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The School of Architecture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Sweden Studio 11, Autumn 2017 Teachers + Editors: Claes Sörstedt & Malin Åberg-Wennerholm Students: Therese Andersson, Giulia Cereghetti, Hamish Collins, Marie Ekblad, Fredrik Holmér, Anton Lindström, Johanna Permert, Ana Sofia Pinto,Noëmi Ruf, Mia Tulen, Sida Wang, Henrik Westling & Kaixuan Xie



Amorphous Uncanny valley






Lack of something





Poor quality Spoiled

Wrong Imitating Displeasing



Annoying Imitation






Exaggerated Superficial

Dishonest Pastiche






Unintended Misapprehend

Too expensive












Soiled Formless





Taboo Depressed

Disgusting Repugnant Unclean

Disoriented Offensive

Bigness Hierarchy

Exploitive Contempt Condemnation




Nonsensical Too much

Taste monopoly



Asymmetry Misunderstood

Conflict Class warfare Vomit



Breaking boundaries










Pushing boundaries










Existence questioning

Otherworldly Excess




Out of context





Reality questioning






















Mean Disruptive

Tasteless Fugly
















Flashy Rude Unexpected Unnecessary








Pathetic Deceptive Manipulative





Lazy Inadequate











Worn out











Fraud False



Class contempt

Communication Asserting taste


Propaganda Ignoring




A very short explanation

This studio is trying to find different approaches to bypass our default position on architecture. We feel that there are a few things that can be learnt by avoiding staring at ‘magic star architecture’, beautiful spaces and yet another series of innovational details. We are interested in the built environment’s – usually – less desirable qualities: the ugly. Not previously ‘unloved projects’, now re-assessed by a new generation’s eyes and connoisseurship, but spaces that are perceived as truly hideous or fugly. These qualities and concepts influence the way we as architects work, design, perceive and judge our physical environment. Through looking, thinking and studying spaces around us that we (or others) do not like, spaces that we do not want to create, or not want to be in, we hope to understand how these aesthetic criteria work. It is not unknown in the field of architecture to claim one thing (usually it is an architectural quality) while it later turns out be something very else. We all fail in architecture. We fail through lack of knowledge, lack of ambition, lack of time, or lack of talent and so on and so forth, and now we are ready to examine the unoriginal and plain. More often than not, architects see themselves as being, humanists and purveyors of a pragmatic utopia. Too often their architecture is not. We investigate places where the makers of architecture never intended to go but involuntarily ended up. The world of the truly ugly. It is really tiring to hear and see yet another project describing all its magical benefits. We are interested in how one validate beauty listening to the thousandth pres5

entation of ideas concerning so called amazing project that “will create an inclusive and beautiful and actually vibrant atmosphere”. Its is dull talking about ‘fantasticness’. Stuff claimed to be just that, do make us sleepy. Ugly is quite a gut feeling, hard to formulate as an usable and stable definition. Yet, everyone that utter the remark in a derogatory sense, know how it feels like: convincing. An exploration of one’s own personal criterias of what you pass as ugly, is like investigating the other, less sunny side of architecture. As sure as somebody would denounce a building as ugly, as sure this will change over time and place. Looking at bad things doesn’t necessarily create bad things. It may very well produce material that could be described as beautiful, like a by-product. We consider the move to the outskirts of architecture, the wetland of ugliness, is necessary. It´s about changing perspective. In the “snapchat world” of today, where everyone, in just a snap, can become a watermelon or appear as a crunchy toast or even an ugly face, we argue that there is a need for investigating ugliness. By exploring ugliness we might vaccinate ourselves against pretentious architecture that could pop up in the future. How can one even understand the concept of beauty and produce successful architectural intervention without any solid knowledge of the blurry borders of ugliness in architecture? We are arguing, you can´t.

Claes Sörstedt + Malin Åberg-Wennerholm


Ugly as found


A Hallway Krysshammarvägen 36, 2 tr., Solna. For me, the concept of beauty, at least when space is concerned, is intimately connected with another entity, the one I call detail. Mies van der Rohe used to say that “God is in the details”, and most times, I feel a tendency to agree with such words of his. The space chosen by me could be seen as absolutely forgetful, with nothing worth retaining, but the picture it painted in my mind is as far from forgetful as possible. It is, basically, a small distribution space at the end of a corridor, but is organized in such a way, that makes it hazardous for my senses each and every trip I make from my bedroom to the kitchen. First of all, I must say, the tiny space is packed with details. The more I search for them, the more I find. But contrary to what was stated above, details, in this particular situation, are for me the key of ugliness. It is not, though, the detail itself that bothers me, but rather the lack of care and attention that was put into it. The first reason I mention, in order to justify my considerations, concerns the layout of the space. It may appear simple on a first glance, but once one tries to draw it (with precision) and sew together all the tiny corners and recesses caused by the door openings and the inner structure, it is understood that the task is not that easy. This leads me to my second reason. The doors. The space is crowded with doors, with different colours and shapes. Doors for everything, doors everywhere. I count-ed ten, with the ones from the armoires included. When one is open, another one has to be closed. Or one could open them all at the same time, and instead have a scene that could as well belong in The Sixth Sense. The number of doors will actually lead me to my third reason for the space’s ugliness. Door frames and the way they meet the walls. Argh!! What a pain! Since there are so many openings on the walls, the variety of door frames seems like something out of a store catalogue. And the way they meet the walls themselves is even worse. Some re coplanar with the wall, others recess, what contributes for that unnecessarily complex layout I mentioned previously. The fourth reason I found to consider this space a really ugly one is the skirting board. It just has no coherence. The board does not connect with any of the door frames, neither does to the bases of the armoires – the heights are different, the colours col-lide, the shapes strangle themselves into these unintelligible details that give me a shiver every time I look at 8

them. There is even one case in which the door frame stands on the inexistent skirting board, looking as if someone just forgot to finish the carpentry job. The fifth and final reason has a lot to do with the interior elevations of the space, and the alignment between the different elements on the walls. There are no directory lines between the heights of the armoires and the ones of the doors. It seems no one had the care – what I am sure is the case – to draw the entire interior elevations as a whole. But in reality, no one does that, because the truth is, most people don’t care about such tiny details. What does it matter if the armoire door stands ten centi-metres above the top limit of the corridor door? Or if that door frame touches the other one and leaves the tiniest of spaces in between only to accommodate dust and dirt? What does it matter if that one door collides with that other one? No one wants both of them open at the same time anyway. Spaces are full of this tiny things, tiny details that I have been trained to look at. When I am in a bathroom, I check and count the tiles. When I am in a room, I check the pieces of the ceiling, and the list goes on. That is, most of the times, what makes me think of a space beautiful or not. And in this case, I just happen to be living in a house with one of the ugliest spaces I ever encountered. [AP]


Hötorgspassagen Drottninggatan, Stockholm This space, called Hötorgspassagen, is located between T-Centralen and Hötorget in Stockholm, lodged in between the large flagship-stores on Drottninggatan in a late 20th century house. It is a small shopping arcade with your regular fast fashion stores, run-of-the-mill jewellery and a small Italian coffee bar. When entering the passage there is an immediate sense of ugliness. This first impression probably comes less from the ugliness of the architecture itself and more from its connotations to shopping malls. Spaces imbued with hollow consumerism and poor quality for the sake of easy profit (referring both to their architecture and the stores themselves) makes a cheap fishing lure seems like a fitting analogy. Furthermore, it doesn’t help that malls rarely are great architecture, another preconception making it hard not to judge the space beforehand. The volume is hard to comprehend even when trying to examine it. There are twists and turns and strange angles all through the passage. It has the feeling of a real arcade where the architect have had to merge the space between two building as good as they can, difference of course being that this space probably always was part of the house, thus denying them any leeway. The materials are not much better. There is a decent base provided by the glossy beige stone floor, it’s a pretty material on its own. The rest of the space is mostly cold white plasterboard (in contrast with the stores mostly warm white), normal glass for the store fronts, and then the red glass sliding doors by both entrances. You also have different coloured baseboards on each side of the space. The difference isn’t very obvious which makes the choice seem even worse. There are not that much ugly furniture or fittings but those that are there make up for the lower quantity. The flower pots by the entrance are a thing of marvel. They are built in a shiny black plastic which stands in a stark contrast to the rest of the architecture, making them look like black holes both in photos and real life. The fake plants in them are also in a much darker tone then the rest of the space making the whole piece look like one big black blob. To finish it off, they are not aligned to neither the spatiality nor to each other. Their crooked and asymmetrical placement really make them stand out like objects not meant to be there. With the brushed steel railing another colour


is introduced in the space, building on this amalgamation of materials. Furthermore, for some reason (probably building code), at the end of the slight slope it turns 90 degrees to the right and straight into the store front. It seems like there were supposed to be something there, but now it only creates a pointless square with prime view over H&M’s make-up department. But the crown jewel of this place is still the ceiling. White boards illuminated with sloppy red spotlights bringing the aesthetic together as a weird offbrand spaceship. These spotlights are also found by the entrances trying to cast a feint red light, matching the red glass doors and the misaligned red carpets. All this finally land in one big mess of crashed aesthetics and a space that desperately seems to be straining for effect in some parts, while trying to be natural in others. It has the feeling of being designed in The Sims, but without the grid helping the player align their walls. It almost has an uncanny valley feeling where everything is off, but not off enough to make it an obvious design choice. Lazily and cheaply designed in a poor attempt to come off as cool but classy. [AL]


Royal Palace Gamla stan, Stockholm The space that has been chosen is the royal palace located on ca 10-15 % of the Stadsholmen island in Stockholm’s old town. The space is ugly because it claims ownership over the land it occupies. Like most buildings the royal palace is situated directly on the land, it does not try to mitigate this but rather seems proud to take up such a large space. It makes a big land claim, occupying a large footprint. It is ugly to place a building directly on the ground unless you make some effort to give back conditions for other lifeforms to still use the space for example by making it possible for plants to grow on the sides and roof of the building and for people and other life forms to move through or over the building. Furthermore the palace excludes others from using the space, in fact, it is planned to be that way and it even has armed guards with guard posts ensuring that people cannot enter the palace or the inner courtyard. This kind of exclusionary architecture is not only immoral since no one can claim to own the planet more than anyone else but through the program of the building, location in the city and usage of the building it justifies landownership, exclusion, hereditary privilege etc. Architects often work in a context that takes land ownership and its possibilities of exclusion for granted and this is what is at the core of ugly in architecture. Related, but separate from the previous point, the palace is ugly since it works to uphold an unfair political, social and economic order. By design the castle is a power statement and in its very architecture (scale, distance from people, location etc.) it is intended to send some important messages. Some of these messages are, 1. It is okey for humans to change the living conditions on a site/ in a space not taking into account non-human inhabitants. 2. One family should be able to occupy a very large part of the inner city. 3. That that family and the monarchy should have a central place in the city and society. 4. That it is acceptable that there is inequality in society, at least the royal family should be given privileges. 5. Inherited privileges, landownership etc. are acceptable and should occupy a central part of the city and of society. The palace is unsustainable and thus ugly since it uses so much resources to the benefit of such a small group. This also relates to the inequality argument but also goes further. It takes up a large space, requires a large staff, consumes a high amount of energy to the 12

benefit of a small elite. Again the absence of planning for other lifeforms than humans and decorative hedges also make it unsustainable. On this large footprint and these good sunlight conditions the castle could do a lot more to be a part of providing homes for city animals and plants and for contributing to the citys food supply and in other ways become part of a sustainable eco-system. It does not connect to other parts or communities nearby. It has a completely different scale than the surrounding old town. It uses a high base to keep its distance from the streets towards the north, east and south. It uses a concave construction to the west to create a semi-private courtyard that doesn’t relate to the street networks of the old town but rather bounces the people from the old town of in another direction. So to sum up, it is ugly because of: Claiming land ownership/Occupation of land Exclusion Unfairness/Inequality Waste/Unsustainable Selfishness/self-interest/disconnected [FH]


Free-standing staircase Bredäng centrum, Stockholm Located in southern Stockholm, this weathered staircase is the centrepiece of the suburb of Bredäng. Situated within the main square, the free-standing staircase links the local school to the library, metro and town centre. Part of the Million Homes Programme, Bredäng was developed in the 1960’s as a solution to a housing crisis that extended across major Swedish cities. The suburb was the first large scale district to be built on the outskirts of Stockholm, and is a valid example of the many successes and flaws of this ideal of urban development. In building one million dwellings, the programme saw towers rise on the outskirts of Swedish cities surrounding new community centres linked to the central via buses and metropolitan trains. To build the homes at rapid pace, new materials and technology of the time were used to deliver the project on time. This included the introduction of mass amounts of pre-cast concrete and other ‘grey’ materials that were relatively unfamiliar to the traditional Swedish material and colour palette.  This staircase in particular, emphasises the ‘ugliness’ that is all too common in these outer suburban developments. Many reasons contribute to why I personally deem this to be an example of ugliness within the built environment. The staircase, similar in style to that of Brutalist architecture, follows an aesthetic that is continually deemed by many as unpleasant and unwelcoming. Overtime these suburbs have been left to dirty and decay, creating neglected spaces that are unwelcoming and unpleasant to be situated within.  The staircase emphasises the continual challenge for architects and designers to create spaces that will age gracefully over time, something this space has failed to do. The build-up of dirt and scum from 50 years of exposure to natural elements makes it unattractive and dirty. The lack of forethought of maintenance has resulted in a space that has lost the architectural integrity and attractiveness that would’ve existed during the conception of the project. Along with the entirety of the suburb, neglection and a lack of maintenance has resulted in numerous spaces that are undesirable, ugly and unwelcoming. The main function of the square and staircase as a meeting place, is negatively affected by the use of cold grey and grimy materials. The array of greys used in the staircase in combination with black scum make it unwelcoming and unattractive as a space that is 14

the centre point for a community. Linking the metro to the local school, the staircase is intimidating and imposing on the Bredäng central square, rather than a gleaming trophy representative of the unified and welcoming community. Over time, the addition of multiple handrails destroys the crisp design integrity of the staircase that would’ve existed immediately after construction. Changes in rules and regulations often see additions to original pieces of infrastructure and architecture detracting from the composition of the initial idea or design. The unnecessary inclusion of two handrails on either side of the staircase creates visual clutter, detracting from the design as a whole. Sometimes in order to ensure its optimal functionality as a safe space, design integrity and attractiveness can be lost. To sum this up, the staircase is deemed ugly for a number of reasons including its unattractive aesthetics, compromised functionality, uncleanliness, lack of adaption and loss of design integrity. [HC}


Station Odenplan Odenplan, Stockholm This is a place 45 meters below ground, 35 meters below sea level. It’s one of the new hop on and hop of to the commuter train. Its takes a while to get down here, first you have to take several escalators. Once down the experience of being underground is not that obvious. Nor which stop this would be, or for that matter that this is actually is subway stop. The tracks are hidden, covered by big glass walls going from one side of the platform to the other. Only if I get close I can actually see the tracks running behind the big glass walls. When the train arrives the doors opens just enough so you can step into the shuttle. It is all very safe. But as I jump onboard I start wonder, how could I be able to judge the condition of the train that I am about to travel with might be in. I don’t feel very safe, I actually feel a little bit trapped. To me the feeling of being in a dead end space has taken the overhand. On The surface the impression is quite bright, due to all the shiny materials that creates a reflections everywhere. It is a lot of light bouncing around in here. The only matted surface is on the stone and metal benches in the middle of the hall where I earlier was sitting waiting for the train to arrive. The materials tells me that this place has to be easy to clean and to maintain. The focus has clearly been to use the most practical materials in that sense. The result gives very little contrast. Obviously there can be no windows here but there is this strange simulations in the sealing. Blueish lights that is supposed to give you the feel of daylight. I am confused. Is it an attempt to get your thoughts away from being underground, probably there are a lot of research behind this lights. But it makes me feel disorientated. I wonder if it is always a sunny down here, or do they actually synchronize with the weather outside? I wouldn’t like to be disappointment when get to the ground level. On a second thought this actually reminds more of an airport or a mall more than a train stop. I wonder if it is made on purpose that you should get your thoughts away from the train stop, to associate it with a different place than the commuter train. Maybe just being nostalgic but I miss a little bit of the feeling of the classic train stop, the excitement of actually walking beneath ground level, get in to the mountain room, the raw space shaped by the raw carving of the stonewalls. The ugly in this space is to me the deviation from the expected. When things do not actually occur as we 16

expected them to be. Maybe it is just a matter of me getting use to things. But it can also be that this place gives a false impression of what it actually is, trying to be something else, the surface docent match the overall architecture and some functions has had too much influence in the formation of this space. Resulting in a strange ambiguous expression that makes me feel lost and trapped. [HW]


Brunkebergstunneln Birger Jarlsgatan, Stockholm Looking for an ugly space made me think about the definition of the word ugly. I started by looking up the meaning and the etymology of it and I could determine that all the worlds related with ugly are involving subjective aspects. I went on with my reflections and I started questioning what’s ugly for me in terms of architecture so I came up with the fact that the feeling of ugly space is determined by the mental perception of the space rather than the physical one. The emotional space and the feelings that are coming up while beeing in the space are for me crucial in defining an environment as ugly. The subconscious and the capability of our brain to associate emotions to determined situations are playing an important role. The second important argument for describing an ugly space are the architectural components that make a space become architecture such as the actual physical aspect, the form, the proportions, the light and the materials. After making this definitions and reflections I started looking for an ugly space that could fit that definition. By walking in the city of Stockholm I run across the Brunkeberg Tunnel in Norrmalm, which I think is the space that most denotes this ugliness aspects I wrote about above. The tunnel is 230 meters long and just 4 meters high and wide. It was build as a shortcut to reach the other side of the neighborhoods, connecting Luntmakargatan to Birger Jarlsgatan, avoiding to go up and down the hill. The morphology and the proportions of the space are very strong and impressive, standing at the beginning of the tunnel and looking at the endless of it gives the observer a feeling of oppression, almost like a panic. The further you walk and the worst it gets until you reach the middle of it. It’s precisely there where you realize the impressive mass of earth and houses that you have above you, and the feeling of being in trap prevails of all the others. Having such a unproportioned space with just a way in and a way out so far away from each other is one of the worst feelings that a space can give you. It even reminds me of the first works of Bruce Nauman named Corridor, that creates very narrow, almost claustrophobic spaces that people needs to walk through, to show how space and architecture works on our minds. 18

Despite from the emotional space in the Brunkeberg Tunnel the atmosphere is totally unpleasant, it’s just making the feeling of being in a pretty functional transit space even more strong. Another aspect that made me think about the ugliness of the tunnel is the fact that the space is something similar to an underpass but at the same time it is a close environment with doors (open just from 6 to 22) that are delimiting a room and creating a strange environment that was unknown to me before. The ugliness of the materials and the colours coming together in a muddle composition is another argument that defines the space as ugly. What I think it’s very crucial in the characterization of the space is the combination and contrast of natural elements like the rocks and the artificial elements such as lamps placed by humans that shows the need of people to connect the two sides of the hill. [GC]


Plastic Drain Pipes Torsgatan 25/27, Stockholm Something that stirs the eyes and makes one stop and wrinkle the eyebrows. Something that bothers you to the extent that you make a mental effort to trouble your mind. Why or what, you can not let it go. So I wondering Ugly, what made you so? As I was wandering around searching for the ugly, I strangely instead seemed to find beauty. I went to places I remembered as ugly, but when I reached them, they had all been infected by beauty. Items that were not really beautiful somehow shone a bit extra and disturbed my mind. But as I was walking along Torsgatan on my way home, not thinking about either beauty or ugly, something suddenly caught my attention. From out of nowhere, a pair of downpipes annoyed my sight. I tried to ignore them and continue my walk home, but the pipes just kept on disturbing me and I had to go back to them. When I looked more closely at the pipes, I realised it was the newer added black plastic parts between the pipes that disturbed me. The plastic parts were ugly. Guts: The black plastic parts disturbed my eyes like a stone in the shoe. That feeling, my guts, is a subjective but strong feeling, hard to describe and hard to understand. We can all feel it, but we can never expect someone else to feel the exact same way. It might not be a reasonable reason, but still, it is on of my strongest argument, because all of my senses tells me that I do not like those plastic parts between the pipes. Tactility: Another reason for not appreciating the plastic parts, was because of the way the plastic does not act like the rest of the material within the space. The plastic does not get affected by weather or wind, and has no patina like the other surfaces. The plastic stand out among the rest of the materials, it has no living organic surface and a lack of tactile materiality. No Affection: Because of my open mind when I approached this ugly space, I did not feel any emotional connection to the site. My mind could not create any kind of affection to things around it. I think I found ”true” ugly because I was not searching for it and because my mind did not force itself to see something specific within the space. The pipes became truly ugly and the beauty did not infect the space because the space was seen on a neutral scene. Neither beauty nor ugly could enhance each other. Physical surrounding: The house where the downpipes are attached on is built 1928 in a Nordic Classicism style. The façades have earthy colours and the 20

age of the house does not connect with the plastic material, therefor the plastic does not fit the context and disturbs the sight. Mental surrounding: although the black plastic parts do their job and fill a functionality, they still have no sense of detail and wholeness. The façade, windows and doors of the building all carry some kind of honour of the handicraft, whereas the black plastic does not express any of these feelings. Function is in many ways beautiful, but if it lacks aesthetic values, it becomes ugly. [JP]


Laundry Room Ekebergabacken 4, Farsta My determined ugly space resides within the laundry room of my student accommodation building. The space resinates as “ugly” owing to its functional, emotional and aesthetically disjointed nature and isolation within the building. When perceiving the space, the thing that took me most as resolutely ugly was the emptiness and neglect so prevalent within the space. The space appears as an afterthought, with items simply placed wherever they may fit rather than being a considered within the space and the space being designed with program in mind. Adding to this feeling of ugliness is the neglect of the space, the lack of cleaning, the overflowing rubbish, the feeling that no one really cares for the space. The joint ownership of the space without a caretaker would also considerably contribute to its unruly nature. With so many people using the space, an attitude of “someone else will do it” will have undoubtedly taken over and thus the responsibility and sense of ownership is not present as it would be in a laundry room within a private dwelling where the owner is aware of their own duty of care and sense of pride. The irony is that a space set aside for cleaning is continually recognised as dirty and untidy; from the overflowing bin to the laundry powder spilt across the floor to create a build up of grime. The space alludes to the feeling that if you were to drop any of your clean garments on the floor you would need to put them right back into the washing machine to clean them again in attempt to remove any acquired filth, a place in which you would always wear shoes and have the feeling you need to wash your hands after visiting, a place that is, undoubtedly, ugly. To add to the displeasure of using the space, one must also deal with the frustration of one of the washing machines not working efficiently resulting in the user the needing to stop it from pausing every couple of minutes by pushing the resume button makes the whole process more painful and thus adding to the frustration of the space. Does the function and/or emotional connection to a space contribute to the perception of ugliness? Even if the space was somewhat presentable but still retained the same function would it still be perceived as ugly? The fact being that no one wants to spend their time doing their laundry, therefore, by extension, spend time within the space in which laundry is done. By being associated with an undesirable activity the space 22

is linked with negative connotations and perceived therefore as uglier than it may be otherwise. Similarly, if your family dog was undoubtedly ugly but sweet and kind you would love it regardless and see the beauty within it, however, if one day it’s temperament was to change and it were to bit you its flaws would be amplified and you would come to detest even the most minor things based on the fact you did not like the thing itself. In this case the mental association of laundry negatively influence space. Aesthetically the room does nothing much to save it from its perceived ugliness, the old linoleum flooring discoloured faded and stained, the bare walls, outdated machinery lit by square windows dressed with broken venetian blinds that only allow in fragmented light and highlight the dirtiness and neglect. The journey to the space is equally as ugly, the transition from corridor to holding room to laundry space creates a feeling of isolation and detachment from the rest of the building, as if you are being outcast from everyday life to partake in the act of laundry. The combination of the isolation and untidiness contributes to the uncomfortable feeling of the space which is exasperated by the fact that this is not a place many people want to be in the first place, laundry not being a desirable task and the laundry room itself being nothing to be desired. It is within this space we find the truly ugly. [MT]


Metro Station Rådmansgatan, Stockholm Since there is not only one definition of ugliness there is neither only one way to find an ugly space. On one hand we simply consider a place as ugly because it is dirty or not well maintained. On the other hand we might perceive something as ugly because it does not fit the notion of beauty of the specific time or culture we are living in. I consider this place as ugly for the reason what Marc Augé describes as a “non-place”. It is not as much about this specific metro station, about the yellow tiles or the artificial light, but rather about the space as a non-place in general. “If a place can be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity, then a space which can not be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-place.” (Marc Augé, Non-Places, 1994) The space shown in the picture is the metro station Rådmansgatan. As usual for a metro station the passageway is underground with no relation to the outside or to the city of Stockholm. There is no daylight and with only the artificial light you can not say what time of a day it is or whether it is sunny or rainy outside. For the time underground you get disconnected to your actual surrounding. You find yourself in a place with no historical context and no identity. At the same time you could find yourself in another city or even in another country without noticing any significant differences. The metro station is a site that is betwixt and between here and there. It is never the final destination but rather only a stop on our way. As the word “passageway” describes this space does not hold any facilities to linger or rest because it is only meant for transit. In these spaces of transience the human beings remain anonymous and every individual is treated exactly the same. As soon as you step down and enter the gate you become just a passenger. While this fact may give you some kind of freedom, it makes you lonely as well. A place should offer people a space that empowers their identity, where they can meet other people with whom they share social references. The non-places, on the contrary, are not meeting spaces and spaces we want spend more time at than necessary. Finally, a non-place is a place we do not live in and we do not remember. Non-places do not hold enough significance to be regarded as “places” or as Edward Ralph stated: „[The] weakening of the identity of places to the point where they not only look alike but feel alike and offer the same bland possibil24

ities for experience“ (Edward Relph, place and placelessness,1976). The lack of identity makes the perception of these spaces identical, no matter in which geographical place you are. Even the advertisements are promoting the same brands all over the world and the same coffee shops are awaiting you around the corner. It feels like an endless repetition of the same. The forces of globalization and urbanization are creating ever more of these non-places in which “people are always, and never, at home”. [NR]


