While most architectural awards aim to designate the best of the best, since 2006, the Carbuncle Cup has been doing the opposite. A light-hearted antidote to the prestigious Stirling Prize (which recognizes excellence in architecture), the Carbuncle Cup instead honors the United Kingdom's ugliest building of the year.
Nominated each year by readers of Building Design, the industry news site has whittled down this year's suggestions to just six candidates. These blunders include a couple of mediocre residential towers; a regeneration in Salford that falls short of rejuvenating; a two-story extension to a once charming historic building; an awkward Passivhaus scheme; and a depressing student housing block that is rather unfortunately, also the tallest building in the area.
"Our shortlist includes an eye-popping mix of architectural sins: wonky shapes, inexplicable combinations of form and materials, loud colors and lumpen shapes" BD writes. "Many of the contenders arrogantly stick two fingers up to the scale and architectural cues of their surroundings and in many cases can be seen from miles around."
The unlucky winner will be decided on September 5th by a jury comprised of BD editor Thomas Lane, BD’s architectural critic Ike Ijeh, architectural critic and author Jonathan Glancey and Rosemarie McQueen, commissioner for Historic England. Here, you can take a look at the shortlist along with selected jury comments below.
Lewisham Gateway, London by PRP Architects
"Bland, boxy and with some vaguely delinquent menace, the towers stand like a sneering street gang of four upturned middle fingers dumbly primed to hurl all manner of townscape obscenities at their unsuspecting environs."
Haydn Tower, Nine Elms Point, London by Rolfe Judd
"With at least three different types of cladding arranged in a messy stump of stacked vertical and horizontal stripes, this 28-story residential tower is one of the most confusing and discordant buildings in Vauxhall, no mean feat among a sea of similarly dumb high-rise sentinels."
Redrock Stockport by BDP
"An awkward row of disjointed boxes lines the M60, unhelpfully signaling Stockport’s aesthetic peril to motorists. All the boxes lean at alarming angles and are then sheathed in all manner of insalubrious multi-colored cladding."
20 Ambleside Avenue, London by Pace Jefford Moore Architects
"For some reason, the architects of this Passivhaus scheme in Streatham have opted for a single shade of red stock brick with matching pointing, orange guttering, tiles, shutters and gates, giving the house the appearance of a red-faced child who has said something gauche in a room full of grownups."
Shankly Hotel, Liverpool by Signature Living
"Where the original is gently curved with intricate classical detailing and vertical windows, the new structure is all abrupt right angles and bland horizontality. It looms awkwardly above its parent..."
Beckley Point, Plymouth by Boyes Rees Architects
"Vegas heads to Plymouth by way of New York with a student housing block that has the dubious honour of being the west country’s tallest building."
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