The readers of Business Insider have spoken, declaring Charleston's round Holiday Inn as South Carolina's ugliest building.

But the competition for that title is surely stiff, and it's unclear if readers of The Post and Courier would agree.

The magazine recently listed its readers' choices for the ugliest building in all 50 states, and the West Ashley landmark was singled out here.


An aerial view of the Ashley River bridges and the round Holiday Inn. File/Staff

But those who disagree or actually like the round Holiday Inn can take heart: The magazine's list includes a few works of architecture that many consider among the nation's most significant, such as Boston City Hall and the Denver International Airport.

Earlier this month, the magazine also listed its readers' choices for the most beautiful building in each state, and South Carolina's winner is just a few miles east of the round Holiday Inn: the College of Charleston's Randolph Hall and Cistern Yard.

Classicial architecture

Randolph Hall at the College of Charleston. File/Robert Behre/Staff

Interestingly, the North Dakota State Capitol building made both the magazine's ugliest and most beautiful lists, proving either how subjective architectural beauty actually is or how relatively few buildings there are in North Dakota — or both.

In 1996, The Post and Courier surveyed most Charleston area architects about their favorite and least favorite buildings. The round Holiday Inn was mentioned among this area's worst buildings, but so were many others, including some that no longer exist: the Sergeant Jasper apartments and the Charleston Memorial Hospital.

Others criticized in that 1996 survey have been renovated, such as the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium and the former Mendel Rivers Federal Building, now the Dewberry Charleston hotel.

Get the best of the Post and Courier's Real Estate news, handpicked and delivered to your inbox each Saturday.

The building that topped the 1996 list of ugly buildings actually was the Harborview Office Tower just across the Ashley River from the Holiday Inn. (A city zoning board recently approved the building's conversion into a hotel).

harborview building

MUSC's 10-story Harborview Office Tower on Hagood Ave. was opened in the late 1970s and is considered among the city's ugliest buildings. File/Michael Pronzato/Staff

The Post and Courier's building also made that 1996 list.

But that's just in Charleston. Surely, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach and other South Carolina cities have their share of architectural flops.

As Frank Lloyd Wright famously said, “A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.”

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771. Follow him on Twitter @RobertFBehre.