Steel Gates Bredäng underground station, Stockholm This space is locating at the end of the metro stop of Bredäng. Several steel gates standing at the platform which is to prevent people falling over into the tracks. The photo is taken at the time that the train has not yet arrived. This might look very normal to some people who used to see this construction. However, the space is very ugly in my point of view. Admittedly, the steel gates are well functioned and looks normal while the train arrived, because it served as a protection for passengers. On the other hand, it does not do anything if the train is not approaching. These steel structures standing here like a redundant object and do not play well with the contexts. Based on the material, the steel gate gives people a cold feeling. Other than its protective function, it is also express an imprisoned sense because of the steel bars that standing in front of people. From the scale point of view, it does not become proportional with the platform and human scale. In terms of detailing, there is a door in the middle of the gates. One side of the door is on the lifted platform, but the other side is the trail on the ground level. Therefore, the function of this door is not fulfilled because it is impossible to use. Having a fake door does not make sense and this idea of providing non-sense facility is pretty ugly. Everything that exist has reasons, then we could speculate that accident could have happened in the past so that these “fences” meant to be protecting passengers from traffic accidents. From the arrangement of the gate, the area that is being protected is very limited. The accident could still happen even though with the steel gates. Therefore, it is not very effective in terms of functions. If the object is not well-functioned, then it became a symbol. Apparently, the idea of having protection was very good, but not so good when it missed its value. In my perspective, the steel gate could be established in another way, also a better way in order to have both function and aesthetics. In fact, it is not the only steel gate I noticed since the first time taking the metro. I have seen the same ugly solution in multiple metro stations. Maybe no one will really have questioned why the gate is being done in that way because once one sees it for a long time, it is easy to get used to it. In the end, I think this space could be designed in a


better way so that people are more appreciate the space live in. [SW]


Apartment Building Årstaberg, Stockholm My friend lives in a very nice new flat with her husband and two kids. They have two large balconies and a lots of windows. But the hallways, and staircase, that leads to the apartments in the building are nothing special. For example, the elevator is generous, but also quite uninteresting. There’s nothing outrageous about the hallways, the spaces are actually very common looking, and that’s the main reason why I think this becomes even more irritating than a space that looks completely weird or strange. This is the type of ugliness that depresses you if it becomes dominant, but it usually just takes over one small part at a time. I’ll try to explain. #1. There’s a complete lack of quality. The room is very symmetrical and rectangular with doors leading to the different flats, and to the staircase. Without contact with other rooms or spaces, all you see is doors. Walls are painted white, and the plastic floor is in a dark grey colour. There’s nothing visible to be upset about, no obvious mistakes and no harsh colours or shapes. If you look closely you can see that the detailing is not very good, but it’s not unusually bad either. The materials are very basic. Something about it gives you the feeling that the room is still under construction, it doesn’t look completely finished. You feel like there is something missing. It is this lack of quality that makes it ugly. #2. The lighting situation is not helping. Since there are no windows, no natural light reaches the room. Three ceiling lamps give out a homogenous white light. Most of the time only one of them is lit: the one outside the elevator. The light therefore appears very dull and foggy. #3. It’s a space that no one remembers. After staring for a while into the void that is the hallway you lose track of where you are. Could this be a hospital? Or a prison? The problem with such a generic space is that it looks institutional. There is not only a lack of qualities, there is a lack of identity. I would imagine that most people, even the people that live in the building, could have a hard time describing the hallway from memory. There is simply nothing to remember. #4. It’s a space without potential. So many of these ugly spaces go unnoticed through our daily lives, but does it mean they don’t influence us? After staring at the space it does give you a sad feeling. I reckon most people just rush through the hall and get on with their lives. It’s not a place you linger in. And that’s 28

how it loses all potential of becoming a social space. Nobody will try to personalize this space. There will never be flowerpots in the corners, (they would only die anyway). The space becomes despotic through its ugliness, and it kills all attempts of claiming it. #5. It’s a neglected space. Not that it’s not cared for or maintained, it’s nice and clean. There is rather a neglect in the design of this room. Priorities have been made, and the connective spaces in the house were clearly not one of them. I assume that resources have been taken from the collective spaces and reinvested into the individual flats.When you show a lack of care for these spaces, it also entails a message that shared spaces are unimportant.The problem, to me, is that these neglected spaces represent something. It’s not only the connection between the flats and the street; it is the connection between the tenants, the space they own together. And the neglect of these spaces is such an ugly failure. [ME]


Odenplan Escalators Odenplan, Stockholm This place, which earlier where a small scale space with short stairs in stone, has been transformed into something that for me feels like an attempt to only be efficient. It gave me the impression of a misplaced attempt to do something new and with an urban touch. A gesture that we recognize from airports. The visual quality in the old subways is completely removed, I even miss the small frames for commercials which usually dresses the walls along the stairs and escalators. The new design shows an almost perverted interest in the shape of the escalators. The design clearly emphasizes the direction and depth of the escalators. The room in this newly built train station, which starts after the ticket barriers, is approximately 7 meter wide and 4 meter deep before the beginning of the escalators. The ceiling is white and parted; the first part has long diagonal metal slabs which leads to and follow the elevator and the escalators. The second part of the ceiling uses small gaps to create a striped effect. The walls are yellow and shiny and feels very solid, the light from the roof reflects in this material. The floor is parted, the first part is sand-beige tiles 30x30 cm. The drain-system makes a verge and after that the floor is all black and the tiles become larger. The room has an enormous width with overly long stairs. In my opinion, this is a bad example of making a public space: It’s too wide and there are no nice things to rest your eyes on. It‘s a room where the function is all it is. Even the new tunnels for cars have more quality with art and lights, and this despite the fact that you as a driver need to have your full attention on driving. The architectural approach of using guiding elements is completely unnecessarily in this case. There are three escalators and one elevator in a wide row, there is simply no risk at getting lost. All this is very unhelpful for people with a fear of heights and in that aspect this makes an architectural disaster with the stripes exaggerate the very steep direction of the escalator. I you would have liked something to focus my eyes on and to distract me from the vertigo of the long ride to the platform. I would prefer more art, more walls, which would create paths so the height wouldn’t become so obvious and frightening. The escalator takes you 30 meters down in to the ground. The elevator follows the same direction as the escalators. It has a glass door and on top of that we have all the other walls, which is also made of glass. None


of the options provide a distraction from the situation. You see right through the elevator and straight down in the gap along the escalators. Even the lights follow the same direction. Like they are leaning you straight to the big gap which in my mind feels like going directly to hell. [TA]



An incomplete ABC of ugly architecture

Abject ”Rejected; cast aside” Originally explored, and in a sense coined, by Julia Kristeva in her 1982 book “Powers of Horror1: An Essay on Abjection”, the abject, or the act of abjection, is when the border between what is “self” and “other” is distorted or diluted. It may be best described as a separation of one’s selves, whether they are the physical self, the cultural self or any other self one might construct. The abjection is horror. Vomit breaking this barrier exposing our biological inside or seeing a corpse separated from all human traits apart from a physical body. Kristeva argues that we construct our self on the notion of being our own being, with clear borders towards what is us and isn’t. Breaking this border, mixing our carefully constructed self with everything else, not being separate, questions our own identity and “individual soul”, causing horror.1 When presented with the abject, there are usually two normal approaches when examining various cultures. The act of turning away or the act of destroying it. For example, one can look at the way homosexuality is presented in North Korea, where the case is made that homosexuality simply doesn’t exist, the act of turning away. When it comes to destruction, the reaction can take a more literal meaning, for example the Royal Institute of British Architects’ suggested national “X list”, containing “vile buildings” that should be demolished, suggesting that they damage their surroundings. Concepts similar to the abject has existed since ancient Greece and show up within architecture frequently. One example, written before Kristeva, is Adolf Loos’ ”Ornament and Crime” (1908). He positions the ornament as “wasteful labour”, which he connects to the erotic, finally coming to the famous conclusion that ornament is shit. Modernism itself is very much intertwined with abjection. It was built for a new clean human, separated from all its bodily fluids and the

dirt of everyday life. In “Advertisements for Architecture”, Bernard Tschumi touches on modernism and the abject in presenting an image of the decaying Villa Savoye (1976-1977), pointing out the irony in the building’s fall from grace. A more contemporary example relating directly to the abject is Zuzana Kovar’s thesis from 2014,” Productive Leakages: Architecture in Abject(ion)”, where she tries to adjust it for usage beyond the original bodily interpretation while also working out Kristeva’s (and psychoanalysis’) shortcomings.3 While the idea of psychoanalysis is compelling, it’s important to remember its position in contemporary psychology and philosophy. Psychoanalysis is mostly gone from contemporary psychology, dismissed as pseudoscience. And while recent research in the unconscious (fMRI, PET-scans, etc.) sometimes align with the classical psychoanalytic ideas, there is no consensus as to whether this partly validates psychoanalysis or makes it irrelevant.3 [AL] Asymmetry Asymmetry is the lack of components that makes the figure not look symmetrical to the determined axis. The asymmetry can be a theme speaking about ugly architecture and is usually disturbing when is not meant to be, or whenever it occurs an error and the result looks asymmetrical. The asymmetry is connected with the lack of something or more strongly with the unfinished character that a certain object or architecture gets when the symmetry is not ruling. Symmetry and asymmetry are concepts that were always very important causes of research in arts and architecture. Starting from the Greek that were one of the first known that were amazed by symmetry and after studying it also reproduced it in their architecture. From that age is also the etymology of the word symmetry/asymmetry derived, syn- and metron means


“with measure” a concept that is strongly related to the words proportion and harmony therefore also with beauty. Speaking about asymmetry the concept is then the opposite: disharmony and unproportionate. The interest for symmetry reached then the Roman and especially relevant for architecture is Vitruvius’ essay De Architectura in which the theorist says that just conforming to symmetry an architectural work can be considered beautiful; this opinion remained constant through the time included the Renaissance. With symmetry the ancients also intended the numerical relation between the components of the whole, so called commensurable relation between the elements. This concept was also very important to explain the establishment of the natural things and the human beeing, paradigm of this is the Vitruvian man drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in which is shown that the human body is a perfect symmetrical object. During the Renaissance another of the most important theorists of architecture writes about symmetry in his works De re aedificatoria and De pictura, supporting Vitruvius’ considerations about symmetry in architecture. [GC] Boring The English word bored was first encountered in 1768 and adopted into the English dictionary in 1778. This tells us that it is a rather late phenomena for society. First it was used by the upper class, but are nowadays a well-known dilemma and overrepresented issue in the western society. For someone who are fighting for one’s existing boring is not an issue. Once the basic needs of survival has been secured, humanity face the question of what is the purpose of actually existing. Boredom occurs and constitutes the dilemma of existing that the welfare society are facing. It comes hand in hand with welfare and much of all our life’s is about to elaborate ways that makes us not face the time being alone with oneself in silence. To have a boring time is also often seen as a failure for many people in the western world. Boredom can like ugly take form in different ways for example the boredom of repetitiveness, the boredom of familiar, the boredom of too much or the boredom of emptiness. But there can in a psychological matter be separated in two different groups. First there is the simple boredom that is about the things that you can experience in our everyday life. It gets noticeable just as something starts to get repetitive and no longer developing. This type of boredom are characterized by length and duration, the longer we do the same thing the less developing it gets and 34

also more and more boring. When you start feeling this boredom time also seems to slow down. Doing this long enough we start to feel like depersonalized and stated. But when we are bored there is nothing to do but to think. That also makes it crucial for creativity to take place. Boredom are a necessity to creativity. Most creativity actually comes from people doing a certain thing to many times and wants to make it in a different way than it comes from a problem needs to be solved. Boredom stimulates creativity more than nothing else. Then it almost becomes a paradox in today when everything is created so you wouldn’t get bored jet are we more and more looking for creativity as an important qualification in society. The second type of boredom is more complex and it is the philosophical sickness. It can take form in many different conditions like we call, melancholia, depression, ennui and acedia to give some examples. This has to do more with existential questions and not seeing any purpose with life. Boredom gives us the feeling of emptiness. Emptiness in itself is a reminder of something that we cannot ignore aldo we try our hardest to avoid it. It is the time before we was born and the time when we won’t exist anymore. This reminder gets us to feel unpleasant and depressed. [HW] Confused The word “Confused” is being used fairly common. It describes a feeling of being lost. When someone feels confusion during a conversation or reading a text, it means that things do not make sense in their perspective. “Confused” could be subjective, things that do not make sense for you might be very understandable to other people. In architectural field, ugly may not directly relate to aesthetics of the building, but affected by user experience. “Confused” in this context expressed a feeling of disorientation, which made the architecture ugly. In my perspective, an ugly building could be built by a famous architect but associated with disorienting spatial organization for example, I remembered being in a famous building where I hardly find out my specific location. The space orientated in a confusing way that wherever I go, the surrounding looks the same to me. I felt like I was keep walking back and forth to and end up being in the same place even though I was not. The confusion gets worse especially while I was in a hurry and I hardly find any plan drawings of the building. Eventually I got lost and had to ask around for direction. Then I tried to get used to the space

by memorizing the layout of furniture or the outside views. Unfortunately, it was not the only time for me being lost in that building, sometimes it still happens. However, I think the space could be more oriented by implementing diverse colors to differentiate the function of each space. Therefore, colors play a role of guidance in space and neutralize the ugliness of the building. Confusion is not only associated with its interior to exterior spatial experience, but also exits in a larger picture such as the comparison of building and its contexts. In other words, “confused” is perceived when a building is isolated from the surroundings. Even a cool building can be ugly. Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, which designed by Zaha Hadid will be an example. Although the architecture won many design prizes mainly on the craft, concept and its complexity of structure which became an iconic design of Baku, it is still considered ugly when you put it in the unique urban contexts. Not to mention the background of how it was led by brutal and principle-free politician who exploited economic collapse because this associated with another series of political issues. The building itself looks like it ignored the culture and history background of the surrounding neighborhood and creates a confusion and made people wondering why this architecture stands here? The design of Heydar Aliyev Center seemed to only achieve Zaha Hadid’s ambitions and lack of certain feelings of friendliness to the unique local context. When the building became exotic and bizarre in a larger picture, it is ugly in this specific scenario. Moreover, zooming out to an even bigger picture into religions or cities, confusion exists in the skyline of an area. If a building is tall enough to interrupt the rhythm of skyline, it also considered ugly. The example will be the Montparnasse tower which dominated the skyline of Paris. It is ugly because the building is plain and seemed like it is extruded from nowhere. [SW]

own form or its context. A totally oversized entrance can present a sense of smallness, give an excessive respect for the building and can even give us the feeling that we are guarded or surveyed. Or, for example, if the material is very harsh in relation to the surroundings, like smooth dark or dirty concrete walls, towering up with minimal window openings. The proportions can also be reversed. An overly small building, where we have to crawl, like in a bunker, cave or a submarine or that we feel there is a risk that we will not be able to get out. A creepy building can be a building to which we relate to as a mean building. And where we feel that we are not welcome or a building we relate to as a house of power. A creepy building can also be a building with a lot of ornaments that lead our minds to things we think of as scary. Ornaments that show body parts, especially in the form of remnants or skeletal parts. Or dangerous animals we inherently despise like snakes and spiders. A creepy building can be a deserted building, where nature has taken over and the feeling of unexpected surprises dominates. Mold and moisture gives a sense of unhealthiness that is also associated with creepiness, or for example if the house gives off sound: dripping from the roofs, creaking beams, clapping walls. Houses for religions that we don’t share can also give us a creepy feeling, especially if they are general enough to be easily recognized. Buildings that look like something other than buildings, resembling heads or animals, or if it has to much of an organic form so that we start to think about squids or bodily organs. Creepiness can occur if there is a mistake that is repeated over and over again, and there is a totally lack of interest to do something about this constant flawed behavior. I think this can be translated to the mass production of soulless buildings that so often pop up when an area is about to be exploited. Where the money is in control of the building process instead of the values of sustainability. [TA]

Creepy disgusting, eerie , evil, foul, ghastly, gruesome, horrid scary Creepy is a term that relates to our feelings. When something is creepy, a pure physical reaction can occur in the body. The hair on the arms rises and the stomach tells us that something is wrong. Our senses alert us on the danger. A certain type of architecture can send out these messages. For example, an architecture that plays on our past experiences, that questions our values or a building that we associate with too much authority. It can be a building with too large proportions in relation to its

Cynical Modern Cynicism: Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives.4 A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human species or people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. Modern cynicism has been defined as an attitude of distrust toward claimed ethical and social values and a rejection of the need to be socially involved. It


is pessimistic in regards to the capacity of human beings to make correct ethical choices, and one antonym is naiveté.5 Modern cynicism is sometimes regarded as a product of mass society, especially in those circumstances where the individual believes there is a conflict between society’s stated motives and goals and actual motives and goals.6 The term originally derives from the ancient Greek philosophers, the Cynics, who rejected all conventions, whether of religion, manners, housing, dress, or decency, instead advocating the pursuit of virtue in accordance with a simple and idealistic way of life. Cynicism in Architecture: Cynicism appears to be the dominant affect of our time. Cynicism is our immunitary response to an environment ruled by abstract procedures, harsh competition, and existential precarity, and the mode through which we organise and produce our desires today. Architects share this mood, as they participate to the present knowledge-based economy and the dangers of its work environments. Philip Johnson, who began emerging in the 1960s, is the man who in 1982 responded to criticism of one of his projects by declaring “I do not believe in principles. … I am a whore and am paid very well for building high-rise buildings.” For many observers, the cynicism of this statement finds a correlative not only in Johnson’s buildings but also in his impish if articulate sponsorship of every new architectural trend, no matter how meretricious. One feature of an architectural cynicism tends to reduce the architectural to media effects, in other words to rely on the absence of architectural judgement on the part of the public. With the aid of procedures that are largely propagandistic in nature, attempts are made to mislead the public through all manner of publicity campaigns. ‘Events’ are created around monuments that stand for themselves, outside of any context and in the absence of any rule. 7 [XK] Dirty Dirtiness most commonly refers to the state of something being unclean, soiled or marked. The word does not always refer to the physical condition of an item, but can also refer to acts of dishonesty, or foul mindedness. In relation to Architecture, dirtiness plays a large role and is commonly associated with ugliness in the built environment. Unclean, scummy and tarnished buildings are often a result of poor maintenance or material choices that in turn can create undesirable pieces of work. When covered in dirt and grime the aesthetics of the building change, meaning the quality of a design can 36

sometimes be masked or unclear. For example, Brutalist architecture is often criticised as being ugly, not only for its bold design, but often for the fact that the concrete doesn’t age very well under natural elements. Even though the aesthetics may be classified as sterile, this architecture is associated with uncleanliness and scum. And although grunginess can sometimes result in beauty, dirtiness is very often associated with ugliness. Furthermore, a rather different aspect of the term ‘dirty’ architecture is the relation between built structures and parts of the human body. As sex often infiltrates almost all outlets of creative human expression, many claim that some pieces of architecture exemplify this notion. For example, it is becoming more and more common for phallic shaped towers to appear in our city skylines. Often criticised for their questionable shape, Torre Glòries of Barcelona by Jean Nouvel and 30 St Mary Axe of London by Norman Foster have attracted unexpected attention and remained in the spotlight for their unusual design. Although probably not deliberate, the general public likes to make ugly comparisons. In addition to many phallic shaped buildings, Zaha Hadid Architects came under criticism for their design of the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup Stadium. Due to it’s muted pink glow, large opening in the centre, and smooth humanlike curves, the stadium was said to resemble that of female genitalia. Although Zaha Hadid responded to critics saying their opinions were “embarrassing” and “ridiculous”, the dirty minds of the public do not go unheard. Even though projects like this are probably not designed to become ‘dirty’ architecture, the public will believe what they want, and the associations with these designs can make them seem incredibly ugly as a piece of infrastructure. [HC] Disharmony Disharmony and harmony are concepts based on the relation between two elements building a whole. Harmony is strongly related with the proportion and the composition of elements whose aim is searching for beauty. One could question the fact that harmony is a personal and subjective feeling that changes depending from who’s the subject, but actually there are many studies done to confirm that harmony is not just a subjective thing but can be defined from a certain correlation between the elements. One of the most known relationships between elements is the golden ratio that is defined to be the most aesthetically pleasant proportion between the

parts creating a very harmonious ensemble. The golden section was a very determining factor in architecture, from the greek temples to Le Corbusier, going through the renaissance palazzo and the gothic cathedral this ratio always comes up. Other academic and scientists tried to explain harmony by studying natural phenomenons and proportions such as flowers and butterflies. The natural fundamentals were then applied to architecture and arts, with the aim of “naturalizing” the built to the human eye. [GC]

lished, then the buildings dishonesty will be reflected in its expression. Dishonest intentions: Another way of dishonesty can be seen within the building industry when companies advert their intentions behind falls selling arguments. Project claims to follow guidelines to be certificated as environment friendly but are in fact not working for the environment in other aspects, or when building projects pitch ideas for low budget housing but ends up with expensive private housing excluding the lower classes. [JP]

Dishonest Fraudulent, corrupt, cheating, devious, unfair, unjust, false, untruthful, deceiving, shady Dishonesty can be a behaviour and an expression. It can be something untrustworthy, deceitful or insincere, something intend to mislead or cheat, or to appear true and real until examined more closely. The dishonesty does not appears until the fraud is revealed, and is in one way depending on the truth and the honesty. In architecture dishonesty is commonly discussed when Modernism is trying to express its values and magnitude. According to Modernism, dishonesty is expressed when the architecture does not show its functions and intentions. When modern constructions for example are hidden behind historical forms and ornaments it was considered ugly. When the surface is only a “sticky” cover instead of the actual building itself, the surface, and the building itself, becomes dishonest. Dishonest material and form: A dishonest form or material is something that express what it is not, like the décor of the scene in a theatre. It perceives as a lie. The same can be experienced in spaces and architecture when material tries to act to accent an authentic atmosphere. An example of this is often shown in pizzeria restaurants when patterns of bricks are displayed on to the walls. The bricks are not real but usually a wallpaper or a fake replica glued onto a plaster wall, which intend to look old and rustic. This dishonesty does not work thorough, deep or complete, and becomes dishonest. Dishonest process: Behind the surface of a building, another dishonesty can arise. The way the building has been built can be dishonest in many ways, for example within the working conditions of the employers. Dangerous working environments, lack of security or illegal workers are examples of dishonest building processes. This dishonesty rarely affect how people perceive the building if not the fraud is being pub-

Dysfunctional Function describes the purpose an object such as a building has to fulfill. Dysfunctional is something which is not behaving or working normally, something that failed its purpose and therefore something which does not serve the function it is meant for. Architecture arose from the need of protection. The first architectural approaches were meant to keep the humans save from weather and wild animals. It served as a shelter against the elements and thus it was built for a certain function. The function of a house is the fulfillment of its purpose. Vitruvius defined the three principles of architecture as firmitas, utilitas and venustas. If architecture is dysfunctional it does not fulfill the requirement of utilitas anymore. Function is therefore one of the major goals to achieve in an architectural design. This includes functional processes and the technical function of the building envelope as well as aesthetic and non-technically functions, which a building has to fulfill. That said a building can be dysfunctional on different levels. Building and buildings are not always successful due to different circumstances. They can be dysfunctional from the beginning when they are not achieving the overall purpose they were intended for, due to insufficient craftsmanship, poor materials, or the lack of knowledge. Furthermore a building can become dysfunctional over time owing to a lack of maintenance, a change of the use or the program. It does not have to be a matter of the material properties, but of the social aspects of architecture, the ways in which people inhabit it or the consequences of global economic development, which lead to dysfunctionality. Architecture differs from other fine arts through its function. The degree of dysfunctionality may decide whether an object is still seen as architecture or whether it becomes something else. With that in mind it is interesting to look at some art works dealing


with buildings. For example the American artist Gordon Matta-Clark worked with run-down abandoned buildings and turned them into art works. If they were not already dysfunctional at the time he started working with them, they certainly were after he finished. By dissecting existing buildings, slicing into and opening them up, peeling façades of these structures he was turning them into sculptures. SITE was another group, which was working with dysfunctional architecture to investigate the psychological effect of architecture. Their work can be seen as a critique of architecture through architecture. [NR] Evil Evil architecture conceived as wicked and profoundly immoral, associating and/or materializing harmful purposes towards the subject. Extremely unpleasant architecture, and therefore ugly.8 Passable of being a) the product of an evil cultural, social or political background context, b) the product of evil intentions or c) the product of evil materializations. Evil architecture as a product of an evil background Whenever the architectural product is formulated in total accordance to a background context credited as wicked. The analysis of such architectural creations ignores the domains of aesthetics and of functionality, focusing its perception of ugliness in the object solemnly as a repercussion of its faulty background of creation.The Via della Conciliazione, connecting the Castel de Sant’Angelo to Saint Peter’s Square in Rome may be seen as an example that fits the description stated above. Its construction, held between 1936 and 1950, by the fascist architects Marcello Piacentini and Attilio Spaccarelli under the rule of Benito Mussolini, embodies the values of nationalism and imposition, serving as statement of power and political propaganda. Evil architecture as a product of evil intentions Whenever the architectural product is formulated in accordance, and to obey a certain range of intentions perceived as immoral. In cause is no longer the background of such architectonic formulation but instead the immediate purposes for its creation. The perception of the object as ugly derives directly from the evilness of the reasons behind its creation. The Polygone Riviera Shopping Centre in Cagnessur-Mer, France, stands as an example of an ugly architectonic creation due to its inherent ideas of fomenting extreme consumerism. This same principle could be applied not only to this specific example, but to the all majority of shopping centres across 38

the globe. In this specific case its aesthetic, although questionable, is a distraction from the true ugliness behind its construction: the promotion of the temporary, of the disposable and of the abusive consumption of goods. Evil architecture as a product of evil materializations Whenever the architectural product reproduces in itself and externally assumes characteristics intended to physically harm the subject. This happens necessarily due to the overlapping of an evil background, to the underlying of evil intentions or to both. Ugliness arises when the object of architecture is perceived as purposely capable of originating in the subject physical discomfort, physical pain, grave injuries, or even death. The Treblinka Extermination Camp is one of mankind’s strongest examples of ugly architectonic creation due to evil materializations. Both the context of its construction and the underlying intentions play a significant role in the characteristics of its program, intended to function as a well-oiled killing machine. Someone had to measure and draw the multiple killing chambers, had to study the correct placement for the gas entries and the entry doors, and to assure circulations and evacuations. Ugliness reflects itself therefore in the materialization of an architectural object that comes from a context that wants the subject dead, that has the intention to kill him, and that has the means and power to materialize a space capable of doing so. A psychopath that creates a killing chamber just for the sake of killing is a producer of evil architecture which may lack an evil background, but still complies evil intentions. [AP] Excluding Excluding architecture (unpleasant design, hostile architecture, defensive architecture) Exclusion is the act of not allowing someone or something to take part in an activity or to enter a place. Therefore Excluding Architecture is designed to prevent people of doing something or going somewhere. It is used as an instrument of social control in public spaces and at the same time in private spaces, which are accessible to the public. The variety of Excluding Architecture goes from large scale interventions in terms of urban planning to even intangible soundbased strategies. While some examples are more invisible other interventions are more physical and undisguised. Nevertheless they stay often unnoticed by most of the people, only apparent to those who are being excluded. In this way, excluding architecture

functions as a form of regulation; it constrains the behaviour of those who interact with it. Excluding architecture can take many forms. In the larger context street grid layouts, one-way streets, the absence of sidewalks and crosswalks, and other design elements can shape the demographics of a city and isolate a neighbourhood from those surrounding it. Walls and fences separate historically, from private properties, neighbourhoods and even cities. Other interventions intentionally fail to be comfortable and flexible. Seats are designed to slope, benches are divided through armrests or result in being just slim slats to stand and rest against. Also concrete and metal spikes are used stopping people from sleeping on the streets. Less physical interventions are done by using sound-based strategies, water sprinklers or even lighting. They are designed to prevent and deter a certain group of people and while doing so, affecting everyone else as well. Unlike interactions with security guards or police officers, these physical features are non-negotiable. Their permanence is definitive and uncompromising denying a potentially complex range of uses and interactions. Excluding architecture is by no means a new phenomenon. Throughout history, people have used varied methods to exclude undesirable individuals from places where they were not wanted. The wealthy and privileged have always been excluding people and activities that they perceived as a threat through gated settlements and private communal gardens. In the 18th and 19th centuries, iron railings were used to enclose London’s garden squares, allowing views into the open space and access for residents, while keeping the public out. By moving to the suburbs they were separating themselves from the danger of the city as well as getting away from the pollution. In recent years, more and more excluding architecture became a important instrument to deal with unpleasant circumstances. Growing social inequalities foster these architectures of protection, control and exclusion. The architecture of our cities is a powerful guide to behaviour, both directly and in its symbolism. [NR]

makes them ugly. Exploitive architecture is not just associated with a single building but with the affiliation and the host. Exploitive architecture is also referring to parasitic architecture. Its ugliness based on several aspects, such as the contrast of materials; functions and proportions. In terms of materials, there is an example of a hut that suspended on the side of a hotel in San Francisco to minimize the cost of building its own structure from scratch. With a wooden structure connecting to a white concrete hotel, the hut stands out in the city and does not creates a feeling of belonging. The wooden hut broke the unity of the existing hotel and its surrounding neighborhood. Another example related to the function of utilizing space. It is only a proposal, but the ugliness has already penetrated in the renderings of the project. A series of modular residential project is proposing nestle on the giant concrete find of the communications tower in Toronto, which is a tourist attraction of Canada. This concept of inviting housing project into a landmark does saved space and extra cost of building its own structure. However, this exploitive combination destroys the purity of CN tower. In my perspective, this solution is not only creating a disconnection from a residential project and to communication tower but also discontinuity of the structure itself with the rest of the city. Therefore, it is considered an ugly decision if the project would really happen. The last project that belongs to parasitic architecture is called detached, where the ugliness came from the disproportion between affiliation and the host. The project is a series of private cabins that rose above the rooftops of tall buildings in Athens. The concept is to rethink a way for a residential project escaping from busy urban environment and hidden in wilderness. Furthermore, this project has a potential of developing into other metropolitan cities. With a single project benefiting the amazing view of the city forms the exclusiveness to the larger society. Moreover, the proportion of the cabins and their hosts creates a big detachment with the city, thus made this assembly discreteness and ugly. [SW]

