November 22, 2009
SAM JAVANROUH FILE PHOTO
A new list of the world’s ugliest buildings proves the ROM’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal is just as controversial today as when it first opened more than two years ago.
The list, compiled by members and editors of www.VirtualTourist.com, places the Royal Ontario Museum’s add-on, the Crystal, at Number 8.
The structure’s eyesore status is attributed to its incongruity with the original, classic-looking museum building.
The list draws a comparison between the Lee-Chin Crystal and I.M. Pei’s controversial pyramid-shaped entrance to the Louvre museum in Paris.
Torontonians should be relieved, however, that an American building once more takes the cake as the ugliest in this second instalment of the www.VirtualTourist.com list.
The now-defunct Morris A. Mechanic Theater in Baltimore, Md., tops the list, with the Zizkov TV Tower in Prague, Czech Republic, coming in a close second thanks to artist David Cerny’s sculptures of babies crawling up the sides of the tower.
The TV tower is followed by the Parliament Buildings in Wellington, New Zealand, the Centre Pompidou art museum in Paris, Melbourne’s Federation Square, the Petrobras Headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Markel Building in Richmond, Va.
The National Library in Pristina, Kosovo, and the still-incomplete Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, follow the Lee-Chin Crystal in ninth and tenth place, respectively.
“Ugly buildings somehow manage to pop up in even the prettiest cities,” the website reads, as though trying to soften the blow.
“Many of these buildings don’t have the warmth of an ice cube while others don’t even seem completed,” writes Giampiero Ambrosi, general manager of www.VirtualTourist.com.
“Either way, they make for very interesting conversation.”