Posts tagged with "Carbuncle Cup":

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The Carbuncle Cup rewards Britain’s worst building of 2018

Norman Foster was born there, it has a glass pyramid, and now, Stockport, U.K., has a Carbuncle Cup–winning building to boast as well. The town, which is south of Manchester, was the subject of derision and scorn this week as Redrock Stockport, a $58-million leisure complex and car park, claimed British architecture's least wanted prize: the Carbuncle Cup. Architecture’s wooden spoon, the Carbuncle Cup is an annual competition run by Building Design magazine that throws the U.K.’s worst buildings into the somewhat unwanted limelight. Designed by architecture practice BDP's Manchester office as part of a regeneration scheme for the area, Redrock Stockport offers shops, restaurants, a movie theater, gym, and a multistory garage. However, despite proving to be a popular destination for local residents, the scheme has suffered the wrath of numerous critics. Carbuncle judges Thomas Lane, Ike Ijeh, Jonathan Glancey, and Rosemarie McQueen did not hold back. “You feel sorry for the people of Stockport," they said, adding that the project is a “sad metaphor for our failing high streets.” The judges continued:
Urban regeneration can be a good thing, but when it becomes an excuse to foist bad architecture on to struggling communities in the cynical pursuit of an ‘anything is better than what was there before’ methodology, it simply recycles the resentment regeneration was supposed to redress. The fact that there are multiple examples of this kind of garish, soul-less leisure shed architecture in U.K. towns doesn’t let Redrock off the hook: It puts more of those responsible for our built environment in the dock.
BDP is an established global firm with offices across Asia and Europe. The judges warned how the project could hurt its reputation. “It’s like BDP has trodden on a piece of chewing gum and it will stick to their shoe for the next 40 years," they said. The practice was shortlisted with five other projects, one of which came from London firm PLP Architecture whose Nova Victoria scheme won the Carbuncle Cup last year. As is it's nature, the Carbuncle Cup did attract some controversy this year. Though the project didn't make the final shortlist, London studio GROUPWORK + Amin Taha Architects' 15 Clerkenwell Close was nominated, something which caused a stir among the architecture community. The scheme is also nominated for this year's RIBA London Prize, being heavily praised for its stone facade. Its Carbuncle nominator, however, thought differently, dismissing it instead as "ruin porn."
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This is Britain’s ugliest building of the year

"A hideous mess," "crass," "over-scaled," "[an] assault on all your senses from the moment you leave the Tube station." The judges were unsparing in their criticism of PLP Architecture's new London development, the Nova Victoria, which emerged the winner of the Carbuncle Cup, architecture's least wanted trophy. This is the sixth year in a row a London project has been crowned Carbuncle-of-the-year, annually awarded by Building Design (BD) a British architecture publication for the ugliest building to have been completed in the U.K. over the previous year. Among the six firms nominated for this year's Carbuncle Cup in the U.K., the largest studio, London-based PLP Architecture, walked away with the prize. Situated in the heart of London, PLP's Nova Victoria is one of the first set of structures people see when exiting Victoria Railway Station. And the sight that welcomes those unfortunate commuters, if they can see past the ongoing construction work, is a gargantuan up-turned arrowhead that is as red as the architects' faces might be today. Lee Polisano, president at PLP, told The Guardian that the building's color "is a reference to Victoria being an important transport interchange, so we chose a color that’s synonymous with transport in London." The developer behind Nova Victoria is Land Securities (LandSec) and this project is their second worthy of the Carbuncle Cup. Rafael Viñoly’s car-melting Walkie-Talkie building was the first in 2015. Nova, LandSec's most recent architectural clunker, houses offices, restaurants, and 170 apartments starting at $940,000. The $500 million project is described on its own website as "ultra-modern, beautifully engineered and architecturally daring. A statement for living amid the grandeur of Westminster and Belgravia." This apparent "statement," it seems, has not worn well on many critics. "Nova should have been good as it’s a prestige site. It makes me want to cringe physically," remarked judge Catherine Croft who is also director of the C20 Society in the U.K. The scathing didn't end there, either. Fellow judge David Rudlin lamented: "There’s no variety and you can’t read the floors." Speaking of the arrowhead, he added, "It’s got the same proportions as Salisbury Cathedral. For me the spire gives it carbuncular status–otherwise it’s just a bad building." BD editor Thomas Lane said also poured on the scorn. "The architect appears to have been inspired by the fractured, angular shapes beloved of stararchitects like Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind and applied these to a run-of-the-mill spec office development," he said. For all of Nova Victoria's flaws, it could have been worse. It's hard to imagine, but as The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright noted, three 40-story towers were proposed to Westminster Council in 2007. This was rejected, and rightfully so, for the project would have cast its Victorian surroundings in shadow. Worth noting too, is that views of and from Buckingham Palace would have been somewhat spoiled.
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Six U.K. buildings are in the running for Britain’s ugliest building

