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Bad Elster, Saxony, Germany in April 2008. Wettiner Hof Hotel is awaiting renovation- locally it is known as the Schandfleck (the Eyesore).

An eyesore is something 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), transmission towers or wind turbines.[1][2] Natural eyesores include feces, mud and weeds.[3]

Effect on property values[edit]

In the USA, the National Association of Realtors says an eyesore can shave about 10%( percent) off the value of a nearby listing.[4]


Clean-up programmes to improve or remove eyesores are often started by local bodies or even national governments. These are frequently called Operation Eyesore.[5] High-profile international events such as the Olympic Games usually trigger such activity.[6]

Others contend that it is best to address these problems 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[edit]

Federation Square has divided opinion in Melbourne.[7]
  • Eiffel Tower – Upon its construction, Parisians wanted it torn down as an eyesore. Nowadays it is one of the world's top landmarks.[8]
  • 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."[9][10] It is now considered a notable landmark.[11]
  • 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".[12]
  • Federation Square – despite being hailed a landmark by many, it has equally been rejected by many notable Australians as an eyesore.[7]
  • Wind farms – thought to be the worst eyesore by readers of Country Life but liked by others.[13]
  • Boston's Government Center,[14] where City Hall has been called "The World's Ugliest Building".[15]
  • 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[16] 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.[17]
  • Tricorn Centre. Built in 1964, it was initially highly respected.[18]

Structures that have been described as eyesores[edit]

Spencer Street Power Station. Regarded for many years as Melbourne's worst eyesore, it was demolished in 2008.[19]

The Grace Hospital Saint John’s Newfoundland and Labrador. Left abandoned for since 1990s

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nick Mathiason (June 25, 2006), Homeowners get green light for 'eyesore' wind turbines, London: The Guardian
  2. ^ Site, Building (18 June 2007), Eyesore or gem: Gateshead car park, BBC
  3. ^ Scott C. Scarfone (2007), Professional Planting Design, John Wiley and Sons, p. 255, ISBN 978-0-471-76139-6
  4. ^ Rachel Koning Beals. "Dealing with an eyesore next door". Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  5. ^ British Start 'Operation Eyesore' Cleanup, Los Angeles Times, February 9, 1972
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ a b Murdoch, Scott (200-10-06). "Costello slams Fed Square 'eyesore'". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2009-05-29. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Eiffel Tower still world's top landmark, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 15, 2008
  9. ^ Donald C. Jackson (1988), Great American Bridges and Dams, John Wiley and Sons, p. 278, ISBN 978-0-471-14385-7
  10. ^ Yuriko Saito, Machines in the Ocean: The Aesthetics of Wind Farms, Contemporary Aesthetics
  11. ^ Noelle Salmi (2007), Frommer's San Francisco with Kids, Frommer's, p. 199, ISBN 978-0-470-08017-7
  12. ^ Chris Gray (16 July 2002), American architects vote the Millennium Dome 'the biggest eyesore in the world', London: The Independent
  13. ^ What is the worst eyesore in the UK?, BBC, 21 November 2003
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ "The World's Top 10 Ugliest Buildings", Virtual Tourist, retrieved October 12, 2009
  16. ^ The Lloyd's Building, archived from the original on February 12, 2010, retrieved January 25, 2010
  17. ^ Robinson, Georgina (2008-01-24). "Brisbane's biggest eyesores and planning debacles". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved May 29, 2009.
  18. ^ "R.I.P. Britain's Ugliest Building". BBC News. March 24, 2004.
  19. ^ a b 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.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  20. ^ Conway, Doug. "$1bn to demolish city's great eyesore". The Australian. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2009.
  21. ^ "Sydney Harbour Control Tower headed for demolition". The Australian. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  22. ^ Collins, Bob (June 13, 2000). "The architecture poll". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
  23. ^ "Die Before You Visit These Top 10 World's Ugliest Structures". December 9, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  24. ^ "Top 10 ugliest buildings in the world". Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2011-09-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "The ugliest building in New Jersey will get a new exterior, says Gov. Chris Christie". NYPOST.com.
  27. ^ "New Jersey Governor Christie promises facelift to NJ's 'ugliest' building". abclocal.go.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  28. ^ http://www.businessinsider.com/why-half-of-brooklyn-hates-the-new-barclays-center-stadium-2012-8
  29. ^ http://www.clickorlando.com/news/still-no-completion-date-for-i4-eyesore/22839816

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of eyesore at Wiktionary