September 3, 2014

The Carbuncle Cup – 2014

Time once again for Britain’s good bad architecture contest, hosted by bd magazine – which unfortunately puts the nominees behind a paywall.  So we go to Slate for a preview:


Britain Shames Its Ugliest New Buildings With an Annual Prize

Nominees include the Vauxhall Tower by Broadway Malyan, a 50-story building on St. George Wharf development on the southern end of London’s Vauxhall Bridge:

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The Unite Stratford City by BDP in East London “drew unanimous condemnation” from the magazine’s readership. “Typical comments included, ‘if I was a dictator I would be very proud of this building, ‘utterly grotesque,’ ‘complete failure of the design process’ and ‘I say we take off and nuke it from orbit.’

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The most nominated building was Trinity Square by 3D Reid, which replaced a Brutalist parking garage memorably featured in the 1971 film Get Carter.  Carbuncle Cup judge Luder—also the architect of the demolished car park—commented: “The first principle of demolition should be to put up something that was better than was there before. Whatever you thought of the car park, this project is much worse.”

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UPDATE:  YVRlutyens was good enough to link to the winner:

The winner of the 2014 Carbuncle Cup is Woolwich Central, a Sheppard Robson-designed mixed-use scheme in south east London.

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It comprises 189 apartments in six interconnected blocks rising to 17 storeys over an 7,800sq m Tesco.

More here.

UPDATE: More upbeat is the review of recent design – architecture and urban – in the New York Times:

Transforming, but Not Disrupting

Many American urban projects opening in the coming months are not large-scale institutions but hybrids being constructed in locations not necessarily known for design.

Including a library by Bing Thom Architects:

The latest neighborhood to get an elegant new library is Woodridge: A lanternlike, precast concrete building with green roof terrace by Bing Thom Architects and Wiencek & Associates is set on a rise in Langdon Park and due to open in mid-2015.


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  1. They don’t look so bad from the “front” – even the winner.
    The back is awful though – needs a bit of greenery.
    Amazing, though, how the spandrel panels’ pattern mimicsthe look – from a distance – of a brutalist concrete bunker with a 3D precast concrete façade.