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The World's Ugliest Buildings

The Experience Music Project, Seattle

Danita Delimont/Alamy

The Experience Music Project, Seattle

Sure, a building dedicated to rock music shouldn’t be too conservative. The problem? In not looking like anything in particular, it appears anchored in nothing. Of course, people have tried to describe it, and have come up with everything from “a multicolored blob” to “open-heart surgery.”

The Ugly Truth: Architect Frank Gehry has said the inspirations for his 140,000-square-foot structure, which opened in 2000, include a smashed guitar and guitars in general, evident in the colors (glimmering purple, powder blue) and metal materials (aluminum, steel). The museum, founded by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, is also an example of Gehry’s signature style, made most famous by the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. But according to architect Jason Fifield of Ankrom Moisan Architects in Portland, OR, “his work at Bilbao makes much more sense because there’s a connection between the sculptural forms and the surrounding landscape.”

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