The world of architecture is not much different from the reality of human beings. Just like most of the people who grew to fame later after a long journey of conflict. Similarly, many iconic structures have also gone through the same. Many famous structures from different eras have created controversies. They have been in the news for different reasons. Some are so powerful that they shaped the thinking and ideology of an entire generation. Let’s have a glance at some of the various controversial buildings in the history of architecture –
1. Sagrada Familia (Barcelona, Spain) by Antoni Gaudi
One of the most controversial structures of the world is La Sagrada Familia. Also the most controversial Church of all time, and is an iconic, however, unfinished Roman Catholic Basilica. What makes this basilica so unique and controversial at the same time is that it has been under construction for the last 133 years. The Architect and designer of Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudi. The construction began in 1882 but came to rest in 1926 after Gaudi’s death.
Many famous contemporary architects including Le Corbusier tried to improve the design of this structure. Thinking that Gaudi’s design had become irrelevant in the 20th century, but all of these attempts were unsuccessful. The project is estimate for completion of La sagrada Familia is in the year 2026 on the 100th death anniversary of Architect Antoni Gaudi.
2. Eiffel Tower (Paris, France), Gustave Eiffel
Some of the best buildings in the world had to face the initial rejection of the masses. The best example is the Eiffel Tower. Once labeled as one of the ugliest, abnormal structures of the world is today the most visited tourist destination.
“I like to dine here because this is the only place from where I cannot see the Eiffel Tower“.Famous French writer Guy de Maupassant
The Eiffel Tower was constructed as a ‘temporary exhibit’ for the Centennial Exposition in Paris, 1889. The technology used was one of the most accurate examples of Civil Engineering at that time. The tower was named as a gigantic, black chimney that looks like a building and was decided to be demolished 20 years after, but was not as the government thought it could be used for the transmission of radio signals which was a new technology at that time.
3. Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
One of the seven wonders of the world, this immensely wonderful example of stone architecture. This Building has won the heart of many, but this structure has always been a subject of controversy. It has even been the reason for many religious disputes. It is generally believed that the Taj Mahal was built by emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, it is a symbol of true love, but some findings of Prof. P.N. Oak proved that the Taj Mahal is actually a work of Indian Hindu architecture. It was originally a Shiva temple and was built in 1100 AD. Which was later confirmed by the carbon dating consequences of the wood specimens taken from some of the doors.
The controversy became stronger when P.N. Oak’s book was not authorized to publish as it could have created more political and religious conflicts all over the nation. The locked rooms of the Taj Mahal have not been opened for scientists and archaeologists to investigate the truth, to date.
4. The Guggenheim Museum By Frank Lloyd Wright in New York
One of the most recognized works now of Frank Lloyd Wright – the Guggenheim Museum. It was sadly not so much appreciated when it was first built. Many art and architecture experts today say that it was not completely understood by people in the 1960’s. The building was more futuristic and different from other buildings at that time. But experts at that time left no stone unturned in explaining how ugly the building looked. The famous art expert of that time, John Canaday said that it was “a war between architecture and painting, in which both come out badly maimed”.
People said that the museum looked more like an inverted washing machine and oatmeal dish rather than an inverted ziggurat.
5. Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia)
The best in architecture and design, the ones that led to a change originally suffered a lot of criticism or even controversies. The beautiful Sydney Opera House is not an exception. The Sydney Opera House is beautiful but criticized for its shortage of functionality as many people criticized that the building did not perform well acoustically and there was not much space for performers backstage.
The other issue that rises was that the Danish architect Jørn Utzon could not complete the project in time. This led to the increase in cost and eventually the project was taken out of Utzon’s hand. Utzon became entangled in the political game and he was thrown away by the press and media.