Bad, and Not in a Good Way

It’s easy to point out bad architecture.  There it is, in your face, and you simply know it’s wrong. We take a certain pleasure in “epic fails,” including failures of architectural design.

Just what makes a building bad?  The traditional 3 criteria for evaluating architecture are: “firmness, commodity, and delight,” (in other words, structural stability, appropriate functionality, and attractive appearance).  When some or all of these things are not achieved, it’s bad.

Bad-Architecture-009Bad because it lacks firmness.
It’s going to fall down.
Everyone can agree.


Bad because it lacks commodity.
It won’t work as it should.
Everyone can agree.

 ponte-johannesburg_2159772k Bad because of lack of delight.

It’s ugly.

That’s just my opinion; others may disagree.

This is the Ponte City Apartments in Johannesburg. I think it’s ugly for the following reasons:

  • It lacks rhythm and differentiation.
  • The pattern of windows and concrete is completely predictable all the way up.
  • The big sign on top is commercial and cheap-looking.
  • It’s massive and clumsy compared to everything around it.

There are many websites devoted to bad/ugly architecture.  Several are listed below.  You won’t be disappointed when you visit these sites!

Do you agree that all of the projects deserve scorn?  You may find that you like some of them.  What are the reasons you find them good or bad?

1st photo courtesy of; 2nd photo courtesy of International Assoc. of Home Inspectors; 3rd photo courtesy of Alamy.

Feel free to share any of these images, but please provide a link back to 2H Pencil.

I invite your comments.