More worst buildings of 2017

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Maggie Centre Barts, by Steven Holl. (Metropolis)

Metropolis, the magazine dedicated to zany urbanism, has its “Top Buildings of 2017” issue out. The open-mindedness that can occasionally be seen at Metropolis – for example, it publishes essays inimical to modern architecture by Nikos Salingaros and Michael Mehaffy now and then – did not raise its head in judging of this year’s “top” architecture.

None of the buildings are worth discussing specifically, except perhaps to address the reader’s sense of humor (readers of this blog, that is). Steven Holl’s Maggie Centre Barts (at St. Bartholemew’s Hospital) sits atop this post only because of its superior ridiculosity. It looks like a refugee from a child’s toy box. The other selections are just as ridiculous. Again, it is no easier to choose the silliest from a circus of modernist buildings than it is to choose the “best.” No language of modern architecture exists by which to regulate the designs or adjudicate the choices.

Curiously, the choices exposed in my three recent posts about the modernist buildings of 2017 do not seem to overlap. However, many collections of the best of the worst have yet to tickle the funnybone of readers of this blog. Maybe some overlap would be evident if every such list could be captured and collated. Abundant as they may be, they cannot be infinite. But in their test of our patience they resemble a bottomless pit.

Which only goes to show that as optimistic as I and others like to be about the classical revival, it has a long way to go. I had to struggle to assemble a meagre list of traditional buildings for 2017. It’s a lot harder to find lists of good buildings erected in 2017 than lists of bad buildings erected in 2017. Sad but true.


The roundup of last year’s completed traditional architecture has been updated. So there are actually more beautiful works of traditional architecture (aka “good buildings”) on the original post. To see, just visit “Best trad buildings of 2017.”

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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