This 27-story apartment tower is one of the tallest in Mumbai, and it belongs to just one person: Mukesh Ambani, the 5th richest man in the world. This 400,000 square-foot family home contains a six-story garage, nine lifts and is situated right next to Golibar slum in central Mumbai. Currently holding the title of ‘world’s most expensive home’ at $1 billion, it perhaps could also win the record for most insensitive house ever built.
133 years after its construction, Barcelona’s Sagrada Famillia is the world’s longest running construction project. It is now funded entirely by private donations, amounting to approximately €25 million each year, witn an intended completion date of 2026. After Gaudi’s original designs were lost in the Spanish Civil War, a team of architects has been trying to work from a facsimile of the original plans. It is hoped that we will finally see Gaudi’s masterpiece completed within the next 11 years.
Sagrada Familia, 401 Carrer de Mallorca, Barcelona, Spain +34 935 132 060
Likened to a lavatory basin by Woody Allen, the curling form of the Guggenheim Museum was very controversial after its construction. Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who was accused of creating architecture for architecture’s sake, its elegantly curving walls are perhaps out of place displaying non-curved art works. In contrast to the critics, the public grew fond of the Guggenheim and now many people who visit go for the architecture, rather than the art.
Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Ave, NY, USA +1 212 423 5300
‘The scar on the face of Paris’ triggered substantial controversy when it was first built in 1989. Amidst the elegant, classical Parisian architecture, this modern glass pyramid was considered out of place, crude and inappropriate. Since then it has grown on the art world and the people of Paris, now welcoming 15,000 visitors a day. It has become a successful amalgamation of old and new.
The Louvre, Paris, France +33 140 205 050
The curvilinear modernism of 20 Fenchurch Street caused it to be renamed, not so affectionately, ‘The Walkie-Talkie’. Whether the bulging balloon-like structure is to your taste or not, there is one fault that everyone agrees on. Renamed ‘The Walkie-Scorchie’ in the summer of 2013, the curved glass of the building had raised street level temperatures to over 100 degrees Celsius, melting Jaguars and burning carpets like ants under a magnifying glass. It is now agreed that the developers ‘made a mess of it, and are the architects of their own misfortune’.
Dubbed ‘the most scandalous skyscraper in history’ the CCTV Building in Beijing is still not loved today. Just after its completion, a fire on the construction site almost destroyed a neighboring hotel, putting 20 people in prison for negligence after a firefighter was killed. The unusual bridge-like format has caused some to call it the most modern building in existence and others to describe it as being similar to ‘big boxer shorts’. Like it or not, the CCTV Building is classed as the second biggest office space after the Pentagon – pretty impressive for a TV station.
Still under construction in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar, the Al Wakrah Stadium has already become one of the most controversial ever designed. First and foremost, the allegedly poor conditions experienced by the many migrant workers working on the project has purportedly resulted in over 1000 of their deaths. The second controversy revolves around the view that the building resembles female genitalia, something that Hadid denies.
Ground Zero’s PATH terminal is on its way to becoming the most expensive train station ever built. Before the budget skyrocketed, there was enough debate about whether or not such architecture would be appropriate for a location that resonates with the echoes of the 9/11 attacks. Inspired by a child releasing a bird, you would expect this to be a rather more placid building than it is, but the recent issues have all been around the cost, at an estimated $3.9 billion.
Pruitt-Igoe Housing Development earned the title ‘the most notorious failure in the history of public housing’. Low-income residents described the building as ‘inherently prison-like’ causing mental health problems and issues of racism among occupants. Less than 20 years after its completion the building was demolished, and has since been featured in architecture lectures as an example of ‘what not to do’ in urban design.
Pruitt-Igoe Housing, MO, USA