Midtown Raleigh News

Unsightly winners: Raleigh's ugliest buildings battle for first in poll

The votes are tallied, and the results are ironic: the American Institute of Architects Center for Architecture and Design on Peace Street has been dubbed the ugliest building in Raleigh.

Of course, it’s a good-humored online poll that didn’t even try to be scientific, organized by a local photographer whose eye for proportion had been insulted one too many times by the superfluously-columned Fidelity Bank building in Cameron Village.

But by Richard Usanis’ count, no other buildings even came close to those top two.

“I think it means that architecture is in the eye of the beholder,” photographer (and erstwhile pollster) Richard Usanis said.

Case in point: many of the buildings that made the ugly list have also been nominated for an upcoming “Most Beautiful Buildings” contest to be announced in the fall, Usanis said.

The poll started as an email conversation between Usanis and a few friends, then grew to an official open vote here.

Only 29 voted before the polls closed March 1, but the people spoke clearly.

N.C. State University architects may wince to learn that the new chancellor’s residence, unveiled last year, nabbed an easy third place, followed by the cylindrical First Citizens Bank in North Hills and the windowless concrete block of the State Records Center on Blount Street.

And the irony in this article doesn’t stop with the AIA Center – we’re sorry to report that the squat, steel-barred News & Observer building in downtown Raleigh, housing the North Raleigh News’ own humble newsroom, was judged the seventh most unsightly structure in the city.

But we could have told you that already.