Harold Washington Library Called One of World’s Ugliest Buildings

Travel and Leisure magazine claims that Chicago’s Harold Washington library is one of the world’s ugliest buildings. [Hat tip: Chicago Subtext]


I admit to having mixed feelings about the building. But over the years I’ve grown to like it. It does stick out. It does look unique in an overly-referential way. But if you’ve ever seen the Winter Garden inside,


you’ll come to forgive its oddness.

For truly ugly, you have to wonder if the people at Travel and Leisure have ever seen the Thompson center,

or my vote for ugliest building in Chicago, the “renovated” Soldiers Field.


The weird-ass flying saucer landed on a neo-classical stadium is bizarre and ungainly. It really does mar the look of the city’s gorgeous lakefront in a way that only a Chicago Machine-inspired building project could. The city’s spokesperson once said about it, “We have to get away from this idea of architecture that’s polite.” Yes, there is most definitely nothing polite about the Chicago Way.

P.S. I spell “Soldiers Field” they way I, and most Chicagoans, pronounce it contrary to what is thought of as its proper spelling.

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2 thoughts on “Harold Washington Library Called One of World’s Ugliest Buildings

  1. Holy cow, Soldier(s) Field looks like a shopping mall growing inside a museum…

  2. The Harold Washington library does look kinda odd… Specially the gargoyles on the corners of the roof (are the gargoyles???)

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