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8 Silly Structures

These buildings may be famous but they sure look silly


OK, architects aren't perfect. Even the greatest architects design buildings that are impractical, absurd, or funny-looking. Which buildings are the silliest? That's open for debate. Here's a short list of famous structures that have stirred controversy, outrage, and - sometimes - laughter. Did we leave out a doozy? Tell us!

1. Ray and Maria Stata Center

Lopsided buildings
Photo © Rick Hyman / iStockPhoto
It was bad enough when neighbors complained about Frank Gehry's overly bright Disney Concert Hall. But the negligence suit that MIT filed against Gehry Partners is enough to make any architect run for life. Apparently, Gehry's famous, startling Stata Center at MIT has so many cracks and leaks, the amphitheater had to be rebuilt - to the tune of $1.5 million.

2. Celebration, Florida Town Hall

Town Hall in Celebration, Florida
Photo © Jackie Craven
Philip Johnson was probably spoofing classical architecture when he designed the many-pillared Town Hall for the Disney planned community at Celebration, Florida. You just have to chuckle.

3. The Millennium Dome in Greenwich, England

Millennium Dome Photo
© National Audit Office
Designed as a one-year, temporary structure, the Millennium Dome was doomed to be associated with the crazy panic that surrounded the changing of the centuries. After the official start of the new millennium, the funny looking Dome closed and Great Britain spent several years looking for ways to use it. For architect Richard Rogers, the Millennium Dome was not his proudest accomplishment.

4. Spire of Dublin

The Monument of Light, also known as the Spire of Dublin
Photo © Martin Child / Getty Images
Also known as the Monument of Light, the 393-foot (120-meter) Spire of Dublin was supposed to welcome the new millennium like the Dome in England. But Dublin's stainless steel tube was mired in controversy and construction wasn't completed until 2003. Now Dubliners are saying, What's the point?

5. The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University

I.M. Pei, Architect - Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University
Photo © Jackie Craven
I.M. Pei placed massive concrete slabs in the midst of a scenic mountain view. Some critics call the museum bold and transparent. Others just shake their heads.

6. The Louvre Pyramid

Designed by Ieoh Ming Pei
Photo © Alexei Nabarro / iStockPhoto
I. M. Pei strikes again. His glass pyramid would look great somewhere else, but seems odd next to a Renaissance palace.

7. The Farnsworth House

The Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe
Photo © Steve Estes
The glass house that Mies van der Rohe designed for Edith Farnsworth is beautiful, sure. But could she actually live in it? Could you?

8. The Singapore Esplanade

Singapore's "dumpling shaped" performance center
Photo © The Esplanade Co Ltd
I dunno. I just can't help thinking of a porcupine.
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