Exploitive From the dictionary, “exploitive� interprets a situation that someone is treated in an unfair way in order to gain an advantage or benefit. An exploitive architecture could be affiliating programs on the existing structure. In most situations, adding on programs is not considering the integrity of existing building so that they create a disharmonious combination which

False Artificial, assumed, bad, delusive, faithlessly, fake, faux, fictitious, fictive, imitation, insincere, meretricious, off-key, pretended, sham, simulated, untrue, If we consider a building to be fake, it can mean several things.One important reason can be the choice of materials.If the material pretends to be a different material than it actually is, we find it to be fake, an


imitation. It can be regarding a significant material for the structure of the building or a decorative material: A linoleum floor with wooden patterns, a wall or column painted with marble pattern to mimic natural stone or marble. A brick wall made of decorative tile. A building with divisions that shows that it consists of three floors, but in fact it has six floors. If what we see turns out to be something else than what we thought we saw, we feel like we are being cheated and mislead. If this is bad or not, it is a matter for each individual person. Certainly, someone is pleasantly surprised by the fact that the reality does not match the image, but the dominant reaction is probably the opposite. Usually because the imitated materials are of a lower quality or durability than the material imitated and that hence the feeling of disappointment will arise. An exception here would be if the imitated material is not environmentally sustainable in itself and we then feel relief that the limited resource in question has not been used. A sense of false architecture can also occur if the building looks to be something that it is not: A safe building for children, refugees, a foster home, a locker room, a church, where security is used for abuse. A prison from which it has been a lot of prisoners escaping. A community house or a government building in a country where authority is corrupt. There is a debate about building houses, which look a bit like they were built in another time, also called a pastiche. Where to draw the line for pastiche is also something for every individual person to decide. Where is the timeline for contemporary buildings? Can that be a question with different answers for different generations? If we feel that a contemporary housing area looks like it was built a hundred years ago, it evokes a feeling of betrayal and falseness. [TA] Fake A ‘fake’ is generally referred to as something that is considered not genuine, an imitation or counterfeit. In relation to Architecture, it is very common and there is a whole range of buildings that we don’t classify as genuine. This can be explained through a number of factors including (but not limited to) imitation, replicas and heritage reconstructions. Since globalisation, imitation architecture has become ever so common. It is not uncommon to see a French Provincial style house in the suburban streets of Melbourne, Australia, or a Spanish Style villa in the hills of Hollywood, USA. These imitations of architecture can be classified as ugly as they are styles withdrawn from their historical context, and placed in 40

a completely unrelated environment. These replicas can also be perceived as ugly as they reflect modern societies desire to ‘have it all’ whilst simultaneously disregarding the architectural style and its context. In addition to imitations, replica architecture can be found all across the globe. It can be defined as ugly fake architecture as it is unoriginal, and a complete copy of another design. An example, Las Vegas consists of multiple replica icons such as the Eiffel Tower, and the Statue of Liberty. The desire to recreate these icons in different locations can be seen as ugly as it reflects mankind’s consumerist behaviour. Furthermore, fake architecture can also be described as a construction that is not true to its heritage. In many places it is common practice to rebuild monuments or treasured pieces that we once had, in the exact same style as their predecessor. This can be looked upon as ugly, as a rebuild can often lie about the buildings history and heritage. To build a Gothic church in modern times would be classified as fake, as the Architectural style reflects a significant movement that lasted until the 16th century. Of course, revivals occurred, but to build this way in the 21st century would not only be faking it, but it would economically unviable. Fake architecture can fall under a number of categories, but can also just refer to cheap and nasty architecture that is not classified as a genuine piece of design, therefore being deemed ugly. [HC] Identity Following Rosenkranz views on ugliness and beauty, an ugly identity would be one that is not complete or flawless in the sense that nothing could be added to or deducted from the identity without it being lessened in value. Furthermore it could be perceived of as amorphous, asymmetrical and disharmonious. From Umberto Eco one can deduce that an ugly identity would be one that does not follow rules, is unpredictable, and offers an infinite range of possibilities. P10 (Gretchen) Cousins describes the ugly as a relationship in which the object threatens the subject by shattering its illusions about the perceived world. You might think of this as an identity that doesn’t fit in to the allowed deviation from a (by the subject) perceived norm of how identities should be. This could for example be an identity that either is out of place, in the wrong place according to the subject, or that is not where it should be, in the right place according to the subject. Cousins also writes about how all objects exist

twice, first as themselves and then as representations of themselves. This would in the context of the ugly identity mean that it too exists twice, as the “true/ inherent identity of the object” and as the perceived identity that the subject experiences. Both can be ugly, the internal ugly can for example be when a person feels that their identity is out of place, for example if they are born into the wrong body. The perceived identity can be ugly as it reminds the subject of its own flaws, imperfections and mortality, for example seeing a person that is disabled can remind a subject of their own disabilities or that they could potentially become disabled. According to Gretchen E Henderson (p.18) “attempts to discriminate or fetishize ‘ugly’ groups at times have aligned with issues related to race, gender, sexuality, class, religion, nationality, age and disability.” For example there were ugly laws in the United States that prohibited people with deformities from visiting public spaces. The same country had laws regulating the interaction in public space of people with different skin-colors and to this day it is illegal in many states to get married if you are same-sex partners. What has been considered an ugly identity has changed over time and still continues to change. Clearly there is also a lot of power in the ugly identity. It is therefore worth to think about Gretchen’s question as to whether or not ugly is a cultural quest? According to Gretchen the ugly itself can be an agency of change. “Constantly reworking the space between subject and object, ugliness resists static figuration and helps us to re-evaluate our shifting perceptions. P.13 (Gretchen). See for example queer or creoleness and the fight for a change in the representation of identity. Gretchen shows how the ugly identity has historically been used to create the other and to use this method of exclusion to steer society in a desired direction. From ugly laws, segregation and Entartete Musik the ugly identity has been used to create stereotypes. The examples show that the ugly identity as an agency of change can indeed be used to re-evaluate our perceptions and that it carries a great power and therefore should not be taken lightly. Accepting that ugly is the agency of change means to accept that controlling the definition of ugly identity is to control in which direction that change will lead future identities. Or in Gretchen’s words “When the body starts to transgress its own borders, a hyper-negotiation of ugliness touches upon humanity’s construction of itself”. P.165 Gretchen

In terms of architecture the ugly identity could be thought of as either one of excess since an ugly attribute of a work is one that is excessively individual (The Ugly, Mark Cousins p.61). This could perhaps be used to explain why some consider so called “blob-architecture” to be alien or foreign and ugly. Ugly identity architecture could also be thought of as the architecture that upholds ugly identities, for example the architecture that doesn’t allow access to disabled, upholds segregation, or constructs concentration camps. [FH] Kitsch Kitsch is a word denoting art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The roots of “kitsch” go back to Clement Greenberg and his 1939 essay, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch”, where he introduces the ideas “avant-garde” and “kitsch” to describe a polarizing phenomenon in art. “Avant-garde” describes a kind of “art for art’s sake” or “pure poetry”, in which subject matter is not discussed, whereas “kitsch” is a type of mass culture, easily accessible to the proletariat. Kitsch arose together with the avant-garde as a product of the industrial revolution and an increase in literacy.9 The concept of kitsch is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icons10 while making cheap mass-produced objects that are unoriginal. Kitsch also refers to the types of art that are aesthetically deficient and that make creative gestures which merely imitate the superficial appearances of art through repeated conventions and formulae. Excessive sentimentality often is associated with the term. The question of kitsch has also arisen often in discussions of architecture. A house whose classical portico is not backed up by the orders in the rest of its makeup might be kitsch. Or a house whose classical portico is backed up appropriately may be kitsch if it is in an inappropriate neighborhood, thus overstated in its context. The Kitsch of the Modern Style wanted to protest the sensitivity to industrialization and mechanization, and aimed to hide the function - considered trivial - in favor of the highlighting of the dream and luxurious and sensual symbols. Kitsch has become embedded in the landscape of the former Communist states and is especially well represented in the architecture of hotels. It portrays society’s relentless yearning for the wealth and tradition of extensive old-style mansions combined with economical building materials, restrictions of com-


puter aided design and the desire to pander to mass tastes. In effect, there are produced over-scaled, not ergonomic, cheap accommodation facilities, filled with plastic and gypsum ornaments, which are unfamiliar to local culture. Umberto Eco, in “The War of Fake”,11 makes us discover another way to look at kitsch in architecture: “The Wall Street area of New York is made up of skyscrapers, neo-Gothic cathedrals, neo-classical Parthenos, and cubic-shaped primary structures… Everything is integrated into an almost homogeneous urban landscape, because all the real cities are those that “urbanistically” redeem architectural ugliness. Indeed, a good urban context, with the story that it represents, teaches to live even kitsch with humor, and consequently to exorcise it.” Eco therefore invites us to examine Kitsch as an expression of object-architecture, not so much aesthetic as social. [XK] Misplaced To displace the relationship between meaning and execution is to disregard the intent. It is here we find the misalignment of intent and execution: the misplaced. The misplaced can, rather than assist with intent or form, disrupt and change the direction in which the intent was anticipated to go, negating the intent and turning meaning against itself. Oscar Wilde once said that “No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.” Incorrectly positioned architecture alters the perspective in which the architecture is perceived and can ultimately alter the perceived outcome. The context of the architecture, the site in which it is positioned can ultimately define whether it is a success or not. The its surroundings should be a compliment to the design and the design in turn should be respectful of surroundings. Even the most wonderful architecture could be positioned in a space in which it is not sympathetic to its context and appear to be ugly, lost and disproportionate. Similarly placing a building within a context that it simply does not fit may render it offensive and ultimately ugly. For instance, Maine-Montparnasse Tower, breaks the low level Parisian skyline. The 58 Storey Tower would, in other circumstances, not be considered inappropriate, however, in it’s current context it rivals pre-war classic Parisian architecture and is distastefully refereed to by many as the ugliest building within the city, thus highlighting that the intent of the architecture can be distorted when not properly positioned. The Japanese concept of Wabi sabi was derived 42

from the terms of poverty and loneliness, it embodies the beauty of imperfection and earthly values. Whilst a tarnished tea cup might appear ugly to someone from Westernised culture, the so called imperfections of the cup to those of the Japanese culture is symbolic of use and its beauty comes from its usefulness and ephemeral qualities. Alternatively, if you were to place a new lacquerware cup in a traditional Japanese home it would be considered ugly, not having yet built up a tarnish to prove its worth a place within the home. To place an element within a culturally different environment is to misplace its worth. A similar reaction would occur if you were to place a distinctly Japanese element within a completely westernised building without reference to its cultural significance. The misplacement of architectural elements causes them to “lose their meaning, purity, life and value, but in so doing they also, as a matter of “singular importance,” vulgarise their own forms.”12 A misplaced architectural element will forever exude its displacement and not be perceived of its true intent and deem it valueless. “The consequence of misplacement is not a simple inability to read “a beautiful thought” at a given time or place. Rather, it is the impossibility of reading, if not always already, at least thereafter at any time or any place.”13 For example, a misplaced window within a room, a misplaced material or a poorly thought-out layout can lead to imbalance and lose the purity of an intended design. Similarly, poorly executed construction work can lead to unintended misalignments in elements such as bulk heads and last minute decisions on waste drains that make the viewer uneasy and uncomfortable in the presence of unthought-of of ugliness. Misplacement in Architecture extends beyond simply misjudging the position of a window or specific feature. Architecture with an incorrectly chosen site can be negatively impact by its surrounds while incorrectly positioned elements within or on in architectural design can lead to a misinterpretation of the design intent and render the building distasteful, poorly considered or even ugly. [MT] Oppression Oppression is often defined as a stronger party’s unfair repression of a weaker one. It incompasses the systematic violence, persecution and limitation that affects individuals and groups.The definition of what is unfair can be questioned, since a ruling group in society often has interpretative precedents. One of the most clear forms of spatial oppression

could be imprisonment. Limiting people’s freedom of movement and life could truly be regarded as violence or even torture. Wartime prison camps or the nazi extermination camps are typical examples, but the most common prisons are those filled with a country’s own population. Prisons are not generally considered to be an expression of oppression, but rather a punishment for convicted offenders. In the event that countries place their citizens in prison without trial, it is considered oppressive and in itself a violation of human rights. There is also prisons for asylum seekers who are suspected of escaping, and constitute an exception in western countries, because in other cases, you can not punish anyone for prevention purposes. Some refugee camps could also be seen as informal prisons because refugees have no chance of getting away from the camp. In the theories of Foucault, a prison design from the 19th century called panopticon, is studied as an example of an elaborate way of monitoring prisoners.14 In the circular prison, the prisoners are guarded from a central tower, but because they can not see the guards, the prisoners are constantly anxious of being disobedient. Foucault makes the argument that there are similarities between the prisoners’ situation and the internalized oppression that contemporary man is experiencing. This internalized oppression can be linked to the digital surveillance that people today have to deal with. Historically, surveillance and manifestations of power have gone hand in hand. Fortresses, castles and religious buildings have often been placed high or been tall in order to have an all-seeing impression on the population. Today, these buildings are largely replaced or challenged by other power symbols such as parliamentary buildings or capitalist landmarks. The construction of new buildings is often included in the occupation of land. In the West Bank, Israeli settlements are part of the ongoing occupation of the territory. Historically, as well as today, land areas have been occupied and inhabited, and the enemy forces and indigenous peoples have been forced to assimilate or to flee. Controlling a country’s borders comes from a fear of occupation, therefore, airports are carefully designed so that people and their identity can be thoroughly checked. The Berlin Wall is a devastating example of how oppressive and violent a border can be, as it can cut like a sword and tear families apart. Segregation is usually a conscious form of oppression in which groups of people are deliberately excluded and penalized.15 Through political tools such

as apartheid in South Africa or segregation in the United States, a division of areas and buildings is created, and this primarily means an exclusion of persons considered unhygienic and belonging to the wrong race. Even though these systems have been discontinued today, the segregation still survives based on economic inequality. The systems are approached by uneven allocation of resources and land, which limits the freedom of movement of the excluded class. Golf courses can be seen as a symbol of the uneven distribution because they both occupy large land areas and draw a lot of water from other ecological systems or growing of crops. Neglect can also be an elusive form of oppression. By allowing unsafe or health hazardous habitats, people are directly injured, and because they are the weaker party, they have no power to change their own situation. This may involve inadequate regulation of noise, work environment, general living standards or safety. These issues became instantly relevant in London in 2017 when Grenfell Tower burned uncontrollably and claimed almost 70 lives. The fire evoked anger and the incorrectly constructed building was seen by many as an expression of the power’s oppression against the weaker population. [ML] Ostentatious Architecture conceived as being of showy display, pretentious, flamboyant or conspicuous, possible of being associated with displays of power and/or of monetary indulgence.16 Architectural production conducted with the aim of seeking attention, impressing and generating envy or desire on the viewer, being passible of obvious display, and therefore ugly. Passable of being 1.) the product of a strategic placement, 2.) the product of extraordinary size or 3.) the product of use of ostentatious materials/building techniques. 1. Ostentatious architecture as a product of a strategic placement: whenever the placement of the architectonic object is purposely chosen as a way of emphasizing the object’s dominance and capability of land claiming. Seeking attention through the exclusiveness of its locations, the product of ostentatious architecture stands as a landmark for power and wealth. The Palm Islands of Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali are the three of the many artificial islands built on the coast of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, after the year of 2001. With the aim of hosting a large number of luxurious and exclusive


residential features, as well as leisure and entertainment centres, the islands pose as a clear synonym of ostentatious land claiming and destructive impacts on the area’s surroundings. Changes in the wildlife as well as an increase in the coastal erosion are among the consequences of such blind wealth display. 2. Ostentatious architecture as a product of extraordinary size: whenever the architectural product is idealized in such a scale as to dominate and virtually conquer all the immediate surroundings. The image of power of such architectonic object is obtained through its excessiveness of scale, and its ugliness is perceived as the result of such will of display, blind to the scale and proportion of the surroundings. Size is in this situation a synonym of monumentality and almighty power, and therefore ugliness. The never materialized project for the Volkshalle, the thought to be Nazi Pantheon in Berlin, by Hitler’s close friend, Minister of Armaments and War Production, and architect Albert Speer, fits as an example for the stated above. Although never built, the Volkshalle, inspired by a drawing made by Hitler himself of a roman temple, stood as the highest architectural aspiration of the Nazi dream of an empire planned to last a thousand years. Its height of 290 meters made of its extraordinary size a materialization of pure ostentation and power display. Its scale, blind to the dimensions of the viewer, was projected as if able to engulf and dominate all living creatures. 3. Ostentatious architecture as a product of use of ostentatious materials/building techniques: whenever the architectural object is materialized through the use of highly exclusive and costly materials, able of being considered inadequate to such purpose. The use of highly expensive building techniques and/or technologies just for the display of wealth and power, with no greater or higher purpose is also possible of being perceived as ostentatious, and therefore ugly. The Kiyevskaya Metro Station in Moscow, had its fourth stage opened in 1954. Although not displaying what could be considered neither the most exclusive, or the costliest materials, its ornamentation with intricate golden details, chandeliers and marble stones acts as a pretension of a fake luxurious materiality. Its aim of being what it is not, and of showing what it does not possess emerges as a contrast to the real poverty of many of those that walk among the station. [AP] Pastiche A pastiche is, according to the Swedish National encyclopedia: an artistic work which are clearly formed by another artist or other epoch’s style. 44

The Pastiche differ from an imitation because it is the actual depiction that is used as an art form. Other than architecture pastiches are present in other art changers as, fashion, music, literature, movies and heather. When it comes to architecture the opinions about pastiches are well debated. And there seems to be a distinction between the profession and the laymen. Where the architects often value authenticity in a project and the non-architects often value the esthetics of the building. Often the debate tend to be about the styles before modernism and modernism. Where the ones who appreciate an certain style and advocates to lend from it in as well in new buildings often use the argument that any architecture are pastiches form something because everyone gets inspired from something. They argue that in the profession it makes it okay if you get inspired from the modernist style but not from the classic architecture styles. This is a misunderstanding and the debate comes to be only about the esthetics which too many architects becomes very shallow and misapplied. The debate about how we should build should not be only about the esthetics but rather how to develop architecture. There is also a big gap in knowledge between architects and non-architects in this subject and it seems that the two groups isn’t even talking about the same thing. There is also a misunderstanding that architecture is mainly about the esthetics. Where the non-architects has a bigger interest in the esthetics because of personal reasons and the architects in the process of keep developing the architecture trying to have an objective view on the subject. One could argue that architects should draw buildings for the people and if the esthetics are important to the people maybe it should be a bigger part in the discussion. But then the questions would become about what is good esthetics. That becomes very much a subjective matter often based on personal experiences. It is important to remember especially as an architect that the esthetics often tend to get easily judged. It is also important to remember that it is this way and not get to affected by it or to mix it up with good or bad architecture. Rather than esthetics being one of many qualities in architecture. The more you know the easier it is to appreciate other things than the exterior and also easier to separate them apart. The idea of the pastiche should maybe be seen as a dissatisfaction of the contemporary architecture rather than an answer to how we should build in the future. If we are not happy with what’s being build it

is easy to look back to things we liked in the past. It is an easy solution but it is also a quick fix not dealing with the actual problem. It is important to always reconsider ideas in any architectural project and in the profession as a hole. As it is important to reconsider values of the society to not make it stagnate. To have a personal taste or to get nostalgic in a certain thing should not be mixed up with this. An architect is obligated to reconsider ideas to make the best possible in any project. But in the same time on a personal level for other reasons be able to appreciate the nostalgic of the past. [HW] Politics ”A methodology and activities associated with running a government, an organization, or a movement.” The concept of ugliness to devalue something in a performative sense has of course always been intertwined with politics.17 The generally perceived simple nature of “Ugliness”, seeing it as this basic unexplainable abstract, almost universal feeling makes it an easy, and when used correctly, powerful tool for making a point (with or without real arguments). It can be used to assert the subjects discerning personality (building trust towards them), to devalue an object aesthetically as a way to devalue its moral integrity (physiognomy haven’t been scientifically accepted since the late 19th century but still linger in culture), or in a multitude of other ways. In his 15th century biography “Lives of the artists”, Giorgio Vasari calls Gothic architecture “barbarous German style” and attribute the style’s characteristics to “the Goths” (as in a Germanic savage) whom he held responsible for replacing ancient architecture in Rome with their buildings. Vasari was part of a bigger movement of politicians and artists with cultural authority in the 15th and 16th century using this narrative to push for a revival of the Grecian orders of architecture, where one key part was de-legitimizing what was contemporary and “normal”. Gothic architecture was labelled barbarous, rude and ugly and phased out in favour of the renaissance. Why the shift to renaissance took place is still heavily debated but most agree that it came from a wish to break with the perceived despair of the Middle Ages by going back to the values of ancient Greek and Roman culture, thus causing positive societal change. Moving to the 20th century we can see the way Nazi Germany and Hitler used ugliness to justify its view and action towards Jewish people and other groups. In the 1937 exhibition called “Entartete Kunst”, “degenerate art”, they showed German expressionism

as “ugly” art together with captions highlighting the notion of aesthetical deplorability. On the opening night Adolf Hitler took it one step further than former mentioned proponents of renaissance and made the connection to physiology as he questioned the artist’s sight, speaking of examining their eye-deformation (an expression obviously still existing today as a tongue in cheek), and finally urging people “to take up the question of whether further inheritance of such gruesome malfunctioning of the eyes cannot at least be checked”. With only “ugliness” and authority the Nazis devalued the art of the “villain” in one of many moves to legitimize physical action and destruction toward these groups. A final example can be found in Sweden during the 1960-s when the first buildings of the housing project “Miljonprogrammet” were getting finished. The project was polarizing and one of the Socials Democrats’ main achievements at the time. In an attempt to attack the Social Democrats, the political opposition went on a campaign to decry the project. One of the most notable examples of this campaign, that arguably set the tone for the Swedish view of these areas today, was a series of articles in the newspaper “Dagens Nyheter” that went on to become one of their most successful and widely read ever. In it, a harsh reality is laid out. That the people moving in are victims of a welfare machine and that these stale, monotone buildings are detrimental to their well-being. One of the series’ cover show children playing in the mud, as children do, of an unfinished playground surrounded by construction machinery, falsely framing the situation as desperate and unhealthy. Today the debate still goes one with a large group claiming that the demolition and reconstruction of these “ugly” areas and buildings into more “beautiful” ones is a key part in fixing the economic and social issues found there. [AL] Strange Strange is a notion strongly connected to our own preferences and personal experiences. The strange is often difficult to understand and often projects a feeling of the unknown. Similar with the meeting to a stranger, the unfamiliar makes one ill at ease, which can easily cause discomfort and fear. The strange appears in our consciousness when something clearly differs from the normal or when something unexpected happens. The relationship between strange and normal is just as complex as the relationship between ugly and beautiful. All definitions of strange travels through the idea of what is normal and vice versa, which makes the strange and the normal


shadows of each others. Lack of knowledge: In the 15th century when voyagers explored the world’s uncharted territories Marco Polo infamously mistook a rhinoceros for an “ugly unicorn”. The strange and the unknown was associated with the ugly because of the lack of knowledge. The same behaviour is often detected in architecture when new styles and forms are being called ugly as they clearly differs from the normal. Instead of understanding the architects intentions, the beholder consider the design strange due to the lack of knowledge. Examples of this is seen in the early modernism in the 1910s when the new modern style clearly stood out from the previous old architecture and was considered strange and weird. The style was criticized as harsh and mechanic and called ugly. Purposely made: Strange architecture does not always have to be a question of misunderstanding, it can also be purposely made as a tool for advertising and attraction. Similar to the 19th century freak shows, the strange, abnormal and weird did, and still does, captivate people and media. An example of this is seem within the Novelty architecture where structures are being designed without any intentions of authenticity and instead focusing intentionally on attention. Through the use of shapes of animals, foods, famous landmarks or buildings, the architecture are ‘programmed’ to mimic and advertise the function of the building. Another example is “Lustiga huset” at the amusement park Gröna Lund in Sweden, which purposely have built a skew weird house to make the visitor experience something not normal and unexpected. The strange in this context becomes something funny, although it can be perceive a bit deceptive. Wrong context: Strange is also a matter of place and context, where the strange in one place can be considered normal in another. Due to different culture, form, and design, shapes are being interpreted differently depending on where we stand or where we come from. Strange has the ability to awake the curiosity and the imagination within our minds. Whereas opponents to novelties believed them to be dangerous, the supporters of these strange and abnormal ideas were, and still are, the ones pushing and developing the limits and boundaries of design forward. The curious identify the strange and transforms the unknown into something normal and acceptable within society, which is essential for design, architecture, art and social development. [JP]


Taboo The taboo categorises the unspoken, the politically incorrect, the morally ugly and the controversial. Architectural appreciation is defined by unspoken rules. The resulting opinions we develop are influenced by unspoken moral consciousness. It can then be said that a consensus has seemingly been made by political correctness and the willingness to follow moral conduct. How are we to appreciate architecture that has been condemned as Taboo? The taboo, invented and agreed upon, often unspoken, without needing to be said, by a social group that maintains social order, structure our thinking around what we believe to be the correct political/ moral/ethical views. These views are often unspoken but none the less agreed upon. To summarise plainly: Taboo = Ugly. If in fact we do dictate out opinions upon what should or should not be seen, should this architecture be removed or does it serve as a reminder of what should not be? Does the intent or purpose make the building ugly and if it were to be contextualised elsewhere would the building have completely alternate connotations? For instance, the Soviet memorial at Treptower Park in Berlin serves as an example of Taboo architecture. The monument itself is not particularly offensive, or ugly and passers by may find the site to be quite pleasant and heroic. However, among the German population the site is less than revered and quite controversial. As a Soviet monument it promotes political propaganda and glamorizing war hero-ism. Whilst the Soviet Intervention did break up the Nazi control over Eastern Berlin it ushered in several decades of Soviet domination and Communist dictatorship. Russia glorifies the memory as its army as a “liberator”, however, the memory is tarnished by the Germans as memories of mass death, rape and corruption overpowered.18 According to Germany’s Goethe Institut, the country’s state-funded “cultural ambassador”, these monuments - though “alien in their monumentality to today’s viewers” - are still of great historical interest, for their “visual language” and their “Stalinist interpretation of the Soviet victory over Hitler’s Fascism”. One of the conditions under which Russian troops finally left German soil in 1994 was that these Soviet war memorials should be looked after and preserved by the Germans in perpetuity. It then becomes, with knowledge, morally inappropriate to find the monument anything other than ugly.

