London's Glowing Orb Is Just One Of Many Divisive UK Landmarks

·4-min read
I, for one, welcome our sphere-y overlord.  (Photo: MSG Sphere)
I, for one, welcome our sphere-y overlord. (Photo: MSG Sphere)

A large, glowing orb could end up towering over the whole of London’s east end if it is approved.

The proposed MSG Sphere stadium would reportedly be as wide as the London Eye and almost rival Big Ben in height, while lighting up the nearby streets with 36 million LEDs.

Designers from the New York-based Madison Square Garden Company have described the idea as “the next generation of immersive experiences”, but some locals have been left aghast at the thought of a globe shining into their homes 24 hours a day.

A Stop MSG Sphere campaign group has even been set up among Stratford residents over fears it would increase traffic and pollution substantially – especially as the globe is right next to the London Stadium.

Campaigner Lindsay Mace told The Guardian: “It’s both ridiculous and obscene that this thing is even being considered.”

But this controversial proposal is just the latest piece of architecture to raise eyebrows. Take a look at these eyesores and architectural flops.

The Marble Arch Mound

The Marble Arch Mound, a new temporary attraction, in central London (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images)
The Marble Arch Mound, a new temporary attraction, in central London (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images)

The Marble Arch Mound fell rather short of expectations – despite standing at 25 metres tall – when it was unveiled in July.

The £2 million temporary tourist attraction was pitched as a sustainable platform which would provide a unique viewpoint over London.

But it has ended up being dubbed a “bad Santa’s grotto” by visitors who paid between £4.50 and £8 for entry.

The scaffolding which surrounds the structure made for a stark contrast to the glossy, green artistic impressions which were released before its big reveal.

Those who ventured to the mound soon complained that the structure offered a view of the capital’s bins rather than London’s best landmarks.

Although only open until January next year, Westminster City Council has already offered refunds to the first wave of visitors and promised to “resolve any teething problems”.

London’s doomed Garden Bridge

The Garden Bridge Project was dropped in 2017 (Photo: Heatherwick Studio)
The Garden Bridge Project was dropped in 2017 (Photo: Heatherwick Studio)

Londoners were left exasperated on the other side of the pandemic too, when plans to build a pedestrian bridge across the River Thames were shelved.

A TfL inquiry revealed a substantial £43 million from the public purse was spent on the project, after it failed to secure enough private funding.

The Garden Bridge Trust also spent £53 million in total, including £161,000 on a website and £417,000 on a gala before the proposal was dropped in August 2017.

Campaigners were left questioning why £21 million was spent securing the contract to build the bridge – even though the land for the structure had not been secured.

First championed by then London Mayor Boris Johnson, the proposal came under fire as soon as his successor, Sadiq Khan, withdrew his support for the project.

Then Labour London Assembly member – now Deputy Mayor – Tom Copley even said it was “galling to see” the costs of the infrastructure climb, and described it as “Boris’ botched Bridge”.

Spinnaker Tower

The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth (Photo: Gary Hider / EyeEm via Getty Images)
The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth (Photo: Gary Hider / EyeEm via Getty Images)

Brits were also less than impressed with Portsmouth Harbour’s Spinnaker Tower when it finally materialised in 2005.

While offering panoramic views and stomach-turning glass floors, the 170-metre tower is meant to represent billowing boat sails.

But not everyone appreciated the modern aesthetic, especially after an extra five-year delay on its opening – and a faulty external lift which led to the City Council’s Project Manager David Greenhalgh becoming trapped for more than an hour.

It came in over budget as well, with taxpayers forking out £11.1 million towards the £36 million project, despite an original pledge that it would be funded without public support.

Bournemouth’s Waterfront Leisure Complex

The demolition of the old IMAX building in Bournemouth back in 2013. (Photo: Thomas Faull via Getty Images)
The demolition of the old IMAX building in Bournemouth back in 2013. (Photo: Thomas Faull via Getty Images)

Bournemouth Borough Council spent £7.5 million to demolish one of its more controversial buildings after it was voted one of the most hated in England back in 2005.

The Waterfront Leisure Complex, complete with a wavy roof and dark glass, infuriated locals when it was opened in 1998.

Its height meant it blocked a scenic view while its unconventional architecture left locals cold.

Other supposedly ugly British architecture has also received recognition through the Carbuncle Cup which was last awarded in 2018 to Stockport’s leisure centre, Redrock.

We’re begging you, stop digging

A new London Underground roundel for the Elizabeth Line is illuminated outside the new Crossrail station (Photo: Jim Dyson via Getty Images)
A new London Underground roundel for the Elizabeth Line is illuminated outside the new Crossrail station (Photo: Jim Dyson via Getty Images)

The MSG Sphere is not the only controversial project lined up which could soon be materialising.

A potential bridge stretching from Northern Ireland to Scotland, dubbed a “pipe dream” by Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill, has continued to make headlines in recent years.

Meanwhile, the Elizabeth tube line – which will stretch from Reading to Heathrow – has triggered an outcry after it was predicted to cost £2 billion more than the original £15.9 billion budget.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

landmark

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting