We asked you to vote for the ugliest buildings on campus and the feedback was brutal

IOE, Bedford Way and Christopher Ingold all get a mention

This week we took to Instagram to settle the debate once and for all: what is the ugliest building on campus?

And what did we learn? You’ve all got trash taste, you’re just wrong. 

Not to be too condescending off the bat, but the buildings you chose are formally not classified as ‘ugly’… but as… ‘brutalist’. Say it with me bru-ta-list. This architectural style is so widely shat on and tarnished by hateful comments that the discourse almost matches the pigeon excrement-draped and water-stained exterior of the actual buildings – let life imitate this much-underappreciated art. 

Brutalism is the most raw and real architectural style there is; and I’ve got some brutal news for you – Brutalism. Is. Beautiful. If the poll has taught us anything it’s that UCL students really hate brutalism. But brutal reality check: you live in the beautiful concrete jungle that is London!

Now I know the brutalist style has been labelled as devoid of colour, blunt, depressive, and frankly dark cuboids of despair, but fear not, there is still time to change your incorrect judgement. You too can love the concrete beast! See brutalism is just the architecture version of that crush you had that was not conventionally attractive, but who with their harsh features and oddities was STUNNING in their own right. All you need to do is free your brain from the shackles of conventional, perfection-obsessed beauty in order to embrace the brutalist beast. Soon you will find yourself walking through the city living ‘Beauty and the Building beast’, a love story as old as time.

Anyways onto the results of the pole. After 300 votes came in here’s the final ranking of the ‘ugliest’ buildings on campus:

1st place: Christopher Ingold Building (30 per cent)

In first place, we have the Christopher Ingold, Chemistry department building. This big ol’ brutal beast boi is quite the chonk. Call me Christ(-opher) and crucify me to this building if ever they threaten to demolish it because I will martyr for my cause. 

Christopher Ingold Chemistry Building

2nd place: IOE (26 per cent)

In second place we have this fun and funky thing – it’s the Institute of Education! Now, this is just glorious, I mean how can it not make you smile. Looking like some kind of goth Rubix cube aneurysm, this movement-filled building seems only fitting to the IOE merger with UCL. Nonetheless, the IOE has always had a clear vision and this is only complimented by the building’s insanely unique flair.

IOE Building

3rd place: 26 Bedford way (14 per cent) 

Attached to the backside of the IOE, we have 26 Bedford Way in third place. In turn with today’s obsession with sensual posteriors, this building is frankly tantalising. Look at those three columns devoid of decoration, its awkwardly jagged location on the corner of the street, it’s off-centre steps and the pitiful attempt at some greenery to the side.  This building is brutal. This building is beautiful. 

4th place: SSEES (eight per cent)

Tell me the School of Eastern European Studies isn’t just the most subtly sensual building on campus? Look at those sweeping curves and bosomful bends – in fourth place, SSEES is utterly delicious. 

What makes it even sexier? The ridiculously beautiful, intelligent, artsy-type students smoking outside – so damn sexy with their long tweed coats, messy hair and appetite for rebellion. These beautiful individuals are always a much-anticipated and deeply enjoyed accessory to the front of the building. 

Joint 5th place: The Institute of Archaeology & The School of Pharmacy (both six per cent)

I wasn’t sure what to say about these two hunky twins; I didn’t want to overdo the brutalism…so just know The Institute of Archaeology and The School of Pharmacy won joint fifth place.

The similarities are uncanny though!

7th place: Royal Free Hospital (four per cent) 

Now seventh place, confused me slightly as I didn’t realise The Royal Free Hospital was a UCL building. But clearly, a lot of medics felt very passionate about it so truly, as the voice of the people, we have delivered so here you go:

Don’t. Even. Come. For. The Royal Free. I was born there. It birthed a legend. Enough said.

Secondly, and most importantly, it is an NHS hospital, so it fucking rocks no point of information allowed.

There were also several honourable mentions to be included: 

• The Institute of Global Health (two per cent)

Frankly, I did not know this existed, but then again I do live in my hippie-dippie, fairytale-land, veritable bubble that is the arts and humanities. But then again again, I also couldn’t even find a photo of this building online…

• The Cruciform Building (two per cent)

I will not take this. The building is built in the shape of a cross, not in the basic-bitch rectangle or even square, it’s a bloody cross – so cut it some slack; i’s already doing the most. Just look at that popping red brick colour, it is so unique and just screams mild-penitentiary aesthetics. Plus, maybe the off-centre entrance was some kind of hip statement that we are simply just not cool enough to get yet…?!

•UCLH (two per cent) 

The choice of colour is perfect. Immediate scrubs vibes. The cleanly white and bright blue insides are also revealed on the outside; it is exactly what it says on the tin. Bonus: it has definitely saved most of your lives at some point, so I guess there’s that. Bonus bonus : imagine it being so cold and rainy, that you have your drunk Maccies on one of the top floors with a majestic view of London…

•The Bartlett (two per cent) 

With a certain amount of irony the Bartlett – the architecture building is not adored by many architects…it does, however, have the added bonus of being able to see directly into the rooms of Campbell House student halls. So there’s a quick way to make close friends. 

So there you have it, that was the full list of UCL’s ‘ugliest’ buildings, as voted for by you.

If you have made it this far I deeply hope that you have enjoyed this really objective piece of journalism and fingers crossed, this article has succeeded in really subtly brainwashing you into an intimate love of brutalism.