The shortlist has been revealed for the Carbuncle Cup – the annual prize that no architect in the UK wants to win. The award, nominated by readers of Building Design magazine, names and shames the country’s ugliest buildings. Those in the running for the 2018 edition include a bright red-brick Streatham house that looks like ‘a clumsy and alien blot on the streetscape’, a ‘regeneration calamity’ in Lewisham, and a ‘grotesque’ hotel extension in Liverpool, according to organizers.
This year’s lineup is comprised of PRP Architects’s Lewisham Gateway – a GBP£375 million urban regeneration scheme (‘it seems to me that […] they haven’t really regenerated anything at all’, Building Design editor Thomas Lane commented), Rolfe Judd’s 28-storey Haydn Tower at Nine Elms Point – a residential development incorporating a giant Sainsbury’s supermarket, and BDP’s GBP£45 million ‘leisure destination’ Redrock Stockport.
Pace Jefford Moore Architects’s private house 20 Ambleside Avenue in Streatham, London – which has been compared to an ‘electricity substation’, Signature Living’s ‘grotesque’ rooftop extension to Shankly Hotel in Liverpool, and Boyes Rees Architects’s 23-storey student housing complex Beckley Point in Plymouth (which Building Design describes as ‘Vegas heads to Plymouth by way of New York’) complete the shortlist.
Building Design originally founded the prize in 2006 as a humorous comment on bad architecture ‘blighting the country’s towns and cities’ – a parody of the Royal Institute of British Architects’s annual Stirling Prize. The award’s title is a reference to a speech given by Prince Charles in 1984 in which he described a proposed extension to London’s National Gallery as ‘a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.’ Previous winners have included central London’s Walkie Talkie building and a Tesco-apartment block in Woolwich.
Each year, the publication’s readers nominate the new buildings they deem the worst, which are then compiled into a shortlist by a jury – this year’s judges include architectural critic Jonathan Glancey and commissioner for Historic England Rosemarie McQueen. The winning eyesore will be announced on 5 September.