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6 ugliest buildings in Britain nominated
Shortlist announced for annual award for (dis)services to architecture -- have you seen worse?
Grace, sophistication, sheer cleverness of construction … all elements entirely lacking, apparently, from the six buildings shortlisted for Building Design Magazine’s Carbuncle Cup, which crowns -- if that’s the right word -- the ugliest building in Britain.
Student housing figures prominently this year among the entries, nominated by readers, for an award launched eight years ago as a humorous version of the prestigious Stirling Prize.
Indeed, Castle Mill Housing, a graduate accommodation block abutting an ancient and -- once, at least -- beautiful sward of grazing land on the outskirts of Oxford, has received more nominations than any other building in the history of the Carbuncle Cup.
“A deeply unimaginative and impoverished design which would lower the spirits, whatever its setting,” is how one of its nominators describes it.
An “excellent example of facadism,” says Building Design, sarcastically, of another shortlisted student block, 465 Caledonian Road, named after the busy London thoroughfare on which it’s located.
Facadism is the practice of knocking down a building but including its frontage in the building that replaces it -- or a face transplant that went terribly wrong, to describe the current example another way.
"Inappropriately" named is how BD describes another apparent London design grotesque, Avant Garde.
The magazine prefers “monstrous