Better Off Dead: A Collection of Really Embarrassing Buildings

We all have our dark shameful pasts, secrets we’d rather let lie in the closet of our yearbook photos, haircuts that need never see the light of even dusk. The great thing about being completely un-famous, though, is that our pasts, while they may


aunt us on Facebook, aren’t physically built. No one has to live in our embarrassing high-school mistakes, and no one has to work in them. The ten architects behind the projects that follow, however, don’t have such a luxury of anonymity. Herewith we present ten projects either explicitly rejected by their designers or so tremendously equivalent to a killer side-scrunchie with Keds, that they probably should have been. Take a spin through the glory that is our Schadenfreude, and let us know about any metalmouths we’ve overlooked.

Frank Gehry, Experience Music Project

We were, at first, insanely thrilled to get to visit the Experience Music Project and science Fiction Museum last summer in Seattle, 99% for the Battlestar Galactica exhibit and 1% for the chance to roll around a Gehry building. We’d heard murmurs that the architect had formally distanced himself from the Paul Allen-funded project, and as we loitered around the Sky Church (technical name) and tried to find our way through the labyrinthine building we realized why. The EMP is just bad. Bad circulatory spaces, bad sense of scale, bad use of materials, bad architecture. Seven minutes in heaven? Point five, maybe — and that’s just for the Cylon Raider.