Since 2006, British architecture magazine Building Design has been handing out the Carbuncle Cup, an annual prize to “the ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last 12 months.” Over the years, some truly dreadful buildings have won the ignominious prize, including the Drake Circus Shopping Centre, a building that looks like a child’s drawing of a building, and 20 Fenchurch Street, a building that resembles a gigantic walkie-talkie.
This year’s winner of the Carbuncle Cup has just been announced on Dezeen, and as the name of the award might imply, it is indeed a bulging abscess on the skyline of the City of London. The Lincoln Plaza Housing Tower in east London by BUJ Architects has won the prize, with an insane construction with randomly distributed protruding balconies that Building Design calls “an open invitation to commit suicide.”
When architects gets catty, they are the best writers on Earth, so Building Design’s commentary on this building really speaks for itself. Describing it as a project which “beggars belief,” Building Design describes the “crude, jarring, and shambolic” construction as a “hideous mélange of materials, forms, and colours,” “an assortment of haphazardly assembled façades . . . enwrap[ing] a grotesque Jenga game of rabid rectilinear blocks of no discernible form or profile . . .”
Ike Ijeh, architecture correspondent for Building Magazine, gets even nastier in his article explaining why the Lincoln Plaza won the Carbuncle Cup. In a couple paragraphs worthy of being drizzled in syrup, he writes:
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.
Essentially, this building is the architectural embodiment of sea sickness, waves of nausea frozen in sheaths of glass and coloured aluminium 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.
Other buildings shortlisted for the not-so-prestigious architectural prize include: Rolfe Judd’s Southroin Square (described by Building Design as having a “car crash of a façade”); the Diamond at the University of Sheffield by Twelve Architects (a building which has an “unsettling similarity to a hydroelectric plant); RHWL Architects’ One Smithfield, Stoke on Trent (“One saving grace is that its alleged role as a catalyst for local regeneration means that there are few buildings nearby forced to view it”), the Poole Methodist Church extension by Intelligent Design Centre (“the sheer scale of its deficiencies reverberate far and wide across the grim spectrum of planning failure and architectural blight”); and Make Architects’ Broadgate, London (“a mute steel fortress” which received Carbuncle nominations “long before it was finished.”)
[Photos: via Galliard Development]