unorganized that i wouldn't call ugly, but when someone is organized....it's just so damn sexy! seriously, when a complicated program can be organized into a simple plan, it's one of the most beautiful things in the world; an unorganized plan is the ugliest. lord knows an unorganized plan will only lead to an unorganized elevation, and then there's no hope for this ugly beast in front of you.
i think negative buildings are ugly. buildings, as well as people should always leave this earth better than they found it. whether a building does that by creating a better space for people, use less energy, encourage alternative forms of transportation, give a new perspective to a view or simply make it's occupants smile, a building should have a positive impact on this world.
people come in all different shapes, colors, heights, widths, types and styles and buildings should too. there are however some core traits i feel make people [ugly] and the same can be said about buildings.
so, looking at that criteria, yes mom, the salk institute is in fact a beautiful building.
and you're a beautiful person.
please check out other architects view of [ugly] with the links below
Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
ugly is ugly
Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Ugly Architecture Details
Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
unsuccessful, not ugly: #architalks
Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Ugly is in The Details
Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Ugly, sloppy, and wrong - oh my!
Jeffrey Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Is My House Ugly? If You Love It, Maybe Not!
Nisha Kandiah - ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
the ugly truth
Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
A Little Ugly Never Hurt Anyone
Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Ugly or not ugly Belgian houses?
Ilaria Marani - Creative Aptitude (@creaptitude)
ArchiTalks #30: Ugly
Larry Lucas - Lucas Sustainable, PLLC (@LarryLucasArch)
Die Hard: 7 Ugly Sins Killing Your Community