Six British buildings are competing for an architectural prize no one wants to win: the Carbuncle Cup. Architecture's least desirable accolade, the trophy is only available for architects with projects in the U.K. and this year, an unlucky half dozen firms are vying to dodge the bullet of embarrassment. 2017 brings round the eleventh edition of the Carbuncle Cup. It is run by the British trade magazine, Building Design (BD) and initiated as a response to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Stirling Prize, using HRH Prince Charles's description of Ahrends Burton Koralek's proposed extension of the National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend," in 1984 at an event intended to honor Indian architect Charles Correa. As past winners will attest, architectural pedigree won’t save you. Foster+Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners have previously made the list for their Moor House office development and One Hyde Park projects, respectively, both of which are in London. Past winners include the Cutty Sark renovation in Greenwich by Grimshaw Architects and Rafael Viñoly’s car-melting 20 Fenchurch Sreet (a.k.a. The Walkie-Talkie Tower) in London. Take a look at this year’s finalists below with BD's scornful comments. Nova Victoria London PLP Architecture "Pity poor Victoria. Rebuilt in the 1960’s after WWII bombing, the area is now being extensively redeveloped by Land Securities but sadly not for the better. The latest offering is Nova Victoria, a 897,000-square-foot, mixed-use development occupying a whole city block. The architect, PLP, has attempted to break up the monolithic nature of these scheme by expressing it as a pair of sliced and chamfered towers and jazzing it up with several bright red prows presumably to give it that ‘landmark’ quality. Instead several readers questioned how it got planning." Preston Railway Station Butler Street Entrance Preston AHR Operator Virgin Trains said the building was a “contrasting structure to create a more modern and passenger friendly environment.” Preston locals thought differently, describing it as an “eyesore,” “hideous,” “a joke,” and “planning gone mad.” Nominator Steve Webberley described it as a “deadening cake tin slapped on its side.”He said: “This fractured geometric lean-to would seem out of date 10 years ago. It isn’t even that well-planned inside. The relationship with the window line of the brick station is laughable. We’ve come a long way from Brunel. A very long way…” Greetham Street Student Halls Portsmouth Cooley Architects Greetham Street Student Halls has been nicknamed the "fag butt" by locals due to its central tan and beige coloured circular tower. The nominator, Kieran Clarke said, "[It] seems that the building’s architects were either colour blind when choosing the external cladding or wanted to blind others with the bright yellow cube at the top of their tower." 8 Somers Road Malvern Vivid Architects According to BD, the design and access statement accompanying the planning application describes these as "subservient and understated with a crisp modern aesthetic distinct from the historic house." The nominator Robert Smith begs to differ, describing the extension as a "Lego brick, adding, "I am aware that planning guidelines today are to keep a clear boundary between new and old structures, but the architect has made no attempt to unify the house and now most people assume this family home to be a medical centre." Circus West, Battersea Power Station London Simpson Haugh This building has not fared well with BD's readership. Comments of derision included the following: "A great case of gross over development - it’s disgusting!’, and ‘Now we’re talking…. might as well stop the rest of the nominations being listed. We have a winner right here." "Many of our readers also pointed out the blame for this building should be shared with Rafael Vinoly who was responsible for the masterplan," said BD. "Unfortunately this scale of overdevelopment has been forced on the power station because of a series of bad deals made by a series of owners needing to recoup their investments." Park Plaza London Waterloo London ESA Architecture "This dowdy beige 1950s government building to hotel conversion has been jazzed up presumably to draw in the punters. The lower lower storeys are swathed in tiles whose pattern would cause havoc on a TV screen, and whose colours manage to be both gaudy and drab at the same time. To draw attention to the entrance, the architects lifted the cornice at one corner and wrapped a weird screen around it. It looks like the skin has been peeled from someone’s torso, exposing a spaghetti of blood vessels and veins beneath." The architectural hammer of damnation will slam down on the winner—or loser, depending on your view—next Wednesday when the Carbuncle Cup is awarded. There will be no ceremony.
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See what won the Carbuncle Cup for Britain’s ugliest building of the year

