Announcing the 1st annual Hot Property "Ugliest House Ever" contest...

Posted by: Dean Foust on April 23, 2007

palmdeserthome.jpg

As the old saying goes, you can’t buy taste. Exhibit A: The $30 million home (compound?) that publishing tycoon Duane Hagadone built in Palm Desert. According to this account in the Los Angeles Times, Hagadone wanted “a residence that blends into the mountain, that is very subtle, not a pinnacle seen from all angles.” The home, reports LA Times writer Valerie Reitman, would feature a copper roof composed of “angles and curves” that mimicked the ridge of the mountain, while its rock walls would be molded from those on the hillside.

So entranced were city officials that they granted Hagadone an exemption from zoning ordinance that allowed him to build his 32,016-square-foot monstrosity – which is eight times the normal limit.

But the photo above shows what Hagadone built (also, here’s a slide show the LA Times put together, which shows the development from different angles.) You think this blends into the mountainscape? Har. Viewed from above, it looks like the space station crashed here, splattering its parts across the desert.

So this got me thinking: Let’s have a contest to pick the ”Ugliest House Ever Built.” (Bonus points for homes where the owner dropped a small fortune in the process; no fair picking on the Average Joes.) Readers, nominate your candidates, with links to the photos, as comments to this thread (if you just have a digital photo, feel free to email it to me at dean_foust@businessweek.com, with “Ugliest House contest” in the subject line). If we get enough readers willing to play ball, I’ll pick a winner and award a prize: A copy of Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust by David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors (and subject of the David Lereah Watch blog).

Reader Comments

Property Investing

July 3, 2009 7:53 AM

This house doesn't look ugly to me. It's just different. It might not be everyone's taste but it's not too bad.

Susan

July 10, 2009 8:02 PM

It looks like the Guggenheim blew up! I would love to live there.

JC

July 22, 2009 11:40 AM

From bird's eye poin of view, the roof line seems to disturb the eye. If a person were standing in the space, the angles could be interesting. The curvilinear walls don't mesh well with some of the obscure wall forms.

Oliver Chettle

November 29, 2009 12:51 AM

It's a chaotic, disturbed, and disturbing house. That some people can like it simply shows the chaotic, disturbed and disturbing state of modern culture. It's about time architecture and the other arts need to started to be used to healing such baleful aspects of our culture's anarchic decadence, instead of compounding them, and then giving itself a pat on the back for being cool.

Oliver Chettle

November 29, 2009 12:52 AM

It's a chaotic, disturbed, and disturbing house. That some people can like it shows the chaotic, disturbed and disturbing state of modern culture. It's about time architecture and the other arts need to started to be used to heal such baleful aspects of our culture's anarchic decadence, instead of compounding them, and then giving themselves a pat on the back for being cool.

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About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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