The Ugliest Schools In The World

As I paged through this article (actually entitled 16 Of The Most Beautiful Schools In The World ), I experienced a growing sense of horror: every single one was indescribably awful, terrible and soulless. In particular, the temporary structure at the Estonian school  looks to me like a modernistic version of an extermination-camp gas chamber, complete with Zyklon-B inlets:

I expected to find beauty: harmonious buildings set in gorgeous countrysides, or if in an urban locale, at least buildings which were designed to accommodate the pupils’ needs. One of the descriptions actually includes the words “square lines and hard angles”, and another, “jagged, playful exterior” — at a kindergarten(!) no less — and I ask: when the fuck did these design motifs become equated with beauty?

Every single one of the architects responsible for these revolting structures needs to be driven from the public square with whips, accompanied only by scornful cries from people who are sick to death of their ghastly pretensions. I’d start with the guy responsible for this ghastly edifice at Duke University:

This Etch-A-Sketch structure is set within a framework of exquisite, graceful Gothic buildings, and you know what it is? It’s a middle finger extended squarely at tradition — and for a conservative like myself, it embodies everything that’s wrong with academia (because ultimately, the college administration approved this revolting design).

If you want to know how civilization ends, this is as good an indicator as any I’ve ever seen.


  1. Modern architects seek recognition much like Bubba saying “Hold my beer and watch this shit!”
    Bubba might help us out and extinct himself, but the in-your-face, don’t-touch-me, mechanistic dung the architect leaves for us is unfortunately around for most of our lifetimes.
    The underlying theme in all the buildings in the school pics and most modern architecture is the missing human element. They all feel like they were spat out of a machine, with no craftsmanship required for manufacture or construction, are cold, hard, sharp, with unsittable furniture, spaces all out of scale for the human occupants, and look as though they might have been assembled with scraps and leftover parts from some other abominable modern building project.

    I was condemned to work in one of those “award winning” buildings for fifteen years. It was built in 1983 for the R&D and engineering staff of a fortune 50 company, yet the arrogant bastard who designed it would not listen to input from the end users, and didn’t to provide for enough lighting to read a drawing or any wiring for even dumb terminals, never mind networked PC’s. There were some offices that had no electrical outlets, and I had one once where the only outlet was a tombstone duplex in the doorway! The entire interior and exterior of the building was battleship gray, with black and dayglo orange accents. The outside aluminum skin was also the interior wall, so if you were unfortunate enough to have an office on the outside edges of the building, you roasted when the sun was on the wall and froze in the winter when it wasn’t there. The architect was proud of his “green” passive solar building, and we decided if he ever showed up, we’d tackle him, strip him naked, and duct tape his worthless ass to a south wall, where he could passively alternately roast and freeze like we did. Whenever the architectural committee made a suggestion, the architect would bang his fist on the table and scream at the top of his lungs “You people will not fuck with the integrity of my design!!” “You people” – yeah, his customers who had to work in the building, and who had more years in construction and manufacturing than he ‘d been alive. Apparently he was asshole buddies with a senior VP and nothing got fixed until his seven year no modification contract expired.
    I could write on for paragraphs about other ergonomic disasters there, but suffice to say, the building, which cost $200 million, is now abandoned.
    I’ve said for years, if I ever come across Mies van der Rohe’s grave, I will piss on it even under risk of arrest.

    1. Iffin I ever get the kind of scratch to have a house custom made and designed, I’m having one of my general contractor friends do the design work.

      Were I absolute ruler of the USA, I would require that architects must work on the crew that builds their designs. I’d also make automotive engineers perform at least 20 mechanical replacement task on their designs as well, but that’s a different rant.

      1. Yup…Frank Lloyd Wright was notorious for designs that were beautiful. And structurally unsound.

    1. I don’t care who you are, that there was funny.

      What’s also funny is that I have a shed in my backyard that was built out of a very large overseas packing crate (9′ x 11′) and it looks *better* than that Duke building.

  2. There’s a reason that Estonian school’s architectural style is called “Brutalist”. How could anyone have ever thought that looked good?

    1. Note the ladder on the side- some poor sod probably has to climb up every morning and knock the snow off. Because flat roofs are a really, really, really, really stupid idea in any place where water (liquid or frozen) falls from the sky.

  3. When we perfect time travel and send someone back to take care of Lenin and Hitler, let’s give the kill teams a secondary tasking of getting rid of Walter Gropius, Mies Van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier.

  4. When Marxist aesthetics are allowed to infest art, this is the kind of ugly crap you wind up with.
    See also the literal crap that is Modern Art, the politically correct unreadable dribble that is Modern Literature, or the unlistenable noise that is Modern Composition Music (not pop, though that is pretty horrid. I mean the stuff modern composers do that nobody really listens to).

    Every single one of those places looks like an airport, and that is not high praise.

  5. Brutalist architecture was one of the “demoralizing” memes intentionally propagated by Communist agents in the 1930s. There was a branch of Soviet intelligence devoted to this field.

    1. Meanwhile, the CIA supported a whole lot of modern art for the same purpose. They figured those behind the Iron Curtain would see it and come to the conclusion that the West must be free if they created art that ugly.

      1. On the topic of Modern “Art” (and by extension, modern architecture) I have to agree with this guy -> Lindybeige (warning: video, probably with auto-start).

        It’s an intentional insult to the intelligence of the people who are forced to pay for it.

  6. My Mother was an Architectural Historian by avocation (it never paid, but she did publish) and she passed to me the following story;

    A State University (I think it was Southern Mass, but I’m not sure) needed a new Art building. The faculty listed a series of requirements; loading dock (for stone blocks for sculpture), Wide stairways (for large works), good ventilated storage for volatile materials, and a stage with good fly and wing space. A Big Name Architect was hired.

    The Architect, like so many of his ilk, ignored the needs of his clients and designed what he damned pleased. The committee told off to oversee the project, typically, did not include the people who would actually be using the building, and so nobody called a halt. Result? An Art building that was effectively unusable. Stairways too narrow for large work, no loading dock, bad ventilation in storage areas, and a stage with no fly or wing space and (adding insult to injury) lousy acoustics. Needless to say, it was ugly, too. The faculty hated it, the students hated it, the alumni hated it. I don’t know if the Architectural world hated it. Probably not.

    After a very short time, the building caught fire and was completely gutted. The only people in the State who DIDN’T think it was arson were the arson investigators; the fire had started in the (inadequately ventilated) storage room(s) and spread because the building was (from an engineering POV) a bad design. In short Mr. Bug Name Architect had, in ignoring the requirements of his client, built a firetrap that shouldn’t have passed inspection.

    Wish I could say the Architect was dinged somehow, but I doubt he was. I do know that the process by which buildings were approved for campus was changed.

  7. It’s a conspiracy.

    We are being told what to do by our over educate betters ( in there tiny minds) and we should revolt. Do not hire/contract with/ engage with anyone who has a phd behind their name or demands to be addressed as doctor.

    Pretentous asses all.

    1. I’ve seen pictures of Bill Gates’ house, and read somewhere that it was designed by a top name Architect. I wild LOVE to hear the story behind that. Gates is sufficient Geek that I know damned well he wouldn’t take ‘how dare you interfere with my vision’ or any similar crap from anyone, much less somebody he had hired. I may not think much of the Company he created, but Gates clearly lacks some of the major inferiority complex crap that afflicts a lot of the US wealthy.

  8. What modern architecture has done to the campus of Kenyon College and the tidy, quaint village of Gambier Ohio ( I’m talking to you, Graham Gund) pales in comparison to what the liberals have done to the state of education at that once fine institution.

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