"The worst building amongst a swathe of mediocrity," read one. A "grotesque Jenga game of rabid, rectilinear blocks without the promise of collapse," read another. Compliments for BUJ Architects' Lincoln Plaza have been hard to come by. Today, the collection of housing units in east London's Docklands was dealt a hammer blow in being crowned the winner of this year's Carbuncle Cup, British architecture's least-wanted design award. Comprising two towers of dwellings with a cylindrical hotel mixed into the program, the ill-fated development has been the subject of severe scorn for the 2016 iteration of Building Design's (BD) Carbuncle Cup awards. It is the fifth London building in a row to claim the trophy in the awards' tenth successive year. Lincoln Plaza was selected from a shortlist of six projects built in the UK, three of which were in London. Last year, Rafael Viñoly’s car-melting 20 Fenchurch Sreet (a.k.a. The Walkie-Talkie Tower) took the prize. “When you look at the crazy patterns, pick and mix colors and gimmicky balconies you can see that it lacks poise, foundation or clarity of vision," lamented Julian Robinson of the awarding jury. "Its neighbors aren’t great but this is just an unmitigated mess.” Meanwhile, BD editor Thomas Lane was equally critical. “This is the worst building amongst a swathe of mediocrity," he said. "South Quay is rapidly turning into London’s Carbuncle Cluster.” The derision didn't end there either. One reader even went so far as to say that the building's balconies “are an open invitation to commit suicide.” Critic and member of the jury panel Ike Ijeh described Lincoln Plaza further: "31 stories of bilious cladding are piled one on top of the other to create an assortment of haphazardly assembled facades that are crude, jarring and shambolic." He went on to add:
Essentially, this building is the architectural embodiment of sea sickness, waves of nausea frozen in sheaths of glass and colored aluminum that, when stared at for too long, summon queasiness, discomfort and, if you’re really unlucky, a reappearance of lunch as inevitably as puddles after a rainstorm.
Incidentally, the much-maligned flats in question range from $1 million to $1.2 million. The developers behind the project, Galliard Homes, describe it as a "striking new landmark against Canary Wharf’s dazzling architecture." They go on to add: "Offering breathtaking views, first class facilities, and superlative living accommodation in a location of international status, Lincoln Plaza is set to provide one of the most prestigious and sophisticated new landmarks on Canary Wharf’s iconic skyline." Ijeh, though, was not impressed with this description.
Were anyone in any doubt as to the sheer level delusion and gall that has gripped London’s luxury housing market, then this asinine quotation should settle the matter once and for all. Lincoln Plaza is actually in South Quay and not Canary Wharf but what better way of showing contempt for your local context than by insinuating it is actually located in your flashier neighboring district that is more likely to be familiar to your target Malaysian investors? But, of course, this development does not show contextual contempt by words but by actions and it is these architectural actions and not the aforementioned “views” that are truly “breath-taking.” Lincoln Plaza is a putrid, pugilistic horror show that should never have been built. In its bilious cladding, chaotic form, adhesive balconies and frenzied facades, it exhibits the absolute worst in shambolic architectural design and cheap visual gimmickry. The only thing “sophisticated” about this scheme is the sheer level of artistry that must have been orchestrated in order to convince the local authority to award permission.
Paul Finch, editorial director of the Architects' Journal—a rival to the publication that runs the not-so-coveted trophy—called for the competition to be ended last month. He also wrongly predicted, as did many, that:
Those who control the [Carbuncle Cup] seem to know next to nothing about commercial architecture, hate it, campaign against it and only keep quiet when a self-evidently ‘good’ architect, like Eric Parry, wins a commission to design the tallest tower in the City of London, demolishing the rather good [Aviva] tower in the process. The predictable tone of the [Carbuncle Cup] nominations is echoed by the predictability of the results. The judges don’t get out much, so the focus is generally on London. If you can attack a big name, all the better, hence the ludicrous abuse poured on the Cutty Sark project by Grimshaw. Commercial uses are a red rag to a bull, hence the campaign against another ‘winner’, the Tesco store with apartments above at Woolwich, a brave and successful attempt to revive a benighted town centre,  which I supported while sitting on the design review panel which assessed the plan... My real objection to the [Cup] is that it is the product of mental idleness rather than genuine thought about the way in which architecture both absorbs and reflects culture, economics, fashion and the myriad other elements which inform the way we now live, work and play.
Catherine Slessor, also writing in the same publication, however, made the case for the Carbuncle Cup:
Some might regard it as a cheap exercise in tabloid trolling that takes no account of the complexities and contradictions of the design process, in which architects are merely hapless pawns, buffeted by bad clients, bad briefs and bad legislation. Yet who could argue against the guilty pleasure of witnessing the pomposity of the great and the good being pricked or the hubris of provincial nonentities witheringly exposed? After all, these purveyors of ordure are paid for what they do. And, unlike genuine ordure, bad buildings cannot be swept away.
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Shortlist revealed for Britain’s ugliest building of the year

