Most Phallic Building contest

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Ypsilanti Water Tower, winner of the Most Phallic Building contest

The World's Most Phallic Building contest was a contest held in 2003 by Cabinet magazine to find the building which most resembled a human phallus.[1]


The contest originated when writer Jonathan Ames drew the ire of Slate readers by claiming, in a diary that was later published in his book I Love You More Than You Know,[2] that the Williamsburg Bank Building in Brooklyn, New York was the world's most phallic. This led Cabinet magazine to initiate a search of its own to find which building was truly the "world's most phallic".[3][4][5] Cities and readers subsequently poured in their views and staked their claims to the magazine's editors.


After months of entries and discussion, the Ypsilanti Water Tower in Ypsilanti, Michigan, was announced as the winner,[6] although the winner of a readers' poll was the Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee.[7] Another notable nominee was the Torre Agbar (Agbar Tower) in Barcelona.[8]

Cabinet wrote that the Ypsilanti Water Tower, called "the brick dick" by locals, "is clearly the world's most phallic."[9] The tower was designed by William R. Coats and constructed as part of an elaborate city waterworks project. Located on the highest point in Ypsilanti, erection began in 1889 and was completed in 1890, at a cost of US$21,435.63.[10] Made of Joliet limestone, the tower is 147 feet tall, has an 85-foot base and holds 250,000 gallons when full.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gutierrez, Lisa (2003-12-29). "Another claim to fame for Liberty Memorial". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  2. ^ Halpin, Brendan (2006-02-21). "Delightful essays of life's ups, downs in 'I Love You'; I Love You More Than You Know". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  3. ^ "Most Phallic Building?". 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
  4. ^ "Jonathan Ames article causes stir". 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
  5. ^ "Williamsburg Bank?". 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  6. ^ "A the awards: the 9 most remarkable things in culture this month.(man at his best)". Esquire. 2004-01-01. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  7. ^ Harrison, Dan (2003-11-06). "Site of the week". The Age. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  8. ^ Gräwe, Christina; Schmal, Peter Cachola (2007). High Society: Contemporary Highrise Architecture and the International Highrise Award 2006. Jovis. pp. Dust jacket. ISBN 3-936314-77-2.
  9. ^ "Cabinet Magazine Winner". 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
  10. ^ a b "Ypsilanti Water Tower Archived 2012-05-05 at the Wayback Machine". Retrieved on 2009-01-16.