To appreciate the site as an architecturally interesting or pleasing place would be overridden by the fact that it is a representation of a series of unpleasant and horrid events that some would say are better forgotten. Taboo architecture brings into question whether we can ever appreciate this kind of architecture with a non bias approach after we are presented with the facts. Or are we to follow the condemned notion of what the architecture stands for and see it as nothing more than taboo and uncomfortable to talk about like politics religion death and money? Similarly, we as humans find it particularly uncomfortable to talk of that, that was once considered to be of self. The toilet is taboo even within the architectural community. When it comes to the task of planning the space in which the toilet is housed it is more often than not out of sight and out of mind. It’s similar with the saliva: “as we all know, although we can without problem swallow our own saliva, we find it extremely repulsive to swallow again a saliva [which was spit into a glass] out of our body—again a case of violating the inside/outside frontier.”19 The abject that was once a part of us is now the taboo in which we see as ugly, repulsive and best not mentioned. Taboos structure our thought processes, sometimes inadvertently, to alter our perceptions and design decisions and thoughts about certain architectural products, issues or the placement of elements within a building. It is these morals that move us unconsciously away from design misdemeanour and appreciation. The Architectural taboo seeks refuge in the rejection desired by society and shapes our thinking to avoid transgression, rendering all that lies outside the agreed social boundary as nothing more than ugly. [MT] Taste Taste is a term used to designate individuals, or groups of individuals, preferences and personal choices. Taste can be interpreted as personal, but concepts such as good or bad taste directly connect the taste concept to a socio-cultural context. What is considered good taste can therefore vary between different times, cultures and social groups. In philosophy, questions about taste cause problems because it is not universal. Kant doubted that there would be a universal good taste,20 at least it was not something that could be determined empirically. According to Kant, good taste was dependent on a collective consensus on its definition. This is the opposite of

the independent logic that Kant saw as the only way to find truth.Therefore, taste could not determine universally good or fair values, because it was too varied, adaptable and dependent on context. Within sociology, taste is closely associated with consumption and class affiliation. Bourdieu claimed that differences in taste between classes were not only due to economic inequality, but also what he called cultural capital. Taste is something that is linked to education, social and an intellectual context, creating an exclusive realm beyond economic power. Within the architecture, questions about taste have often been determined by rules and knowledge. Taste in common sense has been considered a bit too volatile for an architectural concept. But in times of development, style confusion and eclecticism, taste issues become relevant. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc advocated a thorough education, especially the medieval architecture and building technology were to be studied in order to develop a good taste.21 He lived and worked during the latter half of the 19th century when the architecture was characterized by technological progress and social change. To search for definitions of style and taste in earlier times is a recurring phenomenon in history. In Sweden, the architecture of the 20th century has undergone several different modernization periods. With the exception of postmodernism, architecture has strived for modernist ideals. During the 21st century, a movement called Arkitektupproret (The Architectural Revolt)22 has arisen which questions the taste of architects, understood as the elite, in favor of older building styles. [ME] Unhealthy Unhealthy in relation to the ugly and architecture can be seen as diseased, degenerated, mutilated, distorted and even dead. It relates closely to the evil, untrue or immoral and the defenses of cleansing and purification. Nietzsche writes this in the text Twilight of the Idols (1895): “Ugliness is seen as a sign and a symptom of degeneration. Every suggestion of exhaustion, heaviness, senility, fatigue, any sort of lack of freedom, like convulsions or paralysis, especially the form, the color, the form of dissolution, of decomposition… all this provokes an identical reaction, the value judgement “ugly””. According to Caroline O’Donnell the ugly has often been viewed as an opposite of beauty. Through the use of sick, distorted, decaying and mutated human and animal bodies a contrast to the assumed expectation of what the human and animal form should be like is achieved. And according to the philosopher


Elaine Scarry injury is the true opposite of beauty.23 The relationship between unhealthy and ugly can in part be understood as Jela Krecic and Slavoy Zizek propose that when we see an open wound or a decaying corpse it threatens our understanding of ourselves as subjects in relation to the object. This is similar to what Cousins writes about ugliness being a relationship between the object and the subject where the object threatens the subject by challenging its perception of reality and thus its very existence. But it also relates to space, in Cousins own words: “The moment of ugliness occurs when the object breaks its boundaries and its previously unrepresented inside supersedes its representational outside, like a wound or a pimple. This shatters the illusion of what the object is”. Furthermore Cousins writes that “it is not just that the ugly object has trespassed into a zone of purity, for the ugly object is voracious and, through contamination, will consume the entire zone. This demonstrates that an important aspect of the ugly object is its relation to space…” In terms of unhealthy ugliness can also be seen as failed expectation if we assume an individual to look symmetrical, or an individual previously looked symmetrical and now looks bloated or pale then this can be perceived as unhealthy and/or ugly. As Caroline O’Donnell writes – “The asymmetrical is ugly only when it has previously been symmetrical and the symmetry has been destroyed, or if the realization of its potential symmetry has been stilted”.24 In the same way in relation to architecture if we expect that buildings are symmetrical we might perceive it as ugly when they are not, for example in terms of blob-architecture or a cathedral with one tower being taller than the other. Another author that makes the connection between the unhealthy and architecture is Victor Hugo in the novel Notre-Dame de Paris (Oxford 1993) p.123. He writes “Mutilations, amputations, dislocations of its limbs, ‘restorations’ are the Greek, Roman and barbaric work of professors quoting Vitruvius and Vignolo” thus comparing architecture to the body and bad taste and judgement in architecture with the dislocation of limbs and mutilations. O’Donnell brings up the New Brutalists and how although they meet Rosenkranz’s criteria for beauty in being symmetrical, morphous and harmonious it is their break with expectation in terms of patterns, functions, inhabitation etc. that causes them to be perceived by some as ugly. This can be thought of similarly as Cousins hypothesis of the ugly either as 48

that which is there and should not be or as that which is not there and should be. Another way to think of it is to look at New Brutalist architecture through Cousins other hypothesis that the ugly lies in the relation between subject and object. In that sense Brutalism in all its honesty and materiality can become like the wound on a face that reveals the true reality that lies behind the façade. Thus shattering the illusion of what might lie behind the façades of other styles and what they want to convey. Brutalism is thus ugly to those who wish to uphold the illusion of what lies behind the façade. Rosenkranz also wrote that “… any kind of dynamic, even that of decay is beautiful. However, what is beautiful in such a way turns ugly if dissolution occurs where it should not be, where we in fact expect determination and completion of the design, where the design, instead of gaining from such self-dissolution, becomes disturbed, washed-out, and pale”.25 The perhaps ultimate unhealthy is death and ugliness as a threat to the subject often take the form of fear of death acting as a reminder of the subjects own death and mortality. According to Cousins this triggers our defenses such as cleaning a stain away, turning away and wanting to avoid the ugly. For Cousins the true negation between beauty and ugliness is that of vivacity and playing dead. In this sense beauty or “playing dead” by suspending life becomes conservative and ugliness or “vivacity” becomes life in all its messiness and change. It is life that threatens us as subjects by reminding us that we are mortal, playing dead lets us instead imagine immortality. It is thus by embracing the ugly that we can embrace life – perhaps the ultimate symbol of the healthy. In Cousins own words: “Vivacity is the capacity of the subject to endure, indeed to enjoy, a reality which includes his own death, without retreating behind a defensive wall”. [FH]

Notes 1. Westen, D. & Gabbard, G. O. (2002), “Developments in cognitive, visited on

neuroscience: II. Implications for theories of transference”, Journal

19/10/2017 at 11:10h.

of the American Psychoanalytic Association 2. Fletcher & Benjamin (2012), “Abjection, melancholia and love: The,

work of Julia Kristeva”, pp. 93

visited at 19/10/2017 at 11:05h.

3. Zuzana Kovar (2014), “Productive Leakages: Architecture in Abject(ion)”, RMIT University, pp. 16-16, visited on 19/10/2017 at 11:22h.

4. Navia, Luis E. (1996). Classical Cynicism: A Critical Study. Contributions in philosophy. 58. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1., visited on 19/10/2017 at 12:00h.

5. Goldfarb, Jeffrey C. (1991). The Cynical Society: The Culture of Politics and the Politics of Culture in American Life. University of

17. Grodecki, Louis (1977), “Nervi, Luigi, ed. Gothic Architecture”, Abrams Books.

Chicago Press. p. 30. 6. Bewes, Timothy (1997). Cynicism and Postmodernity. Verso. p. 3.

Unknown (29 December 1849), “Notes and Queries, No. 9.”

7. Kenneth Frampton. Seven Points for the Millennium, an Untimely

Gothic Architecture (23 October 2017), wiki/Gothic_architecture

Manifesto, The Architectural Review, Nov. 1999, p. 77. 8. Glendinning, Miles. (2010). Architecture’s Evil Empire?: The

Books., visited on 15/10/2017, at 15:35h., visited on 15/10/2017, at 15:30h., visited on 15/10/2017, at 15:20h., visited on 15/10/2017, at 15:30h., visited on 15/10/2017, at 15:25h. 9. Clement Greenberg. Art and Culture: Critical Essays, Boston: Beacon Press, 1961, p.9. 10. Ibid., p.12. 11. Umberto Eco. The war of forgery, Paris, paperback, pp.48-49. 12. Ameria, A. (2017). Architecture of the illusive distance. [S.l.]: Routledge. 13. Ameria, A. (2017). Architecture of the illusive distance. [S.l.]: Routledge. 14. Foucault, Michel (1991). Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. Harmondsworth: Penguin

Starn, Randolph (1998), “Renaissance Redux. The American Historical Review.” 103 (1), pp. 122–124

O’Donnel, Carolyne. Fugly. Log, No. 22, The Absurd. Spring/Summer 2011, pp. 90-100.

Renaissance (23 October 2017), Renaissance

Triumph and Tragedy of Global Modernism. Islington: Reaktion

Gretchen E Henderson (2015), “Ugliness: A cultural history”, (Reaktion Books), pp. 9-24, 127-182

18. (2008). BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Soviet memorials conjure mixed emotions. [online] Available at: http:// [Accessed 20 Oct. 2017]. 19. Brough, Erdogan, Khalili, (2010). The Yale Architectural Journal “Perspecta 43: Taboo” : MIT Press 20. Kant, Immanuel (2007). Critique of judgement [Elektronisk resurs]. Oxford: Oxford University Press 21. Bressani, Martin (2014). Architecture and the Historical Imagination: Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, 1814-1879 [Elektronisk resurs]. Ashgate Publishing Group 22. Moureau, Lovis (2017), Bygga gammalt på nytt. Staden, arkitekturen och ett uppror på nätet, Göteborgs universitet 23. Jennifer L. Geddes and Elaine Scarry, ‘On Evil, Plain, and Beauty: A Conversation with Elaine Scarry’, Hedgehog Review, II/2 (2000), p. 86. 24. Caroline O’Donnell, Fugly, Log, No. 22, The Absurd (Spring/Summer 2011), pp. 90-100 25. Karl Rosenkranz: Aesthetics of ugliness Log, No 22, The Absurd (spring/summer 2011), pp. 101-111

15. Molina, Irene (1997). Stadens rasifiering: etnisk boendesegregation i folkhemmet = [Racialization of the city] : [ethnic residential segregation in the Swedish Folkhem]. Diss. Uppsala : Univ. 16., visited on 19/10/2017 at 11:00h., visited on 19/10/2017 at 11:15h., visited on 19/10/2017 at 11:12h.



Ugliness reconsidered

21_21 Design Sight, Tokyo The project is an art museum in Tokyo by Tadao Ando. His usual smooth concrete, simple exterior geometry and large windows are all there. What sets it apart from most of his other projects is a more deconstrutivist design, volumes hinting that the exterior design went beyond creating his signature natural lighting and into a more superficially striking facade. I never thought Tadao Ando’s projects were very convincing. His talk of lighting design and spatiality was intriguing but not very convincing except for some examples like “Church of Light” (Osaka, 1999)

or “Nariwa Museum” (Okayama, 1994). My opinion of 21_21 Design Sight, and Tadao Ando in general, changed pretty easily after having the chance to visit his projects. I still think the exterior and directly connected interior rooms are mediocre at best, but I had failed to ever see the interior beforehand. An unexpected seven meters deep and fifteen meters long atrium is placed alongside the main underground hall which brings a whole other dimension to the exterior while simultaneously having a very strong effect on the interior below ground. It was clear that Ando’s concept wasn’t just lip service.


The contrast between the heavy submerged space and the rays of light, sometimes clinging to the walls and sometimes bursting out of the end of a passage, is just as powerful as he claims. [AL] TBA 1.0 Pretty soon after starting architecture school in 2013 I grew to dislike the futuristic deconstructivism/parametricism produced by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry. It felt like the support globally among architects was overwhelming with everyone praising this utopian vision. Personally I always found it alienating. Like the architects were lacking any sincere interest in making spaces that were good for the people using it. In the middle of this I found “TBA 1.0” by Xefirotarch, led by Hernan Diaz-Alonzo. This concept seemed to lack any humanity and real design effort, fairly nice as a sculpture, though horrible as architecture. The turning point came after a discussion with a senior American architect where he made a good case for this kind of architecture. He took up the discourse regarding how today, arguably all architecture operates under the “cultural logic of late capitalism” and how this might erode our imagination. How architecture, just as art, can show another way forward, which is beyond “reacting” to the problems of today. He pointed me towards some further literature and I took his arguments to heart and tried to engage with this architecture fairly. As Xefirotarch concepts and aspirations became clearer, the work became more interesting and slowly I grew to like “TBA 1.0” for what it is. [AL] Building of the Faculty of Architecture of University of Porto I remember the first time I went to Porto to visit the school. I was so disappointed at such building. The shapes reminded me of white paper boxes, and the depuration made it seem too cold and detached. Things drastically changed once I started studying there. The raw truth is that you absolutely can’t be there and dislike the building. Once one starts understanding the work of great master Álvaro Siza, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with his masterpiece. The beauty of the details is extraordinary, and every day I find in its walls, in its floors, in its doorframes and windows, in its everything, the care and love of someone, the architect. The best lesson I will take from my years there will be the one the building has 52

been teaching me. I think this is the work to blame for my obsession with details. In there, where I first felt coldness, I now feel an extreme feeling of safety. I know nothing was done by chance and it comforts me. The stone of the interior stairs showed me how detailing goes a long way into changing one’s perspective of steps and motion. The position of the rugs in accordance to the pavement taught me that architecture is also in these small mundane things. The perfect tiles in the bathroom fascinated me – and made me hate probably eighty per cent of the world’s bathrooms. The stone on the walls, barely beyond their surface, made me believe in miracles. The different door and window frames posed as a lesson every day. The red entrance showed me how colour can be handled just right, and how poetics feed the soul. And the outside, with the patina, oh so beautiful, with the light and the shadows the towers cast, made me feel I found my home. [AP] Villa Müller, Prague I was shown this work by Adolf Loos a few years ago. From the outside, I thought it was rather coldish and absent, a bit fridge like almost. It took me about forty-five minutes to finally love what four years of classes couldn’t have made me neither understand nor adore. It is absolutely true that an image of this use of the raumplan is worth more than a thousand words explaining it, but it is even more accurate to state that no picture of this house will ever do justice to its extraordinary spatiality. The same main room I once thought as dark and ugly was unveiled in front of my eyes as a true spectacle for the senses. It was not dark at all, it was not weird, nor cold, it was beautiful. I could not help but sighed at such view. My guide talked and talked but I could not care less at what I was being told. I was not there because of the fabrics of the curtains. I was there because I wanted to feel it all, see it all – a little bit like the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa on his take on character Ricardo Reis. I tried to perceive all the details, I looked for them: at the way the floors met the walls, the boarding skirts bended, the stone was cut, the furniture was placed, the rugs, the metals, the pillows… I lost myself in thought in there, and although I found this tiny aspect I did not appreciate (the way a certain piece of wood on some of the steps met the other piece

coming from the wall), it still could not spoil all that perfection. I wanted to taste it all. [AP] Peacock house/prison There was a peacock house at Ekebysjön. It consisted of a small red house clad in standing planks and with white corners of the house. Connected to the house by a small door and ramp was an outdoor space where metal grids of rhombic design made up the roof and walls. The enveloped space was rectangular and roughly 4 m2 area and perhaps 8 m3 volume. In the tempered part of the peacock house the peacocks could survive Swedish winter. When I was younger I found the metal grid space ugly and somehow unworthy of these fellow earthlings. I wondered why they were imprisoned in such an uncomfortable and ugly place where they were so constricted and exposed to passersby. It was also ugly how it separated them from the world. Today I can appreciate that there is something beautiful in trying to plan for other lifeforms and their needs although this was perhaps only a side purpose in this case. It was not the needs of the peacock that was primary but the needs of the humans/owners and since they value the peacocks they value their survival and thus plan for that. This might explain why the peacock house took the form of an ordinary Swedish cottage with a fenced in prison yard attached. [FH] Greenhouse Near Kvarnparken there was a flower shop that had three greenhouses, ordinary with pitched roof and connected at the base. When passing by they always seemed a bit scruffy like no one had cleaned the windows for a long time and the grounds around them was left unmaintained. The whole place seemed to be receding in to the flowerbeds, composts and dirt piles surrounding it. The place used to be ugly to me because it seemed to be left uncared for like a piece of trash on the side of the road, slowly losing its original shine and luster and gently being covered by passing filth and dirt. Today I can much appreciate this decaying beauty but also how it more than many other buildings is part of its surrounding. It is also beautiful since it tries to plan for other lifeforms than only humans and in this case it tries to plan for many kinds of plants inside and outside of the greenhouse. The different climate zones create opportunities for different plants to inhabit the dif-

ferent spaces while not excluding people from these zones (as long as the flower shop is open). The plants in turn create opportunities for life to a variety of insects some welcomed by the humans/owners and some not. [FH] Konvikt, Chur The building I always though it was ugly until I started studying architecture is the dormitory of the high school I attended some years ago. I used to live in this building for about 3 years. The complex is a compisition made out of concrete blocks, lying upon another following the actual steep plot of land on which the edifice was build. The domitory was planned is the early 60s to cope with the big flow of students at the ‘Bündner Kantonsschule’ in the postwar period. The building itself is a perfect example of post modernist brutal architecture, although it still recalls the modern architecture principles of semplicity, and funcionalism. The building is made up of 3 main volumes, horizontally elongated and piled one eachother, containing the students sleepingrooms overlooking the city, and an access corridor against the mountain. The volumes are adapted at the topography towords set-offs that are characterizing the morphology and the facade, making it look line a very compact unity from far away. The access towards the building is permitted from the central staircase and two elevators that connect the ground floor - where the public pedestrian access is - with the 9th floor - where the delivery and car access happenes. The prevalence of the fairfaced concrete is significat and shapes the overall look of the building, giving strenght and intensity to the edifice. Fairfaced concrete is defining the interiors as well, coining the common zones and the hallways. Wood is instead used to give warmness in the student rooms, as a covering material for the building shell. Even the very functional forniture built in the rooms is made out of the same wood. Of course this strong brutalism that is perceptible in the whole building is the cause of the disaccord of opinions on the beauty or uglyness of the complex. For those who think it’s ugly usually the main issue is the fact that the building looks so sad and unhuman, it already happened that the edifice was confudes with the preason of the city. [GC]


Hil Building, ETH Hönggerberg, Zürich Very pragmatic and rationalistic the architecture faculty building at ETH Hönggerberg campus is a huge complex build in the 70s in order to face the increase of the students admissions. The building is based on a pillar structure that has the aim of simplifying the organization of the interiors and tries to make it simpler to move inside the building. The concept and the forms are based on very evident and strong geometrical and simmentical ideas that makes the whole appear very strict and pragmatic. Actually the feeling of the people living inside that building is not the one of having a hierarchy of hallways and spaces that follows one another, but more the sensation of beeing lost inside a huge labyrinth. A machine that is not built in order to deal with the human scale, but instead is the student that needs to adapt himself to the building. The facinating thing of this complex is the fact that each student learns by theier own to find an orientation an so everyone creates a personal map of the ways that each needs to walk trough in the everyday life, generating personal movements and shortcats that makes te life in the building feel more personal, almost like beeing at home. [GC] Federation Square, Melbourne Federation Square is a public space located in the centre of the city of Melbourne, Australia. Designed by Lab and Bates Smart Architects, the space was completed in 2002 becoming Melbourne’s first public square. As Federation Square has been around since I was 10 years old, it has become a place I have familiarised myself with over a long period of time. As a teenager I recall finding the collection of buildings extremely ugly, due to their dull colours, unconventional shapes and deconstructive patterns. I believed the design was stark, out of place, and not suited to its historical surroundings. In addition to personal thoughts, the building was strongly opposed and later labelled one of Australia’s ugliest, which skewed my own as well as many others perception of the project. Over a short period of about 10 years, Federation Square has become a place that myself along with most Melbournians have grown to love. A cultural meeting point, the space has become the heart of the city attracting millions of locals and visitors per year. My personal perception of the space has changed dramatically with a greater understanding of its design and use. Often hosting public events, the space is generally buzzing and gives a real warm feeling to anyone nearby. The space is open, and welcoming, 54

creating a centrepiece for a city that originally lacked a common meeting place. In addition to this, the design was well thought out, in particularly its materiality. With different types of stone from all across Australia used within the buildings and paving, the project reflects the colours of the Australian landscape. The bold and unconventional design which sits opposite 19th century gems, reflects the modern, multicultural and progress society that Australia, in particular Melbourne has become. [HC] 600 Station St, Melbourne 600 Station Street is a family owned apartment in Melbourne, Australia that I have lived in twice throughout my 20s. Purchased in the 90’s, the 1950’s Art Deco apartment has provided me with a range of memories, good and bad. As a child I remember strongly disliking the 3 storey brick building for its inherent ‘blockiness’ and general ‘boringness’ as a building. Once stepping inside the apartment, the walls adorned in Blue and Orange paint made the rooms feel incredibly small and childish. The internal courtyard filled with mis-matched pots and wonky pavement added to the ugliness of the building. Generally, as a child, the apartment building did not provide me with the fondest of memories. It was a place I only went to sleep, when visiting the city, and never really a home. In more recent times, since living in the apartment my opinions of the building have dramatically changed. With the assistance of painting the internal walls white, the apartment and building have become a place that I really love coming home to. The little things that used to bother me about the place, now give it character, something that a lot of new Melbourne apartments lack. As my knowledge and understanding of design has broadened and developed, I have come to truly love many of the features I once ignored about the building. Art Deco was a style that I generally used to dislike, but has become one of my absolute favourites. The small details such as the geometric ceiling roses and door handles are just some of the features that make me truly treasure the apartment. The blockiness of the building which once used to bother me, now mimics the simplicity that I love in design and architecture. What appears to be quite a simple building, once given attention, the intricacies and beauty of the design truly shine. [HC] Riksrådsvägen, Stockholm Just passing by this area from a distance one could easy miss the beauty in this small semidetached

houses. From far they remind me of an area of my home town, an area I always consider pretty ugly. The area I am thinking about are also build of brick walls, a similar type as in Riksrådsvägen. The balconies are made in some type of aluminum plates and pipes colored in blue, red or beige, hold up by concrete beams and around the windows there are areas of dark wooden panels. So far the description sounds pretty much the same as in Riksrådsvägen. But getting closer and start to walk around among this houses of Riksrådsvägen, I start to reconsider my first impression. I now see the thoughtful placing of the same materials composed to a completely different result, they seem to have this harmony over them that is completely missing at the area of my hometown, which now becomes even uglier in comparison. It gets really clear to me how they are only barracks stacked on each other. Where the Riksrådsvägen houses seams to fall in to their environment as if every single unit would be made just for their specific spot. Later I learned that there are actually three different house types that together creates this beautiful blend to the landscape. But for one thing I have now understand how this dwellings states an excellent example of the beautiful found in the composition of any given materials, and the skillful architect to engender this, simple as it appears to be. [HW] Schulhaus Stettbach, Zurich-Schwamendingen The Stettbach School built in 1967 in Zurich-Schwamendingen is a typical example of brutalism. The first time I saw the school I thought it was completely misplaced in its surrounding greens. The district Schwamendingen comprises all the typical characteristics of a garden city. It is based on a radial and concentric ordered network of roads; public buildings embedded in the landscape and detached multi-family houses in row construction. The numerous green spaces define the image of Schwamendingen and a brutalist building like the Stettbach School just did not seem to fit in such a context. Furthermore I thought that the atmosphere was rather inhuman and cold because of the exposed concrete and unfaced brick walls inside the building. The characteristics of the building did not seem to suit its function as a place of education for children. During my architecture studies my view on brutalist buildings in general and the Stettbach School in particular has changed. Having a closer look I realized how carefully the building is placed on the site. The architects not only designed a self-contained autonomous building,

they were also shaping the landscape surrounding it. In a beautiful way they managed to combine the two parts to a coherent whole. [RF] Bunker Brille A 4921, Zürich A bunker is designed to protect people in times of war. Because of its function we may have not many positive associations to it and on one hand a bunker can be seen as something ugly for the cause it was built for. On the other hand the actual physical building is not more than a raw concrete structure and a space, which is often left to fall into disrepair. In my memory a bunker was a dark space, often covered in graffiti and surrounded by a mysterious and sometimes scary atmosphere. Even though the Bunker Brille A 4921 is located next to a much-frequented trail in a forest on the Uetliberg in Zurich, it stays invisible for most of the people walking by. Only after I had to do a project for my architecture course I realized what an interesting place it actually can be. It gave me the opportunity to experience the space from a different point of view, seeing it not only as a threatening remnant but also as an architectural space, fascinating and saturated with an incomprehensible force. The light, weather, times of day or season have a great impact on the atmosphere especially since the building itself is quite simple. Numerous different moments can arise and leave various enchanting impressions on us. The blending of the grown nature with the architectural space is intriguing. It seems like the nature is conquering back its space by growing all over the concrete structure. [RF] Västra Orminge, Nacka Västra Orminge badly repudiated suburb and is called “the concrete jungle” among the general public. The area consist of 2600 living units divided into three to five stories tower blocks and two stories lamellar, all made out of prefab concrete elements. Before I learned and understood Västra Orminge I had a clear picture of the area, even though I had never visited the place. But when I later came to live within Orminge I found out that behind all of the prejudices from my childhood, the area was extremely well planned, both the outdoor sourroundings as well as the exteriors and interiors of the buildings. The area is divided into three zones; an inner green zone, an intermediate zone with residential development and an outer traffic zone with motorways, parking spaces and a shopping centre on the outskirts. Nature is always around the corner with great parks planned within this ring of concrete resi-


dents. Schools, daycare and sport facilities are easily accessed from a walking distance within this area, leading to a safe inner community. The apartments within the concrete buildings are planned thoughtfully with a flexible planning. Removable inner wall enables a change of depositions after the residents own usage. This smart planing of the area is most likely to be experienced when you live within it, which makes it hard do explain the beauty of Västra Orminges visually to others. Like beauty may arise as you learn no know a person, same happens to Orminge: the “concrete jungle” transforms into a “concrete paradise” as you learn to know it. [JP] Parkaden, Stockholm Parkaden is a parking house in the centre of Stockholm, built in 1965. My first memory of the building is from when I was young and joined my parents as they parked their car in this building. The memories are filled with darkness, rough materiality and a cold unpleasant feeling. I remember always feeling a bit scared, holding tight to my parents’ hands. As the years passed something happen to the building and one day it started to appeal to me. Maybe, and most likely, it was due to my architectural education that the building now spoke to me in a different and interesting way. Looking at the parking house today, I do not see or feel any of the things I felt as a child. Today I see beauty in the materiality, the construction and in the ornament of the façade. The entire building is formed and controlled by a total logic, and this logical concept creates a wholeness of unity. The construction of the building is easy to follow in the concrete pillars of the facade, it appears like a perfect assembled puzzle where every piece fits perfectly together. Another thing that makes the parking house interesting and even beautiful is the combination of playfulness and logic within the ornament of numbers in the facade. Thinking about it now, I realise it was these numbers in the facade that made me notice the building once again. The numbers were the key to my understanding of the building, the key that accessed my mind to the logic and the functionality, and therefore, to its beauty. [JP] Traditional Styles I never favoured traditional styles, at least not for reasons of tradition. I am not a religious person, but somehow I appreciated the traditional look of an old church. I just could not find a reason for 56

20th century churches, there are so many old ones already. I disliked modern churches because they are not as recognizable as the old ones. My attitude changed when I started visiting churches and experiencing them from the inside. Studying architecture, favor switched to the modern church. I grew up in the city center, where there were only old churches. Now I live in the suburb Hökarängen with a modernist church nearby. Söderledskyrkan has a square brick clock tower and a magnificent round window. It rings every hour and reminds you of its presence. Now I often explain to others why the church is beautiful. The church is situated just by the busy road, but it has a peaceful courtyard. Older churches often want to belittle you with their greatness, everything is big, dramatic and golden. This is a humble church that gives refuge, it gives peace rather than awe. [ME] Fascist architecture Fascist architecture is easy for architects to like, but leaves everybody else oblivious. As in the case of the million program architecture, it’s difficult to remove the social context from a building. Architects are able to disconnect the architecture from its context, and just appreciate the art. This is a norm I would never have accepted a few years ago. The architecture of totalitarian regimes are monumental, not only because of their size, but also because of the message they convey. To architects, it seems, this message is lost. There’s something frightening about the segregation of meaning from shape, how aesthetics can be so strong they lose their historic meaning. The interesting part is how nowadays I also feel that fascist architecture is beautiful, for example looking at the symmetric balance in a photograph of Casa del Fascio. It is such a photogenic, intriguing building. If you instead look at a picture of the same building with swastikas hanging from each window, you can feel your stomach turn. This is an example of the dangerously beautiful; it’s beautiful and disgusting at the same time. It defies the definition of beauty and purity without becoming ugly. [ME] Building 8: R.M.I.T University, Melbourne I remember starting my architectural degree at RMIT university and being shown the location of the designated architecture building. Upon first impression I figured I must have a lot to learn. The colourful façade and mismatched combination of col-

our and form left nothing, in my eyes, to be desired. The aim set out by the architect Peter Corrigan was to delight and break down the seamless, dominant city wall along Swanston Street. The building’s elevation presents fragments or ‘ideas’ combined together as a representation of ideas within the city. It presents itself to the city on its own terms. However, to me, the building simply seemed ugly, a whimsical representation of a child’s doll house, brightly coloured and borderline comical. It was only with understanding that I began to understand the intent of the design, why the building looked the way in which it did. After hearing lectures from the buildings architect, and resident lecturer at RMIT Peter Corrigan it all began to make sense and the comical began to represent something greater than just seemingly random geometry stuck to a façade. The building engages the idea of uniting opposites and pays homage to revered buildings within Melbourne, capturing fleetingly moments and representing them within its aesthetic. Whilst this building still receives various criticisms, having “dated terribly” it still remains one of the most beloved buildings within the RMIT Architecture school. Moments of beauty and solid representation of Melbourne as a city at that particular moment in time. Perhaps the perception of ugly is defined by a lack of understanding. With knowledge of thought and intent the ugly becomes the interesting and the interesting fades into the beautiful. With understanding we find beauty in reason. [MT] Family Friends Home, Mornington Peninsula Growing up I have fond memories of a family friend’s home not far from my parent’s place on the coast of Southern Australia. The double storey home had been designed in the ‘70s by architect Alistair Knox, however, the house seemed dark and clunky and not respective of the view or environment in which is was situated. The heavy timber dressed with wall hangings and African sheets draped across the roof enclosed the space making it unappealingly “ugly”. It wasn’t until they had decided it was time for them to move and the place had been cleared out that you were able to appreciate the architecture for was it was. With the added clutter and ornamentation gone, the cathedral ceilings drew your eyes outwards towards the view, the light flooded in and

everything began to make sense from the point of view of the architect. Sometimes the things added to the space can be so distracting from the actual article that they cloud their beauty and it is not until they are removed that the beauty becomes evident. [MT] Opera House, Guangzhou Zaha Hadid’s “double pebble” Opera House in Guangzhou, China is the biggest performing centre in southern China and is one of the three biggest theatres in the nation alongside Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and Shanghai’s Shanghai Grand Theatre. Its freestanding concrete auditorium set within an exposed granite and glass-clad steel frame took over five years to build. But due to the warm and humid climate in Guangzhou, the granite was eroded much faster than expected. I was also under the impression of poor visual experience until I paid a visit there for a musical by myself. It turned out that the 1,800-seat auditorium of the Opera House has the very outstanding acoustic and lighting technology. Fold lines in the landscape defined territories and zones within the Opera House, cutting dramatic interior and exterior canyons for circulation, lobbies and cafes, and allowing natural light to penetrate deep into the building. Smooth transitions between disparate elements and different levels continued this landscape analogy. Its unique twin-boulder also opened access to the riverside and dock area, offering precious public space for people to relax between the crowded high-rises. [KX]   Local Temple in rural Beijing Buddhism is a religion that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices. Mahayana is one of two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice, and it now serves as the leading Buddhist division in today’s China. It’s common there being several statues of named Buddhas in a temple, but recently, some strangely named statues were spotted in a local temple near Beijing. The Buddhism has been very much secularized in today’s China, and people usually go to the temples as normal ceremonial duties on traditional holidays. They would also vow in front of the Buddha for luck or fortune. This temple places, instead of the statue of the common kinds, the Study Buddha, the Business Buddha, the Driving Buddha, that is, people made these statues purely out of their wishes. The


little temple was also decorated in garish colour. But to my surprise, such ‘innovation’ brings lot of visitors to this very small and distant local temple in the rural area near the city Beijing. This temple, in the eyes of architects or any other city dwellers, is absolutely ugly. But why the villagers don’t think this is ugly or is there something worth thinking in ugliness? [KX] Swiss Re Tower, London Locating in London and designed by Foster + Partners, Swiss Re Tower became a debatable building in the public. Someone thinks it is one of the ugliest buildings in the world while someone thinks it is the incredible landmark that makes London standing out among other major cities. With no doubt, Swiss Re Tower is unique and popular. I considered the building is very ugly, especially it standing in the middle of historical buildings. There are no connections between building itself and the surroundings which make it very hard to blend in. I also think with all the orthogonal buildings around, its circular shape does not help to translate the building in the urban context and architect’s intention behind it. Luckily, I got a chance to study this building and that start to change my perception to this building. Swiss Re Tower has a great conception in sustainability and how building opens up through Atria to allow natural ventilation and reducing energy consumption. Because of its particular shape and diagonally braced structure, the building achieved an open floor space that is column free, which embrace more light and views for the user experience. With these background studies and then look at the building in a different perspective, I actually felt the care that architects put into the design. This makes the building and its space beautiful and nice. [SW] College of Architecture Building, Tuscon The last example I want to share is the ugly space in our old architecture building. It is located in Tucson, Arizona, where the climate is hot and arid. Our old architecture building is made with bricks. The structure is load-bearing brick walls with columns in a grid system supporting the floors. Since the building has a historical value, it kept the original structure and old building materials in the original state. There are two spaces are unpleasant to me. The first one is the interior studio space. The first time I entered the building, it shows me the exposed ceiling. In my perspective, this unfinished looking structure is extremely ugly, because I can see the pipes, conduits and old duct 58

works which are supposed to be hidden within the ceiling. This type of space also reminds me that I was not studying in a school but in an old factory or lab. Therefore, I feel uncomfortable even though the exposed ceiling gives more space and allows more spatial experience for users. But after studying building technology in my 4th year of study, I realized that I can understand more about how the HVAC system is working by analyzing this exposed ceiling structure. Knowing that part of the reason for the exposed ceiling is for letting the student understand more, I felt like it is not ugly at all. On the contrary, it is interesting and a nice way of making a space. [SW]

An ugly shelf


Elevation. Scale 1:10


Shelf 1

This bookcase was made as an experiment on how to articulate the feeling of disgust and repulsion. The concept was to create an internal aesthetic that serves the purpose of conveying a visual fantasy of an abject. You shouldn’t want to interact with it. Avoiding to damage the functionality of the bookcase, the perception of functionality was distorted. That said, it was not just an unwillingness to put objects on the shelves in fear of damaging them, but more so an unwillingness to interact with it all together. This was important in order to achieve a feeling of repulsion. We used a found library bookcase, a ready made in lacquered massive wood. It was high quality, but outdated in style. To create an unidentifiable alien organic look, the inside of the shelves were covered in spray foam insulation and raw cotton wool. The foam had a pale yellow, almost cream like, color and the texture had a slight shine and was filled with small irregularities from air bubbles created during the expansion of the foam, alternated with some completely smooth patches. Cotton wool covered the smaller compartment, had a dirty off white colour and a scruffy look, pilling all over. The mutated bookshelf used an unexpected irregular form, creating a fusion of incompatible components and blurred the line between the inanimate and the organic, distorting the inner logic and created a contrast to the outer logic. Considering the result, the bookshelf was perceived as both repulsive and intriguing. The organic conformation had an initially puzzling impression, but shortly after a curiosity grew in the observer. This questioned the success of creating ugliness. There is a disruptive element to the foam and fabric that might have been amplified by using an originally more beautiful and valuable bookshelf. The bookshelf that was used in this experiment was already of low value, and that is why the spoiling was not as upsetting as it might have been. [GC + ME + AL + SW]


Elevation. Scale 1:10



Shelf 2

The duality of shelves chosen by the group presented in their simplicity a white canvas in the act of exploring ugly possibilities. By having two shelves, it was possible to mobilize both of them as mediums for ugliness – one through the transformation of its standardized shape, and the other through the maintenance of such state, as a way of creating a contrastive response to the first. The task of creating ugliness was interpreted through a more minimalistic point of view, focusing the expression of such concept in the small details rather than in a flamboyant statement. Therefore, the changes applied to one of the bookshelves were rather discrete. The bottom was slightly rounded by sanding, creating a different edge, that along with the shortening of one of its sides made the whole volume wiggle. The plates on the shelf suffered modifications as well: the first was placed so as to tilt down, opposing the second one, that now tilts to the back diagonally, making it a challenge avoiding the movement of any object placed on its top. The top edges of the volume were emphasized by a slight tilted disconnection, so that the standardized alignment disappears. The ugliness of the final product could then be perceived as disharmonious, as the result of the continuity of unintended mistakes – small things that slowly add up to a totality of changes that disturb the viewer, playing with the sense of order and alignment. From a greater distance, all may seem normal – both the shelves will look identical -, but as one comes closer to the modified volume, the little mistakes become understandable and more, and more annoying at every approaching step the viewer takes. The observer may then have the urge to fix the issues that are being perceived as wrong, as out of order and alignment, retrieving the shelf to its previous standardized form. The dysfunctionality of the applied changes manifests itself once one starts to use it – objects will roll

to one side or to the back of the plates, the volume will not be able to stand still nor straight, it will move, wiggle, conveying an idea of fragility. Here, the character of ugliness in the modified object acquires one more layer. One can also question throughout this analysis the concept of prefabrication and mass production. By having one shelf perceived as “normal” - non-transformed -, the modifications applied to the other one will appear emphasized. This contrastive response sets a duality between what is and what should be, raising questions on the matter of relative ugliness. Is the modified shelf uglier now, by contrasting next to the non-transformed? Or is the non-transformed the reflection of prefabrication and thoughtless mass production, and therefore uglier? Ordinality and boringness can be perceived as consequences of standardization, where time spent on careful design lacks and individuality is lost. Through this light, one could interpret the modified shelf as not ugly at all, materializing in its intended deformation the so much needed thought of the design process, raising the question: which is the truly ugly one? [FH + JP + AP + NR]


Du är bäst!

"Det känns i hela kroppen a är sommar" Madicken

"Hyss hi inte bara på di bara blir" Emil

"Det känns i hela kroppen a är sommar" Madicken




Astrid Lindgren 100 år EN RABEN &SJÖGR

Du är bäst!

Elevation. Scale 1:10 SKALA 1:5 0 0,1 METER


64 0,2







Shelf 3

Ugly is just matter in the wrong place. So we want our bookshelf to be something that seems to be out of place, we want it to make us feel uncomfortable. In this case something far from the context of the new Architectural school building. The building that gives us a plain room made out of concrete, covered with site build shelves and storage. It expresses a ruff contemporary architecture and In terms of style everything is very thought through. In here the ultimate misplaced bookshelf would be a very personal one, maybe covered with wallpaper, stars and words like Carpe diem, all composed in a super cute, Shabby Chic inspired fashion. Perhaps it could remind you of an artifact found at someone’s personal summerhouse, articulating something completely different from this building and the ideas that it stands for. So in order to bring a summerhouse character to the shelf, we deliberately chose two kinds of wallpapers that works well at the first sight. Later when we wallpapered the shelf, we also realized that it shouldn’t really be perfectly done, on the contrary, the disturbing sloppy work would right make our point. Therefore the wallpapers were mismatched on purpose, so that just when the viewers start to appreciate the pattern and want to take a closer look, they would find the unexpected gaps, tears and bubbles. It would appear that the wallpapering job didn’t go as well as planned. We now also found that ugliness occurs when things are against our expectations or deviated from the expected. . In other words, the projection of an expected image onto any given object is part of one’s perception of the ugly.1 The wallpaper is seemingly uglier due to its inability to meet expected conditions. Another thing within our references for this project, was a type of memory that all three of us could connect with, and it was the bookshelf of our childhood. The shelfs that stood in our own rooms that were filled

with a lot of memories. Often in the small things like diplomas, sport attributes and toys. But also we did could notice, they were filled with a lot of stickers. Stickers that we had put up randomly and over time. Some of them had fallen off, leaving only the glue left, others we had torn away, unfortunately not always done in the most satisfying way, ending up with just half of a sticker left on the shelf. All this made the whole shelf look like a mess. Finally the old Billy bookshelf from Ikea makes a perfect ground to merge our ideas onto. Due to its glued surfaces and hidden materials it also reinforces the feeling of the coulisse like exterior that very much makes the foundation of this ugly shelf. [TA + HW + KX] 1. Caroline O’Donnell: Fugly. Log, No. 22, The Absurd (Spring/Summer 2011), pp. 97



Opinions on ugliness


GDR Plattenbau, 1970. Credit: Siegfried Wittenburg

Verena Wehrle (Psychiatrist) What is ugly architecture for you? If architecture does not have a recognizable relation to its physical environment. Weighty, monotonous, i.e. little structured, uniform buildings with long and at the same time high facades. If the formal expression is missing. (In contrast to Renzo Piano’s Beyeler Museum in Riehen, or Jean Nouvel’s KKL in Lucerne.) If the correlations within the arrangement do not appear balanced. (closed - open, respectively the openings to one another.) If individual elements appear alien and not integrated with respect to the whole. If the colour of the facades is inharmonic, respectively if the materials which are used do not correspond. A special position is taken by “kitsch”: inspired or recreated architectural styles from other cultures, pseudo - historical buildings. 68

Can you give an example? I think of certain prefabricated slab buildings of the GDR, which are purely structural and economically optimized: box-like buildings with long fronts (100m or more), which are only structured by the format of the panels and often identical openings. Why is it ugly? They appear uniform, desolate and oppressive. Unfortunately, the description also applies to countless residential buildings throughout Europe, built in the 60s and 70s, where it was a matter of creating a living space as economically as possible in the shortest time possible. Can it be avoided? Yes, trough a good education of the architects in charge, regarding good proportions, colours, materials in relation to the form and in the analysis of the context. [RF]

Troufa Real, Caravela Church, 2011

Humberto Nóbrega (architect) What is ugly architecture for you? More importantly than being ugly or beautiful, because beauty is a subject that crosses through cultures, ages and so many other aspects of society, the adjective “ugly” brings something I consider bad architecture. Inverting the question, there are many examples of architecture that can be considered ugly, even amongst architects, but that is still good and done by good architects, even though they had a very particular vision, almost as a manifest. History is full of examples, from Bosch to El Greco, Borromini... Artists whose works were questioned about beauty in opposition to the horrendous, but that were still executed in an exemplary and visionary way. In current architecture, the work of architects de vylder vinck taillieu is by many considered ugly, even though it is a well thought architecture, it is elaborate, with a much strong philosophy. They have a very particular vision of the house, of the public space, at the same time questioning the pre-established values of beauty associated with richness, ostentation, comfort or functionality. Architect Manuel Graça Dias many years ago had a television show in which he talked about the little geniuses of the emigrant built houses in Portugal. “Ugly” houses, that in its ingenuity

of self-construction and assembly had, and continue to have, interesting aspects, without dogmas or prejudices. Can you give an example? An example of ugly architecture is one of a bad work, absurd, with a presence profoundly negative in its location, in the people. Thinking about Portugal there are two examples that immediately came to my mind: Aveiro´s Stadium by architect Tomás Taveira and the famous church of architect Troufa Real in Lisbon. Why is it ugly? For the reasons given above and mainly because it was built on a basis of public funds, and it is a missed opportunity and a way of architects hiding their incapacities behind a defence of a false geniality, which I question. Can it be avoided? Of course, in the perspective of public architecture, it could and should be avoided. There are many ways of avoiding such mistakes and one of them would be by giving opportunities to architects with solid proof of being able to create good architecture, more than just beautiful architecture. [AP]


Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan, and Louis Hoym de Marien, Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France. 1973

Martim Presteux (agricultural engineering student) What is ugly architecture for you? Right from the start it has to do with my notion of personal taste, it is hard to explain. I think of ugly architecture when I think of a building that does not fit its surroundings. But it does not mean that all buildings that fit are beautiful and vice-versa. Sometimes I associate a beautiful building with a sense of lightness, which I can’t find in some architectural examples I consider ugly. Can you give an example? The Tour Montparnasse, in Paris. Why is it ugly? Firstly, it clearly breaks the scale of 70

the surroundings and secondly, it obstructs the coherence of Paris’ skyline. It should not be that tall. If it was smaller, maybe it would be ok, but it is so tall... And even the shape of the volume, it does nothing for it, although not being the weakest point. The real issue is the rupture in size. Can it be avoided? Yes, height restrictions should be, and should have been implemented at the time. Maybe the program of the building could have been adapted into a more “flat” plan. [AP]

Unknown, Shopping Cidade do Porto, Portugal. 1994

Abílio Santos (history professor and art enthusiast) What is ugly architecture for you? I perceive something as beautiful when it brings me a sense of familiarity. The agreeableness that a certain object, face or building triggers in me is related to my idea of beauty. When something lacks the ability to generate those feelings of pleasure, familiarity, coherence I associate with agreeableness and therefore beauty, it will probably be considered ugly from my point of view. Can you give an example? Oh so many, Shopping Cidade do Porto for example. Or even Amoreiras’s Shopping Centre also... Why is it ugly? There are so many things wrong there. The massive scale of the volume, completely out of balance in comparison to the surroundings, or even the bad taste of the design itself. No attention was paid whatsoever to the pre-existent conditions

and characteristics of the place. The purpose of it is also ugly: consumerism. One building is capable of destroying an entire scenario. Sometimes it does not even have to do with the aesthetics of the design, but with the way it connects to the surroundings. It does not have to look the same to be well done, but it should look as if it belongs there. Shopping Cidade do Porto does not belong there. Can it be avoided? Ă lvaro Siza, in one of his works in Vila do Conde, shows an impeccably done connection between his building of the bank and the surrounding ones. It shows how scale and detail can be dealt with just right. Mistakes like Shopping Cidade do Porto can really be avoided, but it takes attention to detail, it takes care and it takes sensibility. [AP]


Pål Ross, Villa Victor, Sweden. 2006

Sylvia Neiglick (architect) What is ugly architecture for you? Well, I guess it’s ugly when a bad or commercial idea is the entire focus. I don’t know if I think architecture is that ugly generally. But sure, one can be provoked when it’s something overly superficial or cynical. Can you give an example? I think that the only architecture I’ve been very provoked by are villas by Pål Ross. But other than that, I probably think that most architecture is interesting if you dig a little, there is always a story. Why is it ugly? It is some form of naivety and something I perceive as stupidity. Naïve in a cynical way. Naivety and cynicism in a very unpleasant mix. Can it be avoided? I don’t know if architectures primary task is to be beautiful, so maybe ugly architecture and ugly houses aren’t the same thing. Because ugly architecture, I guess, also is bad 72

quality and laziness. As an architect you get provoked when, you know, we fight the entire days, and then somebody disfigure it because of pure stupidity or laziness, or stinginess – but that kind of the same thing. Someone disfigure something that actually was pretty ok, that could have been pretty ok, just by being heavy-handed. Like, I don’t think that I can come up with any material that really is ugly, it’s more about how one use it. And it gets ugly when you use things in a weird or nonchalant way. Nonchalance, cynicism, it’s really some sort of conflict showing. For example, really ugly downpipes and gutters and it look tangled and awkward, that’s really a conflict, that two people haven’t communicated. Actually, it’s something that is awkward for everyone, even for those on site that did those twists, cursing over it. I think that’s interesting.

