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An eyesore is a building that is largely considered to look unpleasant or ugly. Its technical usage is as an alternative perspective to the notion of landmark. Common examples include dilapidated buildings, graffiti, litter, polluted areas and excessive commercial signage such as billboards. Some eyesores may be a matter of opinion such as controversial modern architecture (see also spite house), pylons or wind turbines. Natural eyesores include feces, mud and weeds.
Effect on property values
Clean-up programmes to improve or remove eyesores are often started by local bodies or even national governments. These are frequently called Operation Eyesore. High-profile international events such as the Olympic Games usually trigger such activity.
Others contend that it is best to nip such problems in the bud by addressing them while they are small, since signs of neglect encourage anti-social behaviour such as vandalism and fly-tipping. This strategy is known as fixing broken windows.
Whether some constructions are eyesores is a matter of opinion which may change over time. Landmarks are often called eyesores.
Examples of divided opinion
- Eiffel Tower – Parisians wanted it torn down as an eyesore but it is now the world's top landmark.
- Golden Gate Bridge was controversial ahead of its construction, it being said in The Wasp that it "would prove an eye-sore to those now living ... certainly mar if not utterly destroy the natural charm of the harbor famed throughout the world." It is now considered a notable landmark.
- Millennium Dome – the ugliest building in the world in a poll by the business magazine Forbes of "15 architects, all of whom were American apart from one who was British and one who was Canadian".
- Federation Square – despite being hailed a landmark by many, it has equally been rejected by many notable Australians as an eyesore.
- Wind farms – thought to be the worst eyesore by readers of Country Life but liked by others.
- Boston's Government Center, where City Hall has been called "The World's Ugliest Building".
- One Rincon Hill – Situated just south of San Francisco's Financial District, this high-rise condominium surrounded by shorter buildings has generated some mixed reviews.
- Lloyd's building – Situated in the City of London, this building was described as an oil refinery when it was opened in 1986 for having most of its facilities, stairways and AC on the outside. Some people still say this, although the building has become more popular and liked in the recent years.
- Tour Montparnasse - lone skyscraper in the Montparnasse area of Paris, France. Its appearance mars the Paris urban landscape, and construction of skyscrapers have been banned in the city two years after its completion. A 2008 poll of editors on Virtualtourist voted the building the second ugliest building in the world. It is sometimes said that the view from the top is the most beautiful in Paris, because it is the only place from which the tower itself cannot be seen.
- Brisbane Transit Centre and Riverside Expressway – have been called eyesores and planning debacles by University of Queensland Associate Professor of Architecture Peter Skinner.
- Tricorn Centre. Built in 1964, it was initially highly respected.
Structures widely regarded as eyesores
- Spencer Street Power Station, Victoria – an asbestos ridden landmark regarded by many as Melbourne's biggest eyesore. It was finally demolished in 2008.
- Cahill Expressway in Sydney – regarded by many as a major planning mistake.
- Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis Minnesota
- Embarcadero Freeway – Along The Embarcadero in San Francisco, this double-decker elevated freeway blocked The Embarcadero's view and shadowed the boulevard under it. When it was demolished in 1991, the long-abandoned Ferry Building and the boulevard under the freeway were restored.
- Petrobras Headquarters in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, an ugly example of concrete brutalism applied to an office building.
- The Hole In The Road in Sheffield England, filled in in 1994.
- City-Center in Helsinki, colloquially known as Makkaratalo (Sausage House) because of the concrete sausage-like railing circling the third floor parking lot. Voted[vague] undisputedly as the ugliest building in Helsinki
- Northampton Power Station, England left derelict since 1975.
- House of Soviets, Kaliningrad, Russia. "The ugliest building on Russian soil".[unreliable source?]
- School of Architecture, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. Won an opinion poll for Stockholm's ugliest building, by broad majority. Damaged by a fire in 2011.[dead link]
- Spire of Dublin in Dublin, Republic of Ireland
- American Dream Meadowlands. Most politicians and the public have equally criticized the building's appearance calling it "The ugliest building in New Jersey".
- Waldschlösschen Bridge in Dresden, Germany. The Dresden Elbe Valley lost the UNESCO World Heritage Site status because of this bridge.
- Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Widely regarded as a jarring and aesthetically unappealing addition to the local landscape.
- Cebu City Hall, considered an eyesore by many during the early to mid 2000's, until it was renovated in 2007, and is now considered as one of the best city halls in the Philippines.
- Nick Mathiason (June 25, 2006), Homeowners get green light for 'eyesore' wind turbines, London: The Guardian
- Site, Building (18 June 2007), Eyesore or gem: Gateshead car park, BBC
- Scott C. Scarfone (2007), Professional Planting Design, John Wiley and Sons, p. 255, ISBN 978-0-471-76139-6
- Rachel Koning Beals. "Dealing with an eyesore next door". Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- British Start 'Operation Eyesore' Cleanup, Los Angeles Times, February 9, 1972
- Craig R. Whitney (June 28, 1980), Russians Paint and Fuss As Olympic Games Near Putting Best Face on Things A Gleaming Soviet Capital Emigrate or Face Arrest, New York Times
- Murdoch, Scott (200-10-06). "Costello slams Fed Square 'eyesore'". Herald Sun (The Herald and Weekly Times Pty Ltd). Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- Eiffel Tower still world's top landmark, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 15, 2008
- Donald C. Jackson (1988), Great American Bridges and Dams, John Wiley and Sons, p. 278, ISBN 978-0-471-14385-7
- Yuriko Saito, Machines in the Ocean: The Aesthetics of Wind Farms, Contemporary Aesthetics
- Noelle Salmi (2007), Frommer's San Francisco with Kids, Frommer's, p. 199, ISBN 978-0-470-08017-7
- Chris Gray (16 July 2002), American architects vote the Millennium Dome 'the biggest eyesore in the world', London: The Independent
- What is the worst eyesore in the UK?, BBC, 21 November 2003
- Michael Corcoran (November 16, 2008), "Boston’s biggest eyesore: City Hall named ‘World’s Ugliest Building’", Blast, archived from the original on March 3, 2012, retrieved October 12, 2009
- "The World’s Top 10 Ugliest Buildings", Virtual Tourist, retrieved October 12, 2009
- The Lloyd's Building, retrieved January 25, 2010
- "The Lloyds Building, London", SkyscraperCity, retrieved January 25, 2010
- Robinson, Georgina (2008-01-24). "Brisbane's biggest eyesores and planning debacles". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Digital). Retrieved May 29, 2009.
- "R.I.P. Britain's Ugliest Building". BBC News. March 24, 2004.
- Nick McKenzie and Cameron Houston (2006-06-10). "On the trail of a man of mystery". The Age (Melbourne: Fairfax Digital). Retrieved May 29, 2009.
- Conway, Doug. "$1bn to demolish city's great eyesore". The Australian. Retrieved May 29, 2009.[dead link]
- Collins, Bob (June 13, 2000). "The architecture poll". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- "Die Before You Visit These Top 10 World’s Ugliest Structures". December 9, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- "Top 10 ugliest buildings in the world". Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=740&artikel=2435435[dead link]
- "The ugliest building in New Jersey will get a new exterior, says Gov. Chris Christie - NYPOST.com". http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/nj_ugliest_building_fix_vfSvwNyiWghUjFmPYWbSiN.
- "New Jersey Governor Christie promises facelift to NJ's 'ugliest' building". 7online.com.