Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it is true that the Selfridges store in Birmingham is not to everyone's taste. The same goes for Spaghetti Junction, which although it remains a remarkable feat of engineering tends to conjure up a picture of traffic hell rather than graceful design.
But like it or not, these two, along with the Rotunda and Town Hall, are landmarks instantly associated with Birmingham. Disrespect the Brummie icons at your peril, as city council assistant director of culture Brian Gambles will know by now.
Mr Gambles, in his extraordinarily over-the-top celebration of Birmingham's new library, let slip his belief that it will be an uplifting experience for people when the library is completed. This is because the city will then be defined by "something other than a shop or a road junction" - a strange claim from a senior official of a council that rarely ceases to enthuse about Selfridges.
Talk about snobbish condescension, not to mention an "I know what's best for the masses" attitude.
Culture directors, we suppose, are bound to be somewhat highbrow. But Mr Gambles would be better advised to concentrate on making the case for building the library at all. He and the council's political leadership still have a long way to go to convince a scrutiny committee that the Centenary Square library will be any better than a refurbished and extended Central Library.
A suspicion remains - unproven, but a strong suspicion nevertheless - that a desire to demolish the Central Library in order to deliver a lucrative refurbishment of Paradise Circus is driving this project. The Centenary Square site, it is said, is too small to accommodate the lavish design trumpeted by Mr Gambles and the fear is that Birmingham will end up with something that is far removed from a world class library.