There’s always a lot of excitement when a new building is in progress. People in the surrounding town or city are excited to see what it will look like, while esteemed architects gather to praise or critique the final result.
But while the creators of these buildings hope their artistic architectural vision will be appreciated, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, they end up building a structure that doesn’t go down well with the general public. Here are ten examples (in no particular order) of buildings that took some time to be accepted for what they are.
1. The Eiffel Tower
Perhaps the most famous building in France, the Eiffel Tower is known for its beauty when it is lit up in the romantic city of lights. However, when it was built to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution, local Parisians were not happy. Artists Guy de Maupassant and Alexandre Dumas called it ‘useless’, ‘monstrous’ and the ‘dishonour of Paris’, while other residents expressed concern that the tower would fall on their homes. It was only after the tower was completed that people began to see it in a positive light.
2. The Flatiron Building
NYC’s Fuller Building is commonly referred to as the Flatiron Building due to its shape. Built in 1902, the building enjoyed some time as the tallest building in NYC north of City Hall, although residents did not believe the Flatiron fit in with the rest of the stylish neighbourhood. It was also claimed that the building’s shape increased the gusts of wind, resulting in a young boy being swept into the road.
Today, the Flatiron is a popular hotspot for tourists and is known to be the oldest skyscraper in New York.
3. The Gehry Residence
Frank O. Gehry purchased his home in 1978 – a simple Californian bungalow to share with his wife. All seems pretty normal, doesn’t it? It was, until Gehry came up with the idea of creating a ‘shell’ around his home. Fascinated by the concept, he used corrugated metal sheets and chain link fencing cut to angular, statement-making shapes, resulting in a home that truly stood out – much to the dismay of his neighbours, who believed the home looked ‘unfinished’.
Since its construction, the home has won various architectural awards, resulting in its acceptance within the neighbourhood.
4. The Guggenheim
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City has attracted much criticism since its construction, frequently being referred to as a ‘toilet bowl’.The building was Frank Lloyd Wright’s protest against the ‘forest of skyscrapers’ that was New York, leading him to create a low-level major building that would stand out in the city.
Today, many people still question the design; however, it’s still one of the most popular attractions in NYC.
5. Neuschwanstein Castle
Although today it is known as the fairy tale castle that inspired Walt Disney to create the legendary Sleeping Beauty castle, Neuschwanstein was not always appreciated. In 1869, King Ludwig II of Bavaria built the castle all for himself in the Alps, in order to be left alone by government ministers. Its construction led people to ask if the king has ‘gone mad’, which turned out not to be far from the truth. He missed important national events and failed to pay attention to his country, instead withdrawing to his castle, never to be seen until his death in 1886.
Although the king had wished the castle to be destroyed upon his death, it still stands today and is a popular tourist attraction.
6. Philip Johnson’s Glass House
Architect Philip Johnson built his home back in 1946. Revolutionary at the time, the home was flat-roofed and consisted primarily of large glass sheets.Locals were upset at the way the home stood out amongst the traditional colonial strucures in the area, many even getting angry to the point of throwing rocks at the glass.
Not to be disheartened, Johnson decided to open up his home once per year to allow the public a glimpse inside, with all the proceeds going to a local nursery school.
7. Pompidou Centre
The Pompidou Cultural Centre in Paris features an industrial look full of steel and colourful piping. While this would be a hot trend today, that wasn’t the case when the hi-tech building was completed in 1977. Residents were appalled by the building’s proximity to medieval and traditional buildings, including the oldest house in Paris which was built in 1407.
Despite this, it eventually grew a creative fan base and attracted tourism to the area, as well as receiving praise from art critics.
8. St Paul’s Cathedral
This one may surprise you, seeing as St Paul’s Cathedral is of London’s most famous and most visited landmarks; however, the building was not always as beloved as it is today.
Rumour has it that when King William III visited the cathedral for the first time, he openly described it as ‘awful, pompous and artificial’.
9. The Washington Monument
When architect Robert Mills submitted the design for the Washington Monument, it originally contained more than just the obelisk we know today. However, due to budget restrictions, this was all the National Monument Society were able to produce. While being built, the monument was referred to as a ‘stalk of asparagus’ and a ‘chimney’ in addition to further criticism from the community. Once built, it garnered acclaim for the most part, but still attracted its fair share of disdain, with the American Architect and Building News.
This one really is a ‘love it or hate it’ scenario.
As for what we can learn from these buildings, it’s simple. Always stick to what you believe in and follow a path that’s true to your style and personality. When the architects behind these buildings were criticised, they didn’t tear them down. They pushed forward and stood up for their work. So whether you’re decorating your spare bedroom or completely renovating your home exterior, just remember the final result is up to you!
What do you think of these buildings? Which ones are your favourite? Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions in the comments section below!