data-layout-label="Header Content: Boulder Architecture Firm - Boulder Architects "

A Field Guide to Ugly Houses - Ugly by Design

Of the many types of ugly that inflict the American house, Ugly by Design, although not the most pervasive, it is certainly the most offensive.  These houses clearly fall into the "what were they thinking" category of a design idea gone wrong. Sometimes Ugly by Design is the result of a once-interesting and innovative design idea that has past its shelf-date.

In a lot of ways this is a nice house, but the roof form is forever associated, at least by me, with Pizza Hut.  That's not the architect's fault or the owners, but the result of a very dominant, unique roof form that has been hijacked by bad, commercial work to the point of making it iconic.

Often Ugly by Design is the outcome of a renovation gone wrong.  "It seemed like a good idea at the time", "we really hated the siding", "but I like bunkers!"

Maybe the worse examples of Ugly by Design are the houses that have a strong intention that somehow seems to get sidetracked.  The house below has an amazing southern view of the mountains, but situated on a very public corner the double height wall of glass makes a painful fish-bowl exposing everything inside to public scrutiny not to mention the blazing sun. In a different context this house is maybe not ugly at all, but in this location, I feel like I am window-shopping on someone's life.  It makes me feel guilty for looking.

The house below has a kind of grand public face of three gabled pediments that rise two stories announcing the house to the street.  It seems all the more odd then that the color and lack of windows on the other hand are trying desperately to be quiet and hide behind the trees.

About the below, I don't know what to say,

except, as a kid, it would be cool to say "yeah, I live in the super-wedge down the street."


as a late entry to Ugly by Design, a fellow reader presents the following: