Preston Railway Station

See Britain’s six ugliest buildings vie for Carbuncle Cup

31 August 2017 | By Joe Quirke 2 Comments

Six UK buildings have been shortlisted for the “Carbuncle Cup” by architecture magazine Building Design. One of them will take the “prize” for being the “worst” building completed in the UK over the last 12 months.

The contenders are described as a “broad representation of what is being built in Britain today”, such as ugly extensions, luxury flat redevelopments and large London office schemes.

Greetham Street Student Halls

The nominated projects are:

  • Preston Railway Station Butler Street Entrance by AHR: Part of a £2m station revamp which is described by nominator Steve Webberley as a “deadening cake tin slapped on its side”
  • Greetham Street Student Halls, Portsmouth by Cooley Architects: Apparently nicknamed the “fag butt” by locals, described by designers as having a “distinctive yellow cube (that) gives the building its identity”
  • 8 Somers Road, Malvern by Vivid Architects: A renovation dubbed as a “Lego brick” by nominator Robert Smith, that “has made no attempt to unify the house and now most people assume this family home to be a medical centre”

8 Somers Road, Malvern

  • Circus West, Battersea Power Station, London by Simpson Haugh: Judges scorned what they called an “enormous pile of ice cubes” obscuring the iconic power station, saying “it literally wraps its arms around our national treasure like a drunk trying to hug your granny”. They did, however, exonerate one element of Circus West, the more modest gold-copper-clad block of flats. They took pity, as well, on previous Carbuncle Cup “winner” Rafael Vinoly, the masterplanner of the development, saying “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”
  • Nova Victoria by PLP Architecture: A “pitiless, banal slab” with “elevations of such crass discordancy and geometric awkwardness” is how judges described this 273,000 sq m mixed-use development in London’s Westminster
  • Park Plaza London Waterloo by ESA Architecture: A redevelopment of a former 1960s office building, with part of the design described as looking “like the skin has been peeled from someone’s torso, exposing a spaghetti of blood vessels and veins beneath”.

Nova Victoria by PLP Architecture

Previous winners of the prize include Woolwich Central, a 17-storey development containing 189 flats above a supermarket in south London and Rafael Viñoly’s “Walkie Talkie” in central London.

Top image: Preston Railway Station