Experience Music Project, Seattle WA: Designed by architectural giant Frank Gehry, this music museum was not well received by critics. Seattle Weekly hit it on the head when they compared the design to a “smashed electric guitar.” Forbes called it one of the world’s 10 ugliest. But New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp probably takes the cake, calling the edifice “something that crawled out of the sea, rolled over, and died.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington D.C.: After years of debate and controversy, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was dedicated on May 2, 1997 by President Bill Clinton. Stretching over 7.5 acres, the most controversy surrounded the statues depiction of FDR himself. Rather than show the former president in a wheelchair, his likeness sits in a chair. There was a stir over whether his disability should continue to be hidden from the public, and as a compromise, the sculptor added casters to the back of the chair, however they’re only visible from behind.
Canadian Embassy, Washington DC: Canadian architect Arthur Erickson was hand-picked by his good friend, then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to redesign the country’s embassy. At the time there was controversy over him picking a friend to do the design, but once the design was unveiled few protested. Ultimately the building’s stir was the design itself. Architectural historian Nicholas Olsberg explains: “It’s making fun of the ridiculous terms to which buildings must adhere in Washington… He was mocking the US and all of its imperial pretensions, and [he] was determined to get his message across.”