The World's Ugliest Buildings
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The Fang Yuan Building, Shenyang, China
This 25-floor office building, finished in 2001 in the northeastern capital of Liaoning Province, is a weird mishmash of ideas. One is a reference to old Chinese coins, which have square cutouts—just like the structure’s square center. Other parts of the design are like a garden-variety corporate building, with a concrete base and, on the sides, steel rims with glass grooves.
The Ugly Truth: Princeton-educated Taiwanese architect C. Y. Lee, who designed Taipei 101 (the world’s tallest building until last year), wanted to meld East and West. In this creation, urban concrete-and-steel commercial structure meets ancient Chinese currency.