Helen Runting (PhD candidate) What is ugly architecture for you? I think ugly is a word a word we use to affect the value of something. It is quite a powerful word in that way because when used in the right context by the right people to the right object it has the potential to devalue something. So if I were to use it in relation to a person given the right conditions I could potentially devalue them in the eyes of others. If I have an audience. I guess that for me ugliness in architecture is an attempt and a category that is used. Once a building is put in that category, that act of putting that building or that type of architecture in that category, it is an attempt to devalue. Can you give an example? Sure, I use this word all the time in flippant conversation with maybe friends or colleagues or my partner, talking about dismiss of others if I’m having a bad day. If I feel that I want to devalue someone else’s architecture for political reasons. If I feel that act will bring us closer together. Sometimes I might even devalue architecture in front of others in order to assert one’s own knowledge and power. I am a discerning person, I have good taste, I construct this taste by calling out ugliness. What have I called ugly recently? See we enter this realm of gossip, because there is a power dynamic here. What have I called ugly recently? Oh! I know! A had a disagreement with my boyfriend on Sunday about Dinell Johansson’s wood cladding on their building in Vallastaden where we had a passionate disagreement about this building, about its aesthetics, about how we would value it. My partner thought that it was one of the best ones in Vallastaden. I disagreed. I thought it looked alpine and the associations did nothing to impress me. I felt like devalue it. I also wanted to call him out, tell him he was wrong. Differentiate that we did not share this position, this was not a shared view of architecture that we could build a practice upon. We also have a practice together, and so these processes of calling out are also about producing shared ideas of where we are going – “this is not us”, “we don’t do this”, “we don’t engage in that practice”, “we don’t produce objects that have this effect”.

Why is it ugly? I think I already covered that but Ugliness is something I could apply to any building on any given day for a purpose I’d say. I don’t think there is anything that is fundamentally ugly or beautiful necessarily. It depends what we achieve by applying this category. I mean it’s a tool for setting value. I’m not the central bank of Sweden so I can’t say what an exchange rate should be worth. I’m not in charge of deciding which currencies could be changed for which currencies at which rate. I can’t even do anything except my own labour if I’m lucky enough to be able to collectively negotiate that with my employer. So I think that ugliness or beauty is one way of engaging actively in setting the value of something in a set of social relations. Maybe I’m being a little Marxist with this definition but I’ll stick to it because it’s one way of looking at it. Can it be avoided? That’s an interesting question! No, because I think that ugliness belongs to the realm of reception, how something is received, or perhaps perceived, perhaps represented by others. The object itself, like a building or a drawing or whatever we’re speaking about, engages in producing reception but the object can never fully determine the way it is received by its readership. How it is put to other purposes. Calling a building ugly in a discussion with your partner, what you’re trying to say is that they are wrong for the purposes of not going in a certain direction in a certain project. I don’t think that poor Dinell Johansson... I don’t think that was part of the scheme when they designed the slattered wooden façade of their Vallastaden-building. I think the slats are slightly too far apart. I think this misuse of their building is completely impossible to predict, it is out of their control, and maybe this is quite a performative definition then because performativity always, or in Judith Butler’s definition at least, always exceeds the subject, so I can try to make a performative statement but it relies on a lot of other things and the result can’t always be predicted. [AL + MT]


ELLT, Kungshamra, Stockholm, 1960

Kenneth Cheruiyot (Teacher exchange student) What is ugly architecture for you? For me, what would pass as ugly architecture, is a thing that does not match with its surroundings. So, if it doesn’t match with its surrounding that’s ugly. And I’m not saying “match” in the sense of being the same, but in saying it should be in tune in terms of size, in terms of dimension, of the already existing. Can you give an example? The current trend with these houses that have flat rooftops. It’s like something whose head was chopped off. So, when these houses are put with the houses with roofs of whatever angle then I see that as very ugly. It would be easier to show you in Kenya where I know the houses that I feel are ugly but here… But maybe there are perfect examples near [points out towards Bergshamra]. That building has a roof and these ones are just flat. According to me this is just ugly. In terms of symmetry it’s like they lost something. Like they are uncompleted. I think whoever was designating was so clever as to put these ones on the side to shield, to give it a feel of continuation. Why is it ugly? Because according to me they are not complete, something is missing. There could be a bias there that maybe I’m used to houses that have 74

a pitched roof. Maybe I’m relaxed when the roof is pitched? Can it be avoided? I think it can be avoided. I think some of the houses are imposed on us the consumer by what the architect think is the best. I think this can be avoided if there is collaboration between the architect and the consumer. You get to know what I like, or what we like, if it’s a community thing. Then I think we can produce something that is not so ugly from the face of everyone if we combine the knowledge from the architect and the likes of the consumer and the people who live in that neighbourhood. I believe if everybody is brought on board and it’s a product of discussion, we are shown prototypes, we see, we agree. But what I’ve seen, I don’t know what ends up here, what I’ve seen myself is the architect, behind a closed door tries to calculate the best house that can be produced cheaply and within a short time and is appealing, maybe to the eyes of the architect, and uses that now to convince the consumer to accepting the sale, and because everybody want see something we agree. And this a not something that can be moved, once it is built it is built so we live with the ugliness. [FH]

HLLS Arkitektkontor, Karolinska sjukhuset i Huddinge (previously Huddinge sjukhus), Sweden, 1968–1977

Federico Favero (Lecturer) What is ugly architecture for you? It is difficult to judge ugly (or beautiful) architecture without describing context and background. We evaluate ugliness by comparing an object with cultural and social patterns and constructs. Cultural context change, therefore I can evaluate something as ugly today but change my mind in time, because my own and the society’s style, culture, experiences change. There are anyway basic values of architecture that I consider universal. Architecture should provide a suitable environment for work and life to happen. From this perspective I consider ugly those spaces that make the user feel lost, alone, disconnected, insecure. I also consider ugly those spaces that make the users feel sick and do not consider their well-being, in the short and long term. Can you give an example? Karolinska sjukhuset in Huddinge, the main building from the 1970s. It is interesting to notice that the building is built with

functionality in mind but fails to deliver basic function to the users, like orientation. I worked and visited this place many times and I am impressed how depressive can be the long infinite corridors without an end and the spaces without a clear orientation and direction. I am aware of the fact that this is a place where lives are saved, my judgement is based on the user’s perspective from the outside and public access areas. Another example are permanent working spaces without the proper conditions of lighting and ventilation for long term use. Unfortunately many new buildings, including highly recognized and prize-winning buildings, also at KTH, can be ugly from this point of view. Why is it ugly? Because they do not respect humans basic needs. Architecture in my opinion should be meaningful and promote well-being. Can it be avoided? I certainly believe it could be avoided. Architects should include wisely the behaviour and needs of the users of future buildings. [FH]


Architect unknown, Willy:s supermarket, Norrköping, Sweden. Building year unknown.

Andreas Fries (architect) What is ugly architecture for you? Ugly architecture to me is rather the case of no architecture. Architecture, as a word, has a positive implication in itself – wherever you find architecture, you also find the traces of conscious human thought, the desire to arrange one’s surroundings, to find joy in building and to communicate, will manifest itself as architecture. Any lack of those ambitions however, whether lack of sincerity or humour, lack of joy or consideration, will manifest itself as ugly practices of building. Dull or speculative, lazy, unengaged or uncultivated. Can you give an example? I find many cases of contemporary building ugly due to selfishness on behalf of the person(s) erecting a structure of one or another kind. Big-box retail parks in the form of simplest possible metal-sheet sheds surrounded by vast barren parking spaces, monotonous and catering to extremely basic practical needs only, with no willingness to make even the smallest sacrifice to qualities like hospitality, sustainability or user friendliness – not to speak of beauty of course… 76

Other examples may include prefabricated singlefamily houses with no connection to any conceptuality whatsoever, houses reduced to products from a catalogue, sold without any good advice or knowledgeable consultations to families reduced to mere ”consumers” rather than as dwelling places for a social life in a certain and unique place. I also find ruthless destruction of natural and cultural heritages in order to make room for new development unconnected with history and context ugly as such. Why is it ugly? See above Can it be avoided? Ugliness as a result of lack of consideration, lack of empathy, lack of culture and lack of knowledge can always be avoided for everyone who is willing to open his mind to impressions, to learning, to being humble and curious- And it is not a matter of budget, only of attitude. Architecture thus created may arouse different reactions, varying reception, reflect tastes – but will still yet always be respected. Architecture can be liked or disliked, but it cannot be ugly. [FH]

Architect varies, Cancun, Mexico. Year varies.

Fabio Marcellus Lopes (Post doctorate in mathematical modelling) What is ugly architecture for you? For me ugliness in architecture is neither purely aesthetic nor a definitive concept. That is, the way I perceive and experience a building or a public space depends on the way it dialogues with its surroundings, its users and on how it stimulates my curiosity or emotions. So, it may change in time and space, and is also psychological. For instance, I consider as ugly, an architectonical project that intends to be iconic but does not stimulate my curiosity, or which is in conflict with certain aspects of its surroundings or with my own interests or convictions e.g. socio economic, cultural, ecological, technological, etc. Also, I consider as ugly, architectonical projects that fail to provide good solutions for the needs of their final users.

Can you give an example? Big resorts by the coast of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, etc. Why is it ugly? These hotels are usually designed for mass tourism. So, it does not matter much where they are located, they will have some sort of similar type of architecture aimed at providing lodging and all meals, entertainment and shopping for their users on their own premises. Consequently, their economic benefit to local communities tends to be limited, while the large scale of their operations tends to cause serious damages to the local environment. Can it be avoided? Architectonic projects of more ecological and sustainable resorts instead of big resorts destined to mass tourism. [FH]


Tony Lüdi, Production Designer/Art Director of “Der Himmel über Berlin” What is ugly architecture for you? For answering this question, I can hold an entire lecture! I always thought that “the beautiful” was no longer discussed nowadays. Ugly is an architecture if it does not take consideration. Neither the environment nor the persons concerned. Even dazzling buildings with column portals or steel-glass facades can be ruthless, and thus ugly. Can you give an example? Any buildings! As a rule, this is only to be discussed in conjunction with the location. If you need more a more precise answer then I should take more time and explain my position with examples. Why is it ugly? There are many possibilities. Can it be avoided? Always. Yes! Through the commitment of better architects, with clear guidelines. [GC] 78

Gran Canaria

Mireille Iorno, Psychiatrist What is ugly architecture for you? Ugly architecture for me are the pure speculative holiday villages or little apparent similar to hives (like you can find on the canarian Islands eg)..Even the “tendopoli�on Haiti after the earthquake were from an artistic point of view were much more beautiful. Can you give an example? Resorts on Canarian Islands Why is it ugly? (Ugly for whom? often also clients have not much money, and often also no good taste) but for me it is ugly because there is no creativity, no taste for estetica, often also kitsch. Can it be avoided? If it can be avoided of course depends on many factors, first of all socialeconomic reasons, poverty on one side... speculation on the other.. insufficient legislation and reglementation.. last but not least perhaps an insufficient weight of history of art during the studies of architecture? [GC]


Lab Architecture Studio & Bates Smart, Federation Square, 2002 Photo Source: Rexness

Xavier K (Lawyer) What is ugly architecture for you? Buildings that don’t fit into the space they have been constructed in, especially ones that really stick out to the point it is criticized and unappreciated by the public (for example an overly modern building amongst buildings of heritage). In these situations people don’t see them as a positive contribution to society, especially when they are spaces the public can’t engage with.Buildings that don’t consider the needs of the people that will live or work in them (for example lots of residential apartment buildings in Melbourne are described as socially isolating because they are tall, tiny and have minimal communal spaces). Can you give an example? Federation Square in Melbourne. A very controversial building consid80

ering its proximity to the beautiful heritage buildings of Flinders Street, including the train station and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Why is it ugly? Because it is very modern architecture amongst heritage buildings, it’s been criticised as ruining the areas heritage vista! Its look could be described as a bit chaotic because of all the triangulated and square pattern in addition to the wires hanging throughout it. Can it be avoided? Ugly architecture can be avoided, certain contexts require design that is a little less contemporary. However it isn’t always bad, as Federation Square definitely contributes to the city in that it’s a relatively well utilised public space and is used for a wide number of events and gatherings. [HC]

Pål Ross, Villa Magic, Sweden.

Kristin Torsdotter (interior architect) What is ugly architecture for you? The architecture that doesn’t express personality, that lock like it doesn’t have a soul. When everything locks the same, standardized in a way that doesn’t match the esthetics. Aldo I really think many of the functionalist neighborhood are really beautiful even do they are very much standardize and all locking the same way. Can you give an example? I think the way some of this modern module catalogue houses are made is a good example of ugly architecture. People want to live in their home style magazine instead of letting the everyday life take its place also in the esthetics. Why is it ugly? They are supposed to lock like some kind of Swedish last turn of century dream, like the Sundborn house of Carl and Karin Larsson. But really they lack all of the traditional craftsmanship that made this old houses to what they are. the fact that

we don’t build in this way anymore makes this new catalogue houses only act about surface, about an preset image and in the end this results just in a bad clash of taste I think. Can it be avoided? Maybe they get more beautiful when people starts to actually live in them. When time and the everyday life gives the house the personality it lacks. When you really can see where it has start to be worn out and maybe you can see someone made their own little solution, it matter less if actually works or not. Maybe it gets more beautiful when it get some patina. I think also when it comes to the interior that we have to trust our personal taste more, combine things you actually like and not worry too much about if it fits to a bigger picture or not. [HW]


Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM), Geelong Library, 2015. Image Source: John Gollings

Carmen D (Landscape Architect) What is ugly architecture for you? Ugly architecture to me is when the architecture doesn’t suit the surrounding context. When it’s about making a statement piece for the architect, rather than creating a building that will benefit and blend into its surrounds. Can you give an example? The Geelong Library by Ashton Raggatt McDougall Why is it ugly? It is a statement piece that doesn’t suit its context. The use of colour internally and externally doesn’t consider users or context. The building is a representation of the architects rather than the 82

community. Can it be avoided? Yes I think it can definitely be avoided. By not designing in isolation to the context and ensuring actual site visits and understanding of the site. [HC]

Kavellaris Urban Design (KUD), 2 Girls Building, 2015. Image Source: Peter Clarke

Nicola L (Architecture Tutor) What is ugly architecture for you? Ugly architecture is loud, patterned, gaudy and unrefined. It lacks a connection to its surroundings and disengages with its site. Can you give an example? 2 Girls Building at 11-19 Lithgow Street, Abbotsford in Melbourne. It is design by KUD Architects and it is the ugliest building I’ve ever seen. Why is it ugly? There are so many tacky elements, from the ‘exterior curtains’ and ‘lampshade’, to the photographs of the children on the outside and the

overlapping concrete patterning. The building has no connection to its surroundings and is creepy to walk past at night. It tries too hard to be bold and theatrical, and the end result is really horrible. Can it be avoided? Yes, a well detailed building with nice materials and forms would have resulted in a much better outcome. [HC]


Nacksta, Sundsvall.

Emma Svanbäck (insurance advisor) What is ugly architecture for you? A big modern neighborhood, recently built. Where everything is new, streets, houses. I believe it is without a soul. There is nothing to tell you about the people who lives there. Very impersonal. There are no history, you know that because everything is new. If there is a mix of new and old, extensions, trees. I consider it more interesting for the eye. When something happens, when things are different. Can you give an example? Small windows. The one million housing program. Why is it ugly? It feels empty. It is the same with people. I don’t like sterile. I think ugly is when something doesn’t fit in the context. When it looks wrong. Can it be avoided? Maybe you don’t always have to 84

avoid it, ugliness can also be interesting. To beautiful can be boring to. If you have two pictures for example, one of an old person with wrinkles and scars. And one on a young beautiful flawless individual. The one with the old person is probably far more interesting. It is all about the history. Maybe it is hard to avoid when you need to ad history. [HW]

NyrĂŠns Arkitektkontor, Tobaksmonopolet, Maria Skolgata. Stockholm, 2014.

Filippa StĂĽlhane (Architect SAR/MSA) What is ugly architecture for you? Architecture, and other, may be ugly for various reasons. For example, if it is unnatural, ungenerous, unwelcome and disapprobative. To small or to few windows. Rationalized window distribution. An open window. A cheap material that looks expensive. Too high socle. It can also be ugly when it is trying to be something instead of being what it is, when it tries to look like something, trying to be trendy or expensive. When it does not come from play and an investigation of what it could do, based on its own logic. Standard for the sake of it, and respect for installations and standard measurements, but not for spatiality. Can you give an example? Four fifths of Vallastaden. The green house, Tobacco monopoly on Maria

Skolgata. Why is it ugly? A garish facade that attempts to conceal cheap, narrow windows with rationalized window distribution. A slimmed version of itself, instead of a cheaper and correct one. Can it be avoided? If more people were interested. The public service should be at the forefront of developing procurement procedures that choose architectural quality and construction of cheap rental rights, ArkDes should make well made exhibitions with space in focus and architecture education should be reformed. Then, we would all be more interested and everything would be fine. [JP]


The City of 4.000 - a housing project in La Courneuve Paris, 1950-s.

Lars O. Ericsson (docent in practical philosophy, art critic) What is ugly architecture for you? Ugly architecture is an architecture that expresses an anti humanism that detracts the individual at the expense of the collective. The individual is seen as a small insignificant cog in a larger socio-ideological machinery (architecture is ideology in a frozen form). Ugly architecture is uniformed, varied, repetitive, coolly rational, human-fought and mass-produced. Can you give an example? For example, the houses in the suburb Courneuve north of Paris (now 86

torn). But there are examples everywhere in the suburbs of the major metropolises in Europe (and not just there). Why is it ugly? Because it is human-fought and humiliating. Rationally possible, but rational for who? Not for the residents. Can it be avoided? Yes, tear the shit down and build new! Do it again and do it right! A building that sees each individual as unique and not just as a small, small keg in a large community machine. [JP]

Carl Nyrén, Fältöversten Stockholm, 1971. Photo: Peter Gullers, 1979.

Roshanak Badri (MD) What is ugly architecture for you? Ugly architecture for me is dark and grey architecture. When there is no natural light or colours, and when the building is just a big piece of angular concrete without windows. Can you give an example? Fältöversten in Stockholm. Why is it ugly? It’s so big. Everything is formed in the same hard colour and there are no softness. Can it be avoided? I think by using natural light

and less angular and maybe use influences from the surroundings would make the big buildings blend in more in its surroundings and give a more soft impression to the beholder. [JP]


Erik Ahnborg & Sune Lindström, Radiohuset, 1955. Credit: Allgau

Patrik Gustavsson (archaeologist) What is ugly architecture for you? I have problem with functionalism. The square buildings without any ornamentation or colour, it makes me sad and bored. Also, I’m tired of concrete when it’s naked and raw it gives an industrial look, and I don’t care for it. In many buildings from the 1970-s there is a lack of natural light, and that lack can make a building ugly, and especially when most of the light comes from fluorescent light which is often very white and cold. But generally I think more about what buildings look like on the outside, because that’s what you see each day. In that I also include how buildings correspond to their surroundings. Today, I often see how the ground is completely flattened and there is no respect for the topology and surrounding vegetation, it’s simpler that way I guess, but I prefer when you adjust the buildings to their surroundings and not the other way around. When you build in the city it irritates me when they make the new buildings stand out too much from their historic surroundings: in style, size or height. Can you give an example? Radiohuset is a good 88

example of everything I think is ugly. Why is it ugly? It’s so big, brutal, and angular. There’s something going on in the facade, the different colours around the windows are probably supposed to create some dynamic, but it looks scattered and disharmonious to me. It’s fitted ok in its’ surroundings, but in this case it can’t save it from the ugliness of the building itself. Can it be avoided? The city is growing so rapidly now, and it makes me afraid that there is not much concern taken to create a sustainable aesthetic that people actually like. I like natural materials, like brick for example. We might have to find new ways of using natural materials so that they can be incorporated in an industrial building process. I also think that architects are taught to like a certain style, but that might not be what the general public prefers. Most importantly, architecture must become more democratic and equal, everyone deserves a beautiful and high quality environment. [ME]

Various architects, Strandvägen, 1800-s

Karin Lundberg (architect) What is ugly architecture for you? I think that people in general find architecture ugly when they don’t understand its’ purpose. If you understand a building’s use, for example a mall or a McDonald’s restaurant it’s not as often perceived as ugly (even if it should be). It’s not perceived as anything, not beautiful, not ugly, only function. Interestingly, when one McDonald’s restaurant on Drottninggatan was designed by Claesson Koivisto, then people suddenly thought it was ugly. The expected falls under the radar, but it’s often as ugly, if not worse. I think that’s one of the reasons why somany think the old School of Architecture is ugly, it was inaccessible. If there would have been stores at the bottom floor, then people would just have thought about it as another H&M for example. I believe that my judgements about architecture works the same way, but because I’m an architect I’m trained to look at architecture differently, I have different standards of what architecture is supposed to be. Can you give an example? One ambiguous example are the rows of old buildings on Strandvägen.

Why is it ugly? To me, it’s hard to separate the buildings from what they represent, a sort of power display that I think looks very vulgar. But the on the other hand they can be very appealing; materials are exquisite and the craftsmanship is undeniable. Yet, it disgusts me, the same way luxurious malls are temples of consumption and capitalism. Can it be avoided? The question is if there’s actually something objectively ugly. Not even if you only look at the superficial, the shape without the context and meaning. And the ugly isn’t always bad, as well as the beautiful isn’t the same as good, just like people. We tend to think that beautiful people are good, but it’s of course not true. An old catholic church is considered beautiful, yet in its’ time it displayed a whole set of meanings and religious totalitarianism that we’re not too keen on nowadays. But we look at them differently today, because they’re old, they’re disarmed, and we can appreciate the art. [ME]


IKEA, Västra Birsta, Sweden, 1966. Photo: IBA, Sundsvalls museum

Janek Ozmin (PhD Candidate) What is ugly architecture to you? I never only see a building, it’s always more than just the material end. That’s why I think ugliness is kind of useless as an aesthetic, I’d rather talk about ugly practices; that would be practices that don’t question what architecture is, that is only concerned with the end product without considering the means of which this product comes to be. It’s exploitive. This isn’t static of course, a building can be reinvented and change over time. Can you give an example? I come to think of a few ugly typologies. Prisons for example, among other institutions of power. Another ugly concept are monocultural zones, like Disney towns or gated communities. Also, the concept of the corridor as an architectural element is very ugly to me. Why is it (the corridor) ugly? The corridor isn’t like other architectural elements like windows, walls etcetera. The corridor is mostly a byproduct of other elements because the core idea of a corridor is to cut through programs. As a result it causes separation. The historical core of the corridor is to separate 90

bodies; corridors separated servants from their masters. It’s a hard typology to appropriate as it doesn’t encourage imagination. You could consider malls as expanded corridors. In IKEA warehouses this is very evident. IKEA is an organized consumption machine, and it leaves no space for imagination. Your route is laid out to trap you, there’s food to keep you going but at the same time it plays on your weaknesses. It exposes you to a set of false emotions, and it leaves you feeling dirty: saturated in affect. Can it be avoided? It depends. It’s a horrific idea to try and rid the world of ugliness. I would instead ask how to use ugliness as a strategy. It definitely has a subversive quality. It could for example highlight monotony by sticking out. Ugliness can be used through comedy and help create a conversation. Lastly, the ugly is often unseen, therefore it could potentially be used as a camouflage on subversive ideas; an infiltration strategy. [ME]

‘The Avenue’, Ellenberg Fraser, 2015

Hayley Brivik (Architect) What is ugly architecture for you? Ugly architecture for me is when the concept for a building is not carried through all the way to construction. Poor materiality and construction choices can let a building design down and this can result in ugly architecture Can you give an example? Why are they ugly? 1.The Avenue’ By Ellenberg Fraser in South Yarra, Melbourne. This building had a strong concept and some great render images prior to construction. However, the glazed facade colour and clunky expressed mullions lets the design down and the result is ugly in my opinion! 2. ‘Maxx apartments’ By Fender Katsilidis in St

Kilda, Melbourne. This building design was based on stacked shipping containers. However, the construction and terrible beige colour choice makes for an ugly building on completion. Too many ideas and the construction didn’t even include actual shipping containers. Can it be avoided? A design can be strong but if not enough thought is not given to the materials and construction methods upfront (and continuously through the design process), this can result in ugly architecture. Avoid this by careful research into construction materials and building methods as early as sketch design. [MT]


Kruger, Bensen, & Ziemer, Clyde P Fisher Science Hall, 1977

Makenna Johnstone (Software Engineering Student) What is ugly architecture for you? The first things that come to mind are pop-corn ceilings and linoleum. Also, spaces that don’t get a lot of light. I guess it’s more about the way in which you feel in a building. For example; this building (student accommodation) you don’t get a good feeling, it doesn’t make you feel good. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s conventionally ugly, but you can still feel not good in the space, and therefore think its ugly. It’s got bad juju. Can you give an example? The building I worked in for Apple was actually really ugly. Which was surprising, because they’re all about design but it was really ugly. The outside was just a regular office building but the inside was all cubicles, it made for a really sterile environment. No personality. And then, a lot of my school is really ugly, California Polytechnic. This is more like landscape architecture but they don’t have sidewalks, the don’t make it an inviting space to be in and I think cement can be tasteful but not when it is done wrong. At my school it is done really badly. Why is it ugly? It doesn’t have a lot of character 92

in my opinion and they are all very different kinds of buildings, some of them are modern and nice while others are this old concrete, 70’s kind of. They just don’t look good together. Individually these buildings could be alright or kind of cool, maybe, if it was all like that but the combination of the new right next to the older buildings and it actually looks nice in this photo but that’s a matter of perspective and lighting, in real life it doesn’t look like this. Can it be avoided? Yes, I think it can. It’s hard because some people would say that the building I’ve just spoken about is not ugly. For instance my boyfriend loves concrete and I think it is okay in some senses but I think that a big thing is that you need to take your surroundings into consideration. In my neighbourhood, in Seattle there are a ton of really modern houses going up next to these craftsmanship homes and they just look hideous there because they don’t fit in with the existing surroundings so in the case of the concrete building at my school, they could be okay but the existing surroundings needed to be considered more. Or just don’t make things ugly. [MT]

Glömsta villa suburb, Huddinge, Sweden. v

Andreas Dahlgren (Kultur- och Fritidsförvaltningen Botkyrka) What is ugly architecture for you? For me ugly architecture is architecture without function, cause, thought or relation to the surroundings. I think there should be an idea or a will powering a structure, I want it to want something. Also, an okay looking building can look really bad in wrong surroundings. Can you give an example? I think houses in the Glömsta area are really ugly. Even if they are quite ok buildings they are packed on each other without plan, thought or relations. But I quite like the architecture in the suburbs, like in northern Botkyrka. There is beautiful thoughts behind these areas even though everything didn’t turn out as wanted on a social level. Why is it ugly? Glömsta – no plan, no relations between buildings. Can it be avoided? Plan according to the surroundings and spend some time thinking it right! [TA]


Peter Lynch (architect) What is ugly architecture for you? (Seen from the outside) John Ruskin’s idea of ugliness is a good starting point. He called the creation and propagation of harm “illth,” a word he made up, in contrast to wealth. You should read Ruskin’s lecture “Unto This Last” (1860). This is the book that inspired Mahatma Gandhi. The conception of ugliness, for Ruskin, is moral and ethical. “Illth” has echoes of “filth.” What has been destroyed, laid waste to, abused, maltreated, created as a byproduct of ignorance or selfishness, is ugly. Whatever causes discomfort, pain, unease, fear is ugly. (Seen from the inside) Anything done with love, attended to, cared for, is not ugly to the person who has done or cared for it. So it isn’t ugly in fact. The only thing that can be ugly is that thing that is not done with love or care, not tended to or attended to. A cockroach is not ugly from that eye that can empathize and identify with the coackroach. Can you give an example? (Seen from the outside) Here is an example from Ruskin’s “The Crown of Wild Olive”: Twenty years ago, there was no lovelier piece of lowland scenery in South England, nor any more pathetic in the world, by its expression of sweet human character and life... When I last left them, I walked up slowly through the back streets of Croydon, from the old church to the hospital; and, just on the left, before coming up to the crossing of the High Street, there was a new public-house built. And the front of it was built in so wise manner, that a recess of two feet was left below its front windows, between them and the street-pavement—a recess too narrow for any possible use (for even if it had been occupied by a seat, as in old time it might have been, everybody walking along the street would have fallen over the legs of the reposing wayfarers). But, by way of making this two feet depth of freehold land more expressive of the dignity of an establishment for the sale of spirituous liquors, it was 94

fenced from the pavement by an imposing iron railing, having four or five spearheads to the yard of it, and six feet high; containing as much iron and iron-work, indeed [p.7] as could well be put into the space; and by this stately arrangement, the little piece of dead ground within, between wall and street, became a protective receptacle of refuse; cigar ends, and oyster shells, and the like, such as an open-handed English street-populace habitually scatters from its presence, and was thus left, unsweepable by any ordinary methods. Now the iron bars which, uselessly (or in great degree worse than uselessly), enclosed this bit of ground, and made it pestilent, represented a quantity of work which would have cleansed the Carshalton pools three times over;—of work, partly cramped and deadly, in the mine; partly fierce and exhaustive, at the furnace; partly foolish and sedentary, of ill-taught students making bad designs: work from the beginning to the last fruits of it, and in all the branches of it, venomous, deathful, and miserable. Now, how did it come to pass that this work was done instead of the other; that the strength and life of the English operative were spent in defiling ground, instead of redeeming it; and in producing an entirely (in that place) valueless piece of metal, which can neither be eaten nor breathed, instead of medicinal fresh air, and pure water? There is but one reason for it, and at present a conclusive one,—that the capitalist can charge percentage on the work [p.8] in the one case, and cannot in the other. Why is it ugly? There is but one reason for it, and at present a conclusive one,—that the capitalist can charge per-centage on the work [p.8] in the one case, and cannot in the other. (Seen from the outside) Can it be avoided? This is a political question. (Seen from the outside) [XK]

BBPR, Torre Velasca, Milan. 1956–1958

Marcello Nasso (Architect) What is ugly architecture for you? An architecture, which doesn‘t integrate itself into the context. An architecture, which is rejected by the inhabitants of the place. Others would say: An architecture, which doesn‘t suit ones preferences. An architecture, which is not in vogue. Can you give an example? All architecture, which only refer to themselves. Others would say the exact opposite. Is there a specific building which you consider ugly? This is a difficult question, if I should give you a serious answer, without having to talk about taste. The Torre Velasca is, for example, one of the most beautiful buildings for many architects. At the same time, most people who have nothing to do with architecture hate this building and consider it as ugly. Ernesto Nathan Rogers built the Torre Velasca in Milano with his architecture firm BBPR. About the topic of taste he writes

in his book Esperienza dell‘architettura 1958, that the methodological approach does not exclude the personal emphasis, and in the final analysis, not even the question of taste. Furthermore he says that this personal emphasis is immanent in every architecture and period. And he insists that our taste is the joy of the method. In this sense for me a beautiful architecture is an architecture which is rationally conceived and still conceals a secret in its ambiguity. Because of this, I can only say about my own designs, whether they are ugly or beautiful. Why is it ugly? Because it can not be integrated into the cultural convention and the local context. Others would say: Because it doesn‘t suit my personal taste. Can it be avoided? Yes, by dealing with the place and the local culture in addition to the task. Others would say: No. [NR]


Housing Development, St.Gallen, Switzerland. Photo: Gaetan Bally

Andres Herzog (Editor Hochparterre) What is ugly architecture for you? Ugly is a building when it is only referring to itself. Can you give an example? Most of the single-family houses. Why is it ugly? Because they do not care about the urban space, because they obstruct a lot of land and because they are isolating the people. Can it be avoided? Yes, trough intelligent urban planning. [NR] 96

Speedway, Tuscon. Photo: GLHN

Dan Hoffman (Architect Principle of Studio Ma) What is ugly architecture for you? I have been puzzling over this question and do not have a ready answer. What makes them ugly, who is making that judgement, who is asking and why seem to be the relevant questions. Can you give an example? I would say that most of the post-war architecture/building in Tucson, in particular the buildings along the commercial street like Speedway are ugly. Of course there are many exceptions. Why is it ugly? The ugliness of Speedway stems from a number of factors; the dominance of the car and the fact that the buildings are separated from the street by parking lots, the way that each building acts as a sign as well as a building – often in a confused and provisional manner etc. The ugliness also emerges from the fact that the economy and planning of the

street puts emphasis on the individual lots and the minimal zoning and quality standards that are part and parcel of the urban landscape in the post-war desert southwest; maximizing individual property rights as opposed to collective, civic responsibility. The “freedom to choose� combined with a certain amount of disposable income is major factors. The economy before the war was more of a limiting factor resulting in smaller structures, a limited amount of material and building choices, a more condensed community (with less reliance on the car), resulting in a greater sense of common values. But these are all the judgements of a middle class architect who has an interest in promoting a sense of order in things. Can it be avoided? Yes, through a better planning. [SW]


Olympic Park, Huainan city, China. Rendering by Huainan Studio

Ye Li (Computer Science Student) What is ugly architecture for you? Copying then paste from a vivid object in the normal life to a giant and exaggerated size is the top ugly architecture for me. I enjoy observing the building from macroscopic view to the details. Audiences can have their own imagination generated based on the scene they see. The ugly architecture cannot invoke the inspiration, and difficult to read the deep meaning from designers’ mind. It’s like someone shouting ones elf’s hoarse who trying to tell me my design is good again and again in tedium voice and boring contents without description and illustration. Can you give an example? The high-rise hotel in Olympic park is an example. 98

Why is it ugly? It looks like a Pingpong racket, with a handler, board and pimple waiting for a Hercules from outer space to play with it? Standing there to encourage citizens to do some physical exercise to beat it? Can it be avoided? If it can be avoided, then it should be avoided from the original, the spirit of an architect, not convey the idea too crude and rush. [SW]

New York Times, New York, USA. Credit: Wikimedia commons

Nick Foy (Architecture Professor) What is ugly architecture for you? I think ugly architecture is a building or space that doesn’t respond to its surrounding context. This could be the surrounding building context, environmental context, architectural context or program context. Can you give an example? I’d say the New York Times office building in NYC is an ugly building. Why is it ugly? The building is an extruded glass box with a dense sun screen that is the same on all sides. It doesn’t seem to respond to the sun path or else we might see some variation on the density of the sun screen if not on each side then maybe on different floors. It seems like NYC has become characterized with how tall can you build and not much

else. Architecturally it doesn’t seem to play off of any of its surrounding contact. I’d say what they have is a functional building, but nothing else going for them. Can it be avoided? I think so, but as architects we need to figure out how to give clients a functional building along with it being interesting to others. What I mean by this is can we create added value to a building, which could take the form of having part of it be for the public, informative somehow, or maybe a statement. I think a far more interesting building in a city full of skyscrapers would be something that serves as an anti-skyscraper. A building has a functional purpose, but it also should also try to bring something new to the conversation about the built environment. [SW]



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An inventory of companies



Retail 11 Coop Forum Systembolaget XXL ZOO Kompaniet 12 ÖoB 13 Elgiganten Stadium 14 Arken Zoo Arninge Floristen Arninge Hårcenter Bokhandeln i Täby ChopChop Asian Expres Däckskiftarna Datagrottan Dressmann Elon Hemtex Jula Kicks Lekia Lindex Mimi Nails Skopunkten 15 Gas Station OKQ8 16 Gas Station St1 17 Apoteket Atlantis Café Arne Cervera H&M ICA Kvantum 18 Jaktvillan 19 MAX 110 Gas Station Circle K 111 Café Gotti Granngården AB 112 JYSK KungSängen Lager 157 Rusta Sängvarhuset Sova Willys

Industrial 113 Mishmish Nannic Swedsign AB 114 Perfect Print Sverige AB YRC Rental Service Arninge 115 Speedy Bilservice Arninge 116 Ahlsell Täby 117 Riddermark Bil Täby AB 118 Arninge Elektriska AB Postnord Företagcenter 119 Bd Stockholm Bil AB 120 Collett Svetsmaskinservice AB 121 Sindeq Borrteknik AB 122 Zehnder Group Motala AB 123 MJ‘s Restaurang och Café 124 MHS Engine Historical Society 125 Pharmakon AB 126 Idea Kitchen & Bath 127 Transmotec AB 128 In Time Electronics AB 129 Natoband 130 She Assistans AB 131 Försunda LSS AB 132 Rectagon Trading AB 133 Design2you i Stockholm AB 134 Sign Up Form & Dekor 135 Forteks AB 136 Aidex AB 137 Motley Denim 138 Folkpool Arninge 139 K-rauta 140 Dormy Golf Arninge 141 Riksarkivet Arninge 142 Boetten AB 143 Tradeport AB 144 Flir Systems AB

29 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232

Autodekor Signode AB Severa Pet Foods Täbykopia AB Länna Handelshus AB Lidingö Marinagenturer AB Posten Signcraft Skyltar AB UNO Larsson AB Ekofasad Exclusive Cars Norr Verkstad NHC Gruppen Organowood AB Pizza Express Hemkörning Alkej Artline Crossfit Täby Glass Grossisten Stockholm AB WD Waxdepån Zander & Ingeström emusic ROSWI Stark Telecom AB Collett Svetsmaskinservice AB NordicDoc Solutions AB Norrorts Vitvaruservice AB Actic Sverige AB Norrorts Rör AB Mitoo Sport AB Megakakel Boden & Lindeberg AB Wangeskog Hyrcenter Öst AB Byggmax Stockholm Täby Styrlogic AB Ballingslöv Svensk Arena Service AB Elit Instrument AB

Industrial food

Industrial manufacturing 31 Kakeldax MECA 32 Babylon Grillhouse Hamburgarstugan SBG Bilservice AB 33 BC Micrologistic AB Förenade Care AB Asih Fyndab Möbelbutik Lyckliga Tassar Hunddagis & Hundpensionat Peter Jonson & Company AB PKT Profilkompaniet AB 34 Transportcenter AB 35 XL-BYGG Täby Screen & Gravyr Remneby AB 36 Kontorab AB 37 Pewe Billackering 38 Nordic Floorball AB 39 Kakelhörnan Arninge Vattenbutiken 310 Butik 311 Bio Hygien 312 W&H Nordic AB 313 Centro kakel och klinker 314 Better Hockey Sweden MRP Täby Markis & Persienn AB Strömsbergsgård 315 Danderyds Snickeri AB 316 Geze Scandinavia AB 317 WaterTech of Sweden AB 318 Medela Medical AB 319 Morten Maskin AB 320 Sindeq Borrteknik AB 321 TSS AB 322 Zehnder Group Motala AB 323 Aquadesign 324 Bs i Stockholm AB 325 Flux AB 326 Young Space Sweden 327 Bastupunkten Abelin & Borg AB 328 Eminenta-Värdia 329 Städia AB 330 Rörpartner AB 331 Allround-Inredningar i Stockholm

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

332 Ibiza Products In Talamanca AB Ledliststillverkaren i Täby AB Ljus i Norden AB 333 Select Trading AB 334 Kiilto AB 335 Hugo Ortiz Mori 336 Wem Works AB 337 Arninge Kök & Lackering AB 338 Auuto Eliten 339 Ebp AB 340 AB Mohawk Brewing Company AB Wicked Wine Sweden Gustvall ridsport AB 341 Nordic Biolabs AB Täbykopia AB 342 Bällsta Mekaniska AB 343 Jackon AB

41 Spectrogon AB 42 Vitality

Industrial metal 51 Kontorab AB 52 Crossborder International AB

233 Arninge Tandklinik Handelsbanken 234 IQS Energi Komfort AB 235 JOAB Service AB 236 Stocklog 237 TBA 238 Folkhemmet 239 Crossborder International AB 240 Leo‘s Lekland 241 Kaeser Kompressorer GKAK Arkitektgruppen 242 Dahl Daily Sports AB 243 Täby Nyans 244 Trampolinspecialisten 245 Harald Pihl 246 Teamex Maskinteknik 247 Per Nycander AB 248 Upplevelsebutiken Sverige AB 249 Wåtz Finplat AB 250 Sotarverktyg Stockholm Spisdoktorn 251 Swedol 252 Robota AB 253 MDT Markvaruhuset AB 254 Svenska Stengruppen 255 D-Max Print Euromaster Täby 256 Carspect Bilbesiktning Arninge Expedition Store Sweden AB Vianor Stockholm 257 LMK Markvårdsmaskiner AB 258 Åkes Bil & Motor i Stockholm AB 259 Alwerco Svets & Smide AB 260 Dorocell AB 261 Hydropool

Industrial textile 61 Trans Art i Varberg AB 62 Hamilton Design AB

Industrial textile 71 Evidensia Djurkliniken Arninge 72 Wangeskog Hyrcenter 73 Fuktkontroll Rahle AB
















Articulating ugliness


A. Linjalen 26 Ana Sofia Pinto

Ugliness is subjective, and therefore the explanatory statement on my ugly architectural creation is surely an exercise on the reader’s mental flexibility. From the numerous reasons I could provide as a justification for my choices in the designing process, the focus will be on the strategic placement of the new volume, on its materiality, on its detailing, coordinated with some more empirical considerations on taste and expectation. By inserting my volume in such specific position my intention was to create a disruption in the continuity of the street where the main building stands, as well as in the monotonous regularity of the totality. Although this could be understood as a beneficial action, one to bring diversity to the composition, I don’t perceive the new volume in such a way. It is rather small to create the necessary impact, falling short of the so needed disruption. This is certainly one of the wrong kind, providing no balance nor counterpoint. Such small volume aims for nothing more than to be a simple word, not being able to either take part nor strongly formulate a statement of improvement. When materiality is concerned, I must admit that the sense of taste was my strongest compass throughout all the thinking process. One may think of marble and fat – a juxtaposition of tastes that in their conflict expresses ugliness. That was the feeling I aimed for by bringing painted tile into the composition. Carnivores favour marbled meat for its tenderness and architects seek veined marble for its beauty. This volume is not a fine cut of meat, the best of steaks; it is the nightmare of a chef, a processed chicken nugget from some fast food chain. The coldness of the tile collides with the warmth of the wood, the roughness of the brick, the roof tiles and the copper roofing composing a meal of leftovers that may not be boring, but is certainly not something I would like to taste. 110

To this materiality conflict one must add even another layer - the one concerning the materiality that wants to be, but is not. By using the painted tile as a way of imitating something that already exists, the wood, I see no exquisiteness. I believe in the truth of materials. I believe in the truth of ingredients. The so called “healthy cake” disgusts me. The basis of pastry is flour, eggs and sugar. If one wants the real thing, one must use the real ingredients. The very same applies to architecture. I believe in architecture made of something that is, not of something that pretends to be. Tile is a great material. Painted tile is a great material. Painted tile in this context, is surely not. From a certain distance, the fake materiality may fool one’s eye, but as soon as the subject approaches the building and realizes there is no real wood in the new volume, that it is all but a trick, expectation and reality collide in a way I perceive as ugly. What one expects is substituted by a forgery materializing the ugly action of deceiving the observer. As one passes beyond the expectations that were not met and looks closely, approaching detailing, the painted tile volume of ugliness presents itself as even more horrendous. The details on the original volume were already quite daunting – the secondary door, the different heights and connections between elements -, and the ones created by the insertion of the new addition have nothing on improvement: its placement, but more importantly, the way it connects with the pre-existent office building, providing room for fake continuities and for non-alignments, emphasizes de ugliness of the lack of care in the act of thinking the details, so omnipresent in architectural thought.

Existing building


Existing building with addition GSEducationalVersion




B. Besmanet 8 Anton Lindström

Lifestyle Extension on Arninge Centrum The existing building is a post-modern shopping mall with offices from the early 1980ies. Today it hosts a supermarket, a pharmacy, a cutlery store, two furniture stores and an independent café. The office spaces appear to be vacant. The façade is a combination of blue coloured steel elements (in different hues) and orange brick. There is also the recent addition of a thick dark blue plate, done in 2013, covering the roof structure. In the middle of the façade facing the parking lot there is a break from the overall aesthetic, adding three 45° rotated elements (two “towers”, and in between them, a sloped triangular glass entrance). The materials have not aged with much grace and the architecture might be unfashionable, but it is not a horrendous building. In comparison to contemporary shopping malls, there is a clear idea of architecture by itself and the detailing is simple but solid. The extension completely covers the glass entrance, destroying one of the major parts of the original building and disrupting the overall logic off the three 45° rotated elements. The added box volume is a lazy and cheap design for the sake of maximum profit. In an attempt to fit in with the original building it is cladded with a similar pale blue plate. It is just a few shades more saturated since it was not economically viable to buy new plates when it was discovered that the colours didn’t exactly match. The size and structure of the plates is also changed to a more standard configuration – the idea of replicating or making a fitting pattern similar to the old one was abandoned for economic reasons. The clean new façade stands in stark contrast to the existing buildings dirty look, clearly neglected in the renovation for the sake of the extension. Further, while trying to fit in with the old building, it is also a fresh start for Arninge Centrum. A new, more contemporary, lifestyle image is attempted to attract a wider crowd – this is the main reason for the 114

investment. Hip stores “Joe & the Juice”, “Starbucks” and “& Other Stories” now have spaces here and their logos cover around 30% of the front. A new name sign for the building is also produced, increasing its size and adding an exclamation mark to symbolize Arninge Centrums transgression. The entrance is given extra care with blue neon lights, hinting at the cool, “party-like”, shopping environment inside. To top it off, the glass is covered with silhouettes of excited people and a fun pattern based on blue circles. The extension is designed to remove these redeeming qualities and emphasize its worst parts. This is done by referencing the contemporary movement in how shopping malls are drawn and built. It is an attempt to artificially produce a plausible extension and “mall architecture” where economic values are put above all for the sake of profit for the owners. Where all architecture is just for show and there is no real content behind, expecting consumers to fall for this superficial ploy at increasing the overall value of the mall with shallow “hipness”. While at the same time striving for real architectural effect in a misguided way and in the process, more or less accidentally, destroying the values that were there originally. A combination of greed, stupidity and safe playing that actually could be built in today’s environment.

Existing building






C. Besmanet 3 Fredrik Holmér

What makes it ugly? Primarily it is the disrespect it shows to the existing building and the thought and care that went into making it. The way it analyses and then goes on to invert or corrupt what is beautiful about the original building. For example the original building that can be read as a metal shed with brick cladding in the corners feels stable and grounded with very small means. The addition attempts to do the opposite, the cladding is of wooden planks topped off with a heavy wall of leca-blocks. This gives the addition a top heavy feeling that might threaten the viewer but also makes the total composition meshed and mixed. This top heaviness also relates to the coloring of the addition, where the grey of the leca blocks feels heavy, and the wood of the planks a little less so and then the blue base is supposed to be the lightest resembling the sky this color palette is also a stark contrast to the warm brown and orange of the original building. The coloring of the window frames adds to the excess in impressions that the addition sends out. The original building uses a more limited palette. The same goes for the shape of the windows that are a bit more varied in shape (square, round, triangular) on the addition as compared to the originals (rectangular). The windows on the addition also have an irregular placement causing them to break the lines of the façade, for example the meeting of the base and the wood cladding and the meeting between the wood cladding and the leca block wall. The windows of the original building do not break the lines but follow a more traditional architecture. The original building has two parallel pitched roofs that are hidden behind a drawn up façade of corrugated metal sheets. The addition also has a pitched roof but perpendicular to the direction of the originals. The additions roof is almost hidden behind a drawn up 118

façade but not quite so the top of the roof sticks up. The original building can be seen as two merged cuboids that together create a slightly more complicated form. The addition removes this part of the buildings expression by completing the box and turning it into the simpler cuboid. The addition meets the original in height but not in terms of façade materials instead it introduces a new material (wood) to the mix. The lines of the meetings of different façade cladding materials also do not meet causing some perhaps confusing meetings between the original building and the addition. The original building also shows some care in making the base as small as possible and to a large extent meets the ground very precisely. The addition on the other hand uses an almost random height of the base that could make it feel less careful or intentional while at the same time causing a strange meeting of the bases of the original building and the addition. The drainpipes of the original building are hidden while on the addition the water discharge is clearly visible as they are extensions of the corrugated steel roof that protrude through holes in the leca block wall. The entrance to the building is placed on the corner under the water discharge that partly acts as a roof when you are right under the door but also leads the water right out around you How do you make sure that something is ugly? It says more about the viewer than about the building but for one it should hurt the eye of the viewer in some way. Could be by breaking the rules and conventions or pre-conceived notions of what a building is and how it behaves. The viewer should be provoked and/ or excited. For the viewer it should not come together as a whole or complete building it should be missing something or be excessive in some way, or both.

Existing building






D. Mikrometern 2 Giulia Cereghetti

The building I’ve been working with in Arninge is an industrial corrugated metal shed, a very common prefabricated modul of a hangar. It’s probably a construction that exist and stands all over the world, so standardised that it is not even considered as a proper building from the municipality. The rest of the plot as the shed itself is designated to the storage of things, from cargo container to boats, from tracks to tyres everything piled upon one another. The hangar has actually a pretty pure and proportionate shape, made out of a half cylinder, so what was disturbing me from the beginning were the interferences that occured in contrast with the geometrical form of the building, such as the chimney, the openings and all the left things on the plot. From there came the idea of emphasize the ruination of the pure form, not just by adding alien object like it appeared to be done before, but by completely destroying the geometrical shape of the shed. In order to do that I put the ability of the shed to carry weight to the test. I constructed a rectangular molde around it and filled it with concrete until I’ve reached the collapsing point and the metal started to deform creating curved roof shapes defined by the benting potential of the material and the carrying ability of it. After my addition the space inside has changed significantly, now the curved shape of the roof makes feel the weight above and contributes with the limited source of light to create an oppressive an a bit sacral atmosphere. The mold still propped up from outside gives the feeling of instability that then gets reflected in the inside ambience as well. 122

Existing building


Rebuilt building


Longitudinal section

Longitudinal section 1:100

Floor plan 1:100

Floor plan


E. Dragstiftet 9 Hamish Collins

The existing building is located in an industrial estate north of Stockholm in the suburb of Arninge. The simple design subtly displays the ugliness in architecture that is all too common within the built environment and modern extensions. The original building found on the site is made up of three separate constructions, it includes a sloped roof L-shaped building with the addition of two boxy warehouse spaces. The ugliness of the existing building can be explained through a range of factors. The combination of architectural styles, typologies and extensions without paying much respect to the existing buildings exemplifies a lack of design thought. The combination of different roof pitches and junctions assist in making the building look mismatched and messy. The colour pallet of cream render, brassy windows and a red/brown roof has been replicated across all buildings to tie the designs together, but somehow manages to make the building look boring and unattractive. The use of the same small standardised windows across the entire building creates a cheap and lacklustre aesthetic, with unproportioned and unbalanced facades. The dirtiness of the existing renders makes it quite obvious to tell the buildings apart, even though the past designers have tried ever so hard to tie all the buildings together into one cohesive project. Most importantly, the building houses a boutique carpentry company and the building itself is unsuccessful at selling the businesses ‘aesthetic’ of beautiful, careful and well thought out craftsmanship. With the new addition, it was important to articulate the ugliness that was already perfectly shown within the existing structures. The addition of a Swedish Barn house typology using the same materials, windows and colours was important to mimic the mistakes of past developments. Another roof pitch, typology and architectural style has been introduced to the site,


whilst still trying to tie it back to the original buildings with colours and materials. Although using the same materials, this addition may not be ugly if removed from the jumble of other buildings. As Mark Cousins (AA) explains, ugliness is an independent dimension that is experienced when something is there that simply should not be. He believes dirt is not dirty because of its substantial form, but simply because of the fact that it is in the wrong place. The addition of the Barn house sells this idea, as it would not be so ugly if it was standing alone in the right context, unattached from other buildings and in the countryside. The addition of the building makes passer-by’s question the intentions of the designer. In addition, the main key of this extension was to create an architectural project that is not incredibly impossible. Sometimes when a client wants to extend they don’t necessarily consider the existing buildings, but just want what is on the top of their mind, which in this case may have been a barn house. It is evident with the existing two extensions that they have felt this way in developing the site before, so it was important to continue this way of thinking. In conclusion, the extension is successful in continuing the ugly thought pattern and design that originally existed on the Arninge site.

Existing building


Existing building with addition




F. Mätstången 2 Henrik Westling

The new building is a 25 percent extension of the old building at Linjalvägen 6. It constitutes s a new terminal for the high sealing warehouse wing. It is a simple building that uses the same type of prefabricated concrete walls that measures 6x 3 meters and 4 times 3 meters and could be found in the original building. Also the windows are the same as in the existing building. The fire stair is moved from the gable to the front side of the new extension which now also makes it an esthetic detail. The port are moved to where it is best placed for accessibility. And the window are placed to get light and high enough so you wouldn’t be able to see in to the building. The overall form are brought from the original and it makes place for the trash container that has its place on the backside. The sealing works as a continuation of the already existing ceiling and makes a rise from ground level to the top. To me the original building is ugly just as I watch it. It reminds me of the postmodern style from the 80 or early 90s. Whit sharp angled forms and strange decorations in the prefabricated concrete blocks that are lined up along the facade. Big glass sections makes the entrance, broken up with a few really strong colored patches in red and green. Aldo postmodernism is a widely used concept this building expresses the worst kind of postmodernism to me. The postmodernism that constitutes a reaction against the modernism in the way of only a matter of expression. The kind of architecture that becomes a play whit forms and materials just to get a visual effect, reducing architecture to just a surface and an image. But this building is actually even uglier than that. Because this building is only tries to copy a contemporary style. Built in 1990 postmodern would then be the contemporary architectural esthetics. So the building in this meaning reduced to just copy of an image.


However having in mind the possibility that now approximately 30 years after this postmodern architecture golden days, we now think the worst of this particular esthetics and therefore it’s in the cycle of fashion that it now feels natural to take a distance from it. That the ugly of this building only is located in the shallow attempt to copy a contemporary architecture just as a surface. As in this building the exterior has nothing to do with the interior. Whether the architect was aware of that the building became a symbol for something else or not, it is now on a second thought that the true ugly is located. To make the extension even uglier than the original building it has also to become a symbol of something that has nothing to do with the rest of the architecture, something that makes no sense and reduces to the surface. To make it truly ugly the architecture has to become a new symbol, it matter less of what kind, but In this case it turned out to some type of animal, maybe a fish or an eel. As a surface the new extension has now turned the whole building in to a new image. The image of a creature.

Existing building


Existing building with addition




G. Vinkelhaken 3 Johanna Permert

Boetten FĂśrvaltnings AB is situated within a context it does not really belong to. The building behave more like a residential villa compare to the monotone big lager complexes surrounding it. The building of Boetten has a much higher level of detailing in its design and the pale yellow and green colour of the facade does not belong within its industrial context. Today the building consist of three different volumes. At first sight these volumes may look symmetric and complete, but when you start to look more closely you find a wide variety of differences. The roof angles of the different volumes are not the same, the composition of the buildings differ and the windows placements do not follow the same pattern. This misch-mash of inconsistency in detailing and form, transforms this otherwise rather properly and well made building into an ugly and disturbing composition. In this project I wanted to enhance the disharmony and to contribute to the asymmetric detailing of the building. By using disharmony, inconsistency and dissonance, I wanted to create a failed harmony with my addition to Boettens existing buildings. To be able to create this disharmony in my project, I added two similar volumes on each side of the existing building. These extensions intended to work as a balance on each side of the unbalanced existing building. These two similar extensions also work as a contrast to the asymmetric existing building. Still, the contrast between the extension and the existing building is not enough. It does not create the disharmony I was aiming for. According to Karl Rosenkrantzs and his Aesthetic of Ugliness, there is a differences between necessary disharmony, which is in fact beautiful, and the incidental disharmony, which is ugly. To create this incidental disharmony I had to design unplanned mistakes in a very subtle way within my extensions. The differences between the ele-


ments in the buildings had to be carefully made in an incorrectly and skewed way to create a “successful� disharmony. To enhance the ugly I also wanted to play with the lack of expected patterns; one expect for something to happen, whereas something different occurs. You may expect the extension to be identical and similar to the existing building at first sight, but when you look more closely, the differences start to appear. The new roofs do not have the same heights and different angles compere to the existing ones, and they do not even have the same design between themselves. The newly added lamps on the extensions are different from the existing ones, slightly smaller and with a colder kind of light. The colours of the new plaster is also in another hue compared to the original colour as well as the colour of the new wooden panel. This fail of expectation in symmetric balance and detailing between the existing building and the extensions is what creates the ugliness. The building becomes sloppy and annoying and instead of displaying a wholeness, it only express individual pieces that does not really work together. Nothing seems to connect to one other or to be similar to the rest. The different shapes are all playing individual roles and do not belong to each other. Ugly for me is not understanding, when shapes and design gives you more question than answers. My aim in this project was to create a design that awakens question that you do not find answers to, instead, you find even more questions.

Existing building


Existing building with addition




H. Passaren 4 Marie Ekblad

The object of my investigation is a factory situated in the north west corner of Arninge. The Norwegian company Jackon are running it for producing insulation plastic for a variety of uses. The factory was chosen as an example of ugliness for the five following reasons: #1. incomprehensible The building, which consists of many different parts, is hard to understand and overlook from either side. When walking around it, all parts are growing into one another without any detectable logic. You almost need a top perspective to understand how the body of the building is put together. This makes it ugly because it gives you a feeling of uncertainty and disorientation. #2. unplanned The previous argument has a lot to do with the lack of planning. Parts of the building seems to have been added in different attempts to increase the capacity of the factory, but without having a coherent idea of how this growth should occur. The lack of planning makes it ugly because it allows for the building to grow aimlessly and uncontrollably. #3. fragmented The lack of planning means that the different parts of the building look noticeably varied. This is especially true for the office, which is mounted as an extension on what looks like the oldest part of the factory. The office has a very different logic with wooden panels, dormers on the roof, and contrasting colours on the window casings. The fragmentation of the building might be the ugliest of all its traits because it makes all attempts to transform the building seem phony. The inconsistent use of various details makes the whole composition fall apart in an almost humorous way. #4. inefficient A factory has a very specific use, but the spontaneous additions to the buildings create practical 138

problems concerning the workflow and efficiency. The function is damaged by the buildings design in several ways. The workflows are not properly worked out, and the growing building has left little room for the lorries to pass in and out. It is inexcusable for a factory to be so inefficient, and this gives the building a second layer of ugliness beyond superficial criteria. #5. inappropriate The uses of materials, details, shapes and symbols is very confusing. Something that ties all of the parts together are the green coloured roofs, looking very similar to the green copper roofs that are so significant for Stockholm and its historical architecture. But they are not very helpful to convey the idea that this is a factory. Panelling and windows on the office also relates to another building typology. The rest of the factory is clad with corrugated metal and if they would have stuck to that style it would have helped the building be more consistent and readable. Inconsistencies make the whole building conspicuous, and totally inappropriate for the typology. My extension is a separate building created from building shapes and details taken directly from the existing factory building. Detailing and composition has been chosen to mimic the rhythm of the factory’s front facade. It’s meant to be an interpretation, but not an exaggeration, of the existing building. The use of the extension is mysterious, in the same fashion as the factory itself.

Existing building

ISOMETRI 1:400 139

Existing building with addition




I. PASSAREN 3 Mia Tulen

The ugly building. To extend the ugliness, one must first analyse where the ugliness initially manifests. The building presents itself as starkly irregular in it’s presentation of form, execution and choice of colour but it is the ugliness that comes to light upon closer inspection that resonates as truly ugly. It is here we notice the failure to meet expectations, misalignment, non unity and the feeling that things were simply put together as an after thought. The elements that have been subtracted from and then disregarded, rendering the once finished elements of the building as once again, unfinished. My ugly extension captures these incomplete moments of ugliness and hero’s them as a monument to the unexpectedly ugly. It is from here that I have developed the five points of ugliness that emulate throughout the building. The ugly extension is situated within an existing courtyard created by the original building. By placing the new extension in close proximity to the existing, incidental, awkwardly too narrow corridors are created around the perimeter of the extension. These incidental corridors function, or fail to function in a way that allows the extension to be accessible but in a way that is uncomfortable, claustrophobic. In the winter months these spaces would fill with snow and would become very difficult to clear. The proximity to the existing building also blocks views from the windows of the existing building and limits the amount of light that is able to enter. “If the unity of difference is destroyed by becoming contradiction without returning to unification, a kind of rupture emerges that is adequately called disharmony. Incidental disharmony is ugly.” Asymmetry. The act of deliberately altering the window mullions to be slightly misaligned acts as an element of ugliness. “The absence of symmetry where symmetry where we would expect it hurts us.” The use of deliberate symmetrical mullions on half of the extension creates a contrast between the symmetrical and the asymmetrical. The effect here is that the ugliness of the asymmetry is emphasised by the presence of the expected, or the symmetrical. By showing 142

the desired outcome and then negating it with the unexpected, an unpleasant outcome is achieved. “What I polish recedes, what is dirty approaches. The more you clean something the dirtier it gets.” The layering of “ugly aspects” through varying degrees of subtle discernibility cultivates as you begin to carefully depict the building. The more you look, the more you uncover. The ugly and the incoherent begin to cover the building like a layer of grime that once you have uncovered cannot be unseen, overbearing the building into a mess of ugliness. The ugly junction. By over exaggerating the awkward junctions, you are unable to avoid them, to unsee them. The glorification of the awkward junction brings to light the existing awkwardness in the original building. Accentuating what one might have overlooked before. “Ugliness is condemned to the role of the mistake”. The awkward junction exists where two building elements have seemingly been forced together without thought. The resulting intersection is consequential of poor planning and craftsmanship. Ugliness as failed expectations: “Fundamentally unplanned, unexpected, not supposed to be.” Smaller elements that don’t quite match up work together to create a complete ugliness that are more successful here than one large gesture. The finer elements build up, infecting the building, creating a complete ugliness. It is the extension as a whole that fails to meet the expectations of what an extension should be.

Existing building


Existing building with addition




J. Besmanet 9 Noëmi Ruf

A gasoline station is generally an ugly and ordinary space. We usually do not pay any attention to this kind of spaces and neglect their existence in a city context. The architecture is mostly a common standard version of the same, purely functional structure, where no considerable importance is attached to the appearance. Even though these places are spread all over the country, it is not something we want to be visible. Therefore the look of a gasoline station is familiar to every one, but no one could name specific qualities of the different locations. The lack of identity makes the perception of these spaces identical all around the world. Most of the people get to visit a gasoline station regularly, but it is never the final destination, just a stop along the way to another place. No one wants to spend more time there than necessary. It is a truly ugly space in the sense of that it is a non-place, a space without any history, relation or identity. The gasoline station in Arninge is not much different to a gasoline station anywhere else in the world. It is neither more beautiful nor more ugly. The space is just ordinary and has no inherent qualities. The basic structure consists of two fuel dispensers and a roof. In order to achieve the goal to make the place more ugly I tried to increase the ugly characteristics, which already exist. For that reason I placed four identical concrete segments around the gasoline station. The intervention itself might not be seen as something ugly per se but in the context with the ugly space of the gasoline station it certainly is. The main goal of my intervention was to make a place out of the non-place and therefore to make the ugly visible. By taking the filter of the ordinary away from the gasoline station, the truly ugly is revealed. Walls define a space. Even though the walls itself have no ugly characteristics, they affect the space, which they enclose. With the intervention the space does not get any more qualities than before, it stays 146

the same mono-functional place of the gasoline station. Though the perception of the space gets even worse since the attention of the visitor gets focused on the space itself and the awareness of the ugly increases. With the walls around the gasoline station the visual connection to the streets or the surrounding is partially interrupted and only hints to the outside remain. Walls define a space but they also establish a difference between outside and inside. One of the characteristics of a non-place is that it has no relation to its context. With the walls enclosing the gasoline station, the context gets entirely excluded. The high concrete segments have no relation to any of the surrounding buildings and are completely out of the human scale. The site stays autonomous in the industrial area of Arninge. The walls have a great impact on the perception of the space from the outside. At the same time they are close enough to the gasoline station to define an inside space, which is ugly for a place where you don‘t want to be at, but rather want to get away from. With the high walls surrounding the gasoline station, the place becomes something else. The monumentality of the concrete walls gives a distinctive character to the site and creates an identity. However, it can only provide a „fake identity“ because it does not match the expectations, since it is only a gasoline station after all. The only function the walls contain is to make a place out of the non-place and thereby making it more ugly. In the end the gasoline station becomes a monument of ugliness, which is visible from a great distance.




Existing building





Existing building with addition





K. Gradskivan 3 Kaixuan Xie

The existing building is a single-floor structure used as repair room and storage place, make of concrete and corrugated plate. Since I found the existing building is already ugly and boring in terms of material and proportion, the addition I made is basically a miniature of the original building on top of it. I shrunk the two façades at different scales with the ceiling height barely sufficient to live with, and kept every proportions and elements of the whole building. Below are the arguments on ugliness I created with this building. The way I shrunk the building was to treat it as an object, an industrial product but not an architecture. The facades were collaged together in different scales and stretched to the same height. The ugly can be found through an investigation of the unexpected or incongruous in this work. Also, the replica itself is a kind of reoccurrence of the industrial atmosphere. Secondly, the addition was put almost in the middle of the plane which brings here hierarchy in size and symmetry in shape that are elements usually used to design formal building, but considering the building is made of materials with a temporary and cheap nature, such use of ordering principles only makes this building most inappropriate in the industrial surroundings. The shrunk façade also changed the property of the building elements; some of the doors on second floor now turned into windows for they were too narrow for people to pass through. These fake doors made the addition seemingly uglier due to its inability to meet expected conditions since “ugly is the asymmetrical growth or addition of a third limb, or the addition of a misplaced window”. 1 So, I put the original building and its replica together and transformed it into these references. The displacement and replacement of expected meaning through shifts in material, the lack of expected patterns, the lack of expected functions, the lack of


expected inhabitation, and so on, caused the reactive force of the ugly.2 To me, architecture is about atmosphere; the proportion, colour palette, texture etc., but this building fails to meet all these qualities which in my view is a great illustration of ugliness in architecture. 1. Caroline O’Donnell: Fugly. Log, No. 22, The Absurd (Spring/Summer 2011), pp. 96 2. Ibid. 98

Existing building


Existing building with addition







L. Lodet 7 Therese Andersson

Lodet 7 is is an office house in Arninge for Cowab products. It is 310 sqm, with a rectangular form. It is quite uninteresting but I have listed 5 things below of which I think is special for this building. FALSE: The facade is inconsistent with the structure of the building . At first glance the facade seems to have different materials for different floors but the floor levels and the materials do not coincide. When the inside of the building is so obviously not correctly represented in the facade, it creates a disjointed appearance. For example the material shift above the window frame disrupts the composition. INADEQUATE: The building has three different materials and it is hard to see why. In the facade there are traces of a previous increase in the ground level. The foundation which is made of concrete is gradually elevated from the ground and adapts to a condition that is no longer current. Probably the ground has been flattened and the drawings have not been adjusted to the new circumstances. This is one example of a flaw and there are many other similar shortcomings. The corrugated steel is presented in two ways, which gives an even more messed up impression of the building. BORING: The windows are quite small in relation to the building (10x12) This means that they are almost squared but not quite. The boring windows are highlighted more clearly by changing direction in the corrugated steel. TAKING FORMS FROM THE ROMANESQUE ARCHITECTURE: The plastic long roof is arched shaped. Nothing else in this building has this shape. But these types of roofs flirts with this period when people decorated their homes with replicas of baroque furniture in a time when modernism pushed for clean simple functionalism. And while modernist accused it for being fake the people bought this furniture and thought


it was a symbol for wealth. They were very proud of them and kept them in a special room- “Finrummet” only to be used on special occasions. I do not like the plastic roof but I have a special feeling for ”finrummet” and the value it brought to the generation, who worked themselves up in our society. COMEDIAN: The building is so boring so when I articulated some details it almost become like a comic gesture. Therefore I extracted sunshades in arc forms on the windows. The extension becomes a mix between an old electric power station (elverk) and an ice cream kiosk, the bigger bricks and the flat roof tiles connects us also with references from the circus. And with these plastic arc roofs over the stairs and over the path between the buildings the house begins to resemble an animal.

Existing building


Existing building with extension




M. Dragstiftet 6 Sida Wang

The ugly extension for existing office building has a function of a rest/coffee room, a conference room and a bathroom. It takes place on the original parking space and changed the entrance of the office building. In order to keep the function of parking, the ugly extension is only taking two third of the space. The original office building façade is covered with white corrugated metal sheet and blue window heads. In fact, the building is not considered ugly by itself because it looks like a villa on the beach. However, when putting it in the middle of industrial zone, it became ugly because it does not play well with the context. The ugly extension has the potential of extend the ugliness of the original. Therefore, it utilized the same color scheme and material selection to enhance the ugly effect. Moreover, the ugly extension adds another layer of ugliness which focused on the spatial organization of the programs. This type of ugliness is not reflected in visual experience but involved in through movement and more senses. The concept of ugliness embodies the idea of reading: “what is there but should not be” The interior space interrupts the user experience. The layout consists the program space which has covered each other, so that one could not enter the space without access another one. Each room has two doors which makes people even more confused about whether they entered the right place or not. This provides another level of inconvenience to the people who have to the space (people would avoid using them in general). And as time goes by, people will get annoyed by using the space and that is the goal of this ugliness. Adding another level of ugliness is to consider the detailing. The original office building is not well taken care of the detailing. For instance, the windows are not lined up. The spacing between windows seemed to be a mistake. And the shading structure of the window is only locating


on the west side of the building which left the building looks unbalanced. In addition, the pipelines are off. Instead of hidden under the roof, they are exposed in the wall and above the window. Therefore, the extension decides to keep these “mistakes” of the original and reinforce the ugliness.

Existing building



building with extension ISOMETRIC WITHExisting EXTENSION



Plan of existing building


Plan of existing with addition



A visual reader


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Huainan city

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Object: Paรงo dos Reis | Architect: | Location: Paraisรณpolis, Sรฃo Paulo, Brazil | Year: 1977

Object: Havenhuis | Architect: Zaha Hadid | Location: Antwerp, Belgium | Year: 2016


Object: Chedi Hotel | Architect: Jean-Michel Gathy | Location: Andermatt, Switzerland | Year: 2013

Object: Market Hall | Architect: Friedensreich Hundertwasser | Location: Altenrhein, Switzerland | Year: 1998 — 2001


Object: Maisons des Schtroumpfs | Architect: Frei, Hunziker, Berthoud | Location: Geneva, Switzerland | Year: 1984

Object: Autobahnraststätte | Architect: Casoni & Casoni | Location: Pratteln, Switzerland | Year: 1978


Object: Housing | Architect: Gert Marcus | Location: Flemmingsberg, Huddinge | Year: 1973

Object: Brasilia | Author: Lucio Costa | Location: Brazil | Year: 1960


Object: Mora Noret Retail Park | Architect: Unknown | Location: Mora, Sweden | Year: 2014

Object: NOD House | Architect: White architects | Location: Kista | Year: 2014


Object: Glass Balcony | Architect: Unknown | Location: Unknown | Year: 20th century

Object: Concept for Sundsvall square | Architect: WingĂĽrdh architects | Location: Sundsvall | Year: 2015


Object: Random mexi brick house | Author: Unknown | Location: Huddinge | Year: 1970s-1980s

Object: Goetheanium | Architect: Rudolf Steiner | Location: Dornach, Switzerland | Year: 2015



A Visual Reader

edia/File:KWC_-_1989_Aerial.jpg, b Wikimedia commons Unusduotres,

168 169 a Darren Bradley

192 a Erik Wannee,, b BIG,


193 a Hufton+Crow, Eric Jap b Interfoto Alamy

171 a Francisco Miudo, b Joana Nogueira,


172 a Tomorrow, b McDonlads Europe press office, Interior Lim

195 a CEphoto, Uwe Aranas CC-BY-SA, b

Food DÈcor De Roma 173 a Frankie Fouganthin CC BY-SA 4.0, b Lyndsey Dennis, 174 vb Jan Pol·k, CC BY-SA 3.0mnmn 175 a, 24/9-2017mnm 176 a Wikimedia commons, Cornell University Library, b Wikimedia commons Fayhoo 177 a Wikimedia commons purple, b Wikimedia commons nklette 178 a Wikimedia commons XE13, b Pixel: Ben Hosking 179 a Orbis Apartments: Ashton Raggatt Mcdougall, b Ericsson Globe: Norwegian Air Shuttle 180 a The Walkie Talkie: Dan Kitwood, b The Palm Atlantis: Atlan tis Hotel

196 a Copyright_Eqdoktor, b © Flickr user Brian Yap licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 197 a © Flickr user Sheen licensed under CC BY-SA, b https:// dinge_centrum_2010b.jpg image Holger. Ellgard 198 b image Holger. Ellgard 199 a Pål Ross, b Albertyanks, 200 a image Leonardo 2017, b trailof pics 201 a Rantemario, b Martino Iorno 202 a Cornell University Library, b Ti-Press

181 a Ryugyong Hotel: Roman Harak, Taipei 101: Monsef Rachid,

203 a Martino Iorno

182 Viking line Cruise interior AleWi wikimedia commons

204 b

183 a Fältöversten - Arild Vågen, Holger.Ellgaard-

205 b Ti press


206 a Kinori wikipidia commons, b Someformofhuman

184 a Peter Clarke, b Jean-Baptiste Beranger

207 a Holger Ellgaard, CC BY-SA 3.0, b Pilar Olivares

185 a Smallbones- Wikimedia-V_Venturi_H_720amm , b Väsk, h

208 b. Koumanov

ttps:// 186 a by ghosty,

209 a Tuca Vieira, b Hufton and Crow 210 a Adrian Baer, b Peter Pelikan

holm/5615862220, b Arild Vågen https://creativecommons.

211 a JJK photo, b Wladyslaw


212 a Flemingsberg_Berndt Klyvare_NordiskM_NMAMm, b

187 a Holger.Ellgaard,


by-sa/3.0/, b 199pema,

213 a Rico estate development, b Thomas Zaar


214 a, b Nybergs

188 a Hotel Reservation Network| 2017 © melbournehotels24. com, b orchr, sa/3.0/ 189 a Panther - GFDL + CC-BY-SA 190 Noah seelam/afp/Getty Images, Rodney Start Museum Victoria 191 A


215 a Örebro kuriren Örebro läns museum, b Taxiarchos228 wikimedia commons

An ugly reading list

— Bayley, Stephen, Ugly : the Aesthetics of Everything, (New York: Overlook Press), 2013 — Beech, Dave (ed), Beauty, (London: Whitechapel Art Gallery: 2009) — Cousins, Mark, Ugly: Part 1, AA Files, No. 28 (1994), 61–64 — Cousins, Mark, Ugly: Part 2, AA Files, No. 29 (1995), 3–6 — Cousins, Mark, Ugly: Part 3, AA Files, No. 30 (1995), 65–68 — Eco, Umberto, On Ugliness, (New York: Rizzoli), 2011 — Henderson, Gretchen E., Ugliness: a Cultural History, (London: Reaktion Books), 2015 — Krecic, Jela and Žižek, Slavoj, Ugly, Creepy, Disgusting, and Other Modes of Abjection, Critical Inquiry 43, no. 1 (2016), 60-83 — O’Donnell, Caroline: Fugly, Log, No. 22, The Absurd (2011), 90–100 — Pop, Andrei, and Widrich, Mechtild (eds), Ugliness: The Non-Beautiful in Art and Theory, (New York: I.B.Tauris, 2015) — Rosenkranz, Karl, Aesthetic of Ugliness, Log, No. 22, The Absurd (2011), 101–111 — Scott Brown, Denise, and Venturi, Robert, Learning From Las Vegas, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press: 1972, repr. 2017) — Scruton, Roger, Beauty, (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009)


Reference: assignments Ugly as found Examples of physical spaces of medium size that is near and reachable that different individuals consider to be ugly. The highlight is the explanation of why it is ugly to you. A personal take is used and note that it is not about what someone else thinks is ugly. No one is speculating about what others might think is or isn’t ugly. A comparison of a built model of the specific ugliness and a photo of the actual ugly space. Ugliness reconsidered Go through you memories and find three examples of spaces/buildings that you previously (recently or long ago) have considered ugly and now have reconsidered in such a way that they aren’t just interesting to you, but actually pretty nice. Even beautiful. Explain and elaborate your memories. Define what and where the space is. A Visual reader Collect examples of ugly architecture. We assume it is your personal position but you don’t have to have a hands-on experience of the project. An opinion based on text, photography and/or drawing is totally legitimate. It can be a whole building/structure but also a detail or a plan or elevation. Or an ugly concept. Opinions on Ugliness Now it´s time to look into other people’s opinion on ugliness: you are now ready to interview 3 persons of different categories.One architect who´s work you like (architect= any type of architect:landscape, interior etc) (work=realised project) One “academic” person active within the architectural discourse (=journalist, art theorist, art historian, teacher at an architecture school etc etc) One person completely outside the profession and industry (=anyone, except an architect... or contractor etc) An Ugly shelf Move into the domain of creating ugliness, and produce a shelf. Design and produce a structure that does have the kind of shelf-capacity you need. The physical outcome should be a response to your thoughts on ugliness, as outlined in your text. Design method, materials and type of production is up to the group. Mapping the Ugly As we have seen, the term ugly is pretty difficult to define. To give the word a bit more context and a more precise position, as we see it here and now, the task is to map the definition of ugly with words. A beautiful drawing of an ugly shelf Make a line drawing of the shelf you have produced. Make an elevation of the front of the shelf with a high level of precision and fully articulated with details, different line weights et cetera. And make it beautiful. Scale: 1:5. An incomplete ABC of UGLY ARCHITECTURE In an collaborative effort we will make a basic (and totally incomplete) ABC of ugly architecture. Choose two of the definitions below. Do research, focus on the relation to ugliness and architecture. Imagine the outcome as a part of a publication, an ABC or dictionary, where your text is an encyclopedic entry. Analyzing Arninge Arninge is our study object, an unconventional mix of retail, industry, garbage dump and newly built housing in northeastern part of Täby municipality. By Swedish standards it is almost an exurb in its car dependence, setting and theme. Analyzing Arninge GPS-tracking Track your movements during site visit so we all can collect our tracks and make a collaborative map of our movements. Articulating Ugliness Make an architectonic addition/extension/expansion/intervention to an existing building in Arninge. Your work should aesthetically build on the existing house and manifest ugliness. All drawings should be of the highest level of representation; they should be exquisite. Choose one of 20 buildings in Arninge in this map: Make your selection. Just one person per building. Study the building at the site. Expand the building in approx 25 % of its footprint size. 214

About this publication

This is a the result of a 14 weeks in the autumn of 2017, at the School of architecture, KTH, Stockholm. Teachers: Claes Sörstedt, Malin Åberg-Wennerholm Students: Therese Andersson Giulia Cereghetti Hamish Collins Marie Ekblad Fredrik Holmér Anton Lindström Johanna Permert Ana Sofia Pinto Noëmi Ruf [ Mia Tulen Sida Wang Henrik Westling Kaixuan Xie

[TA] [GC] [HC] [ME] [FH] [AL] [JP] [AP] NR] [MT] [SW] [HW] [KX]

This is MK 1, printed in 40 copies during week 50 in Stockholm, 2017.



Profile for KTHStudio11


An architectural investigation of what might be ugly. Studio 11 at the School of Architecture, Stockholm autumn 2017,


An architectural investigation of what might be ugly. Studio 11 at the School of Architecture, Stockholm autumn 2017,