The shortlist for the least desirable architectural accolade in Britain has been unveiled. Comprising six unfortunate finalists, the winner will be awarded the Carbuncle Cup, a trophy which has become the stuff of nightmares for architects with projects in the U.K. The Carbuncle Cup is now in its tenth successive year and is proving to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek response from Building Design (BD) to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)'s Stirling Prize. Pedigree, it seems, won’t save you: Foster+Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners have previously made the list for their Moor House office development and One Hyde Park projects, respectively, which are both in London. Past winners include the Strata SE1 building in south London by BFLS and the Cutty Sark renovation in Greenwich by Grimshaw Architects. Last year, Rafael Viñoly’s car-melting 20 Fenchurch Sreet (a.k.a. The Walkie-Talkie Tower) in London took the prize. Take a look at this year’s finalists below.  
Saffron Square Location: Croydon, London Architect: Rolfe Judd First on the "to-roast" list is Saffron Square (otherwise known as Saffron Tower) in Croydon, south London. Though Croydon currently holds the crown as having U.K.'s fastest growing local economy, the news surrounding its architecture scene has not been so positive. Developer Berkeley Homes’s offering, whose colorfully-clad tower can be seen from many-a-mile, has been described as having a “car crash of a facade.”    
A photo posted by Sia Pik Liang (@siapikliang) on
The Diamond Sheffield Twelve Architects This building in Yorkshire may provide accommodation for engineering students at the University of Sheffield, however, it is apparently “dwarfing” and “drowning” is neighboring church with its interior being “wasted,” “unused,” and “outrageously mismanaged.”    
Beautiful day for a skate, this spot in Hanley is awesome!! #spotcheck #skate #metrogrammed #summerishere A photo posted by Will Lowe (@wimpstain) on
One Smithfield Stoke-on-Trent RHWL Architects "An aesthetic mutation between the nostalgic 1980s brain games of Connect 4 and Blockbusters might not seem like a natural breeding ground for architectural malevolence but this building proves what happens when color goes rogue," wrote BD in a scathing analysis of the multi-colored structure.   Poole Methodist Church extension Poole, Dorset Intelligent Design Centre Churches have not faired well according to this year's iteration of the Carbuncle Cup. This extension to the existing gothic church has been derided as a building that "screams of the same bland, belligerent mediocrity that is the insidious moniker of ostensibly polite and ubiquitous background architecture everywhere."  
5 Broadgate London Make Architects Make Architects's 5 Broadgate is one of three buildings from London (last year had four) and the largest on the list. Such is the scorn that the structure has received that developers of the nearby 22 Bishopsgate project called 5 Broadgate the "worst large building in the City for 20 years." Ominously, last year's biggest building happened to be 20 Fenchurch Street (The Walkie-Talkie), the eventual winner.     Lincoln Plaza London BUJ Architects Last on the ill-fated architectural honors list is Lincoln Plaza. "31 stories of bilious cladding are piled one on top of the other to create an assortment of haphazardly assembled facades that are crude, jarring and shambolic," wrote BD in an unforgiving critique of the high-rise. And that wasn't all. "Were that not enough, the facades enwrap a grotesque Jenga game of rabid rectilinear blocks of no discernible form or profile and perforated by a series of balconies which one reader surmises “are an open invitation to commit suicide."  
  The winner of the Carbuncle Cup will be announced next Wednesday.
The jury comprises Thomas Lane, BD editor, Ike Ijeh, architect and architectural critic, Ben Flatman,author, architect and BD columnist, and Julian Robinson, London School of Economic’s director of estates, who was responsible for commissioning 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize finalist the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre.
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Rafael Viñoly’s car-melting Walkie-Talkie Tower named Britain’s worst building of the year

After roasting cars and carpets, London's 20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie Tower, has itself been roasted as the winner of the Carbuncle Cup, British architecture's least desirable award. Building Design magazine, which organizes the award, described the tower as a “gratuitous glass gargoyle.” The structure, designed by Rafael Viñoly, has struggled for any form of critical acclaim since it opened in 2010. “It is a challenge finding anyone who has something positive to say about this building,” said BD editor Thomas Lane. The Guardian's architecture critic, Oliver Wainwright, was just as unforgiving when he likened the structure to a "sanitary towel." Londoners have claimed that the Walkie-Talkie, nicknamed for its visual resemblance to the handheld communication device, has blown them away—and into the street. Twenty Fenchurch Street's embarrassing wind problem has prompted the City of London to look at "changing the way it works with developers." Knocking people off their feet isn't the only accusation lobbed at Viñoly's design. In what is becoming a growing list of misdemeanors, developers of 20 Fenchurch Street have had to pay £946 ($1,500) in compensation after the tower burnt a Jaguar and a hole into a shop carpet. A screen has been built to halt the reflective death-ray. In its turbulent start to London life, the building's reflective power has been harnessed by the locals, as one resident was able to fry an egg with the building's glare. That led to another nickname, the "fryscraper." "When I once described Rafael Viñoly as a menace to London," tweeted ex-RIBA president George Ferguson, "I didn't think he was going to burn it." The architect's proposal has prompted equally vicious responses during its planning stages. UNESCO voiced its distaste for the design and English Heritage bestowed it as a "brutally dominant expression of commercial floor space" with an "oppressive and overwhelming form." Peter Wynne Rees, chief planner of the City of London, has since admitted he made a mistake for the building's location, saying that he was persuaded by the project's public element, a 525-foot-high garden. Even this signature feature has been the subject of scourge. Wainwright, who is clearly not the building's biggest fan, wrote in the Guardian that it "feels like you’re trapped in an airport, you can barely see the city because of a steel cage – and the more money you shell out, the worse it gets." Twenty Fenchurch Street's issues with sun glare are nothing new to modern architecture however. In Las Vegas, the Vdara Hotel startled Bill Pintas, a Chicago lawyer and businessman, when he started to smell his hair burning.  "I actually thought that, Oh my God, we've destroyed the ozone layer because I am being burned," Pintas told NBC's TODAY show back in 2010. "My head was steaming hot... I could actually smell my hair burning." In Dallas, too, the Museum Tower by Scott Johnson has been subject to criticism as it fried artwork at its neighbor, the Nasher Sculpture Center. And of course, Gehry's Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, drew international attention for sizzling surrounding buildings and blinding drivers. Blustery conditions from skyscrapers are also no new problem. New York City's Flatiron Building caused an "ankle-revealing sensation" in the early 20th century with winds it sent rushing to the sidewalk. In 1983, engineering consultant Lev Zetlin asked for laws to halt the wind-tunnel-effect termed "downdraught" in New York.
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British architects are now deciding which one of these six finalists is the worst building of the year

Six of the worst buildings in Britain, shortlisted by British magazine Building Design, will battle it out to claim British architecture's least wanted trophy. The projects were chosen by a panel comprising BD editor Thomas Lane; architectural critic Ike Ijeh; writer, broadcaster, and historian Gillian Darley; and architectural designer Eleanor Jolliffe. The list was whittled from ten projects put forward by readers who felt compelled enough to voice their distaste about the structures that rudely entered their view. The Carbuncle Cup is in its ninth successive year and is proving to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek response to the Stirling Prize awarded by RIBA. Pedigree, it seems, won't save you from being shortlisted for the prize. Foster+Partners and Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners have previously made the list for their Moor House office development and One Hyde Park projects in London. Past winners include the Strata SE1 building in south London by BFLS and the Cutty Sark renovation in Greenwich by Grimshaw Architects. Last year, Sheppard Robson's Woolwich Central took the prize. The winner of the Carbuncle Cup will be announced next Wednesday, September 9. Take a look at this year's finalists below. 20 Fenchurch Sreet (aka The Walkie-Talkie Tower) London Rafael Viñoly Architects Woodward Hall North Acton, London Careyjones Chapmantolcher Whittle Building Peterhouse, University of Cambridge John Simpson Architects Waltham Forest YMCA London Robert Kilgour Architects City Gateway Swaythling, Southampton Fluid Design Parliament House Lambeth, London Keith Williams Architects
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Golden Carbuncle: Grimshaw’s Cutty Sark Named Ugliest Building in UK

The famous clipper ship Cutty Sark was recently rehabilitated by Grimshaw Architects, who also built an exhibition hall around the vessel. The project, which opened in April, has just received the dubious distinction of winning Building Design’s 2012 Carbuncle (a.k.a. “ugliest building”) Cup award. Parked in Greenwich, England and categorized as a World Heritage site, the ship now floats on a blue glass base intended to suggest water. But the resulting effect is more bateau-en-gelée, prompting BD executive editor Ellis Woodman to write that the project had “the best of intentions and yet has tragically succeeded in defiling the very thing it set out to save.”