There’s nothing like seeing photos of horrible and ugly architecture to perk up your spirits. You look at those ugly buildings and you think to yourself, “2020 might be a horrible year and things are going to hell but at least my life’s better than these trainwrecks.” If you’re a fan of architectural disasters, then you have to check out the Ugly Belgian Houses social media pages, run by local Hannes Coudenys. His project of taking snaps of ugly houses in Belgium is loved by a lot of people and he jokes that it’s turned into almost a “cult.”
Hannes told Bored Panda that a big part of his growth online has been the fact that he's been doing a project for Belgian TV. "I ring the door and ask them if they know they are on this page. In the end, I tell them it's my website." You can check out Hannes' videos right here. He's still working on them and around 25 new ones are in the making.
You can check out Bored Panda’s earlier awesome posts featuring Ugly Belgian Houses right here and here. But before you do that, scroll down, upvote your fave horrendous buildings, and read on for our freshest interview with Hannes.
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Hannes told Bored Panda that there is a problem with becoming too big, too fast. This has lead to some architectural drama on his social media pages. People have been clashing there because they have different opinons about experimental architecture and classical Belgian farmstyle buildings. "I never wanted to shame experimental [buildings]," Hannes said.
He told us that his book sales have been doing great and it's already become a cult classic in Belgium. "A lot of tourists buy the book when they visit. We sold about 20,000 copies which is quite big in our small country of 10 million people."
Hannes said that going outside was easier during the coronavirus lockdown. "We could go outside for walks and runs so that [taking pictures of houses] was the only thing I could do."
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“We all love to hate ugly Belgian houses,” Hannes told Bored Panda in an earlier interview. However, he added that it’s not just Belgium that’s full of wacky architecture.
“Poland has terrible architecture, as a lot of people have let me see,” Hannes said. He also pointed out that Belgium has lots of great architecture, too (so it’s not all dreary and grim down there). “I like the work of Gijs van Vaerenbergh, Vens-Vanbelle, De Vylder Vinck Taillieu, Vincent van Duysen.”
More than 107k people follow Hannes’ Ugly Belgian Houses page on Facebook while his fan count on Instagram has grown to 101k (it was 76.8k in October 2019).
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According to Hannes, Belgians have a weird interpretation of what makes a house look good. “Normally, if you like architecture you like good houses, but in Belgium, there’s a lot of ugly architecture. So I started taking pictures of it.”
He added that regulations in Belgium are quite liberal and people love to design their own quirky dream houses. However, some house owners were angry that Hannes featured photos of them online.
Tempers flared. Lawyers got involved. And Hannes gave in and shut down his blog. Fortunately, he relaunched it back in 2013. Now he asks people to contact him directly if they don’t like seeing their weird homes being poked fun at online.