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11 Embarassing Architecture Projects from Around the World

Mich Escultura

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Just because they’re big and expensive, doesn’t make them more appealing. In fact, these so-called white elephants are more of an eyesore – a reflection of poorly spent funds that could have been allotted elsewhere.

Below, we’ll list down some of the most infamous over-budget architectural projects that were better off left as a blueprint.

1. Olympic Stadium – Montreal, Canada


Olympic stadiums as ostentatious displays that rarely stand the test of time. This 1976 stadium was fraught with complications and delays, ending with leaving the country with a debt of C$1.16 billion.

2. Palace of the Parliament – Bucharest, Romania

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It’s the 3rd largest building in the world, with a floor area of 365,000 square meters. It costs more than $6 million per year to heat and light, despite the fact that it’s 70% empty. Why? It’s the brainchild of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who demanded 40,000 people to evacuate the area so he could build his palace over their land.

3. City of Culture of Galicia – Santiago de Compostela, Spain

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This city was partially opened in 2011, right at the height of Spain’s economic collapse. Construction of the other two buildings were suddenly halted in 2013 when they realized that the site didn’t attract enough visitors, despite its high maintenance cost.

4. Tel Aviv Central Bus Station – Tel Aviv, Israel

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At 230,000 square meters and 8 floors, you’d think that this Bus Station would become a success with its spacious interiors. However, despite the architect winning the Israel Prize for architecture, the bus station is in a state of financial ruin with no tenants, huge mazes of corridors, and even illegal activities happening within!

5. City of Naypyidaw – Naypyidaw, Myanmar

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This empty city is surprisingly the capital of Myanmar. It’s a huge, clean, luxurious place that has everything you could ever need, except people. However, their philosophy for building this city is that if the government builds it, people will come… They didn’t.

6. Ryugyong Hotel – Pyongyang, North Korea

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With 105 empty floor, this hotel is still being built. It’s been 30 years since construction began, but the $750 million hotel is largely uninhabited. At best, the empty building serves as a giant telecommunications antenna.

7. New South China Mall – Dongguan, China

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The 2350 mall remains mostly vacant despite the fact that it’s been open for 11 years. Outside the mall is an Egyptian sphinx, a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, and canals with Venetian gondolas. inside is roller coaster! So why aren’t people interested? The 10 million residents nearby aren’t financially rich, which makes this attraction unattractive to them.

8. Ciudad Real Central Airport – Ciudad Real, Spain

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The airport cost €1.1 billion to build, but it closed down after 3 years of operation. It simply wasn’t used often enough to justify its maintenance costs. It was finally sold this year for a measly €56 million.

9. National Center for Popular Music – Sheffield, UK

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The architects, Nigel Coates Architects, responsible for this building may have won the RIBA competition, but its £15 million cost definitely wasn’t worth it. In fact, the building closed after a year, and it was eventually bought by Sheffield Hallam University for £1.85 million for use as a Student Union.

10. Jantar Mantar – Jaipur, India

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Jantar Mantar Jaipur consists of 19 astronomical instruments, including the world’s largest sundial. It was built in 1734, with the belief that smaller instruments rendered inaccurate results. However, these large-scale stone models proved to be even more inaccurate, with their size making them easy to misalign.

11. City of Arts and Sciences – Valencia, Spain

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Despite its appearance in the movie Tomorrowland, locals simply aren’t interested enough in the building to let it thrive. In fact, locals have created the Valencia “wastefulness tour” to show foreigners where their investments are NOT going – such as public schools and hospitals.

Does your country have other architectural white elephants? Share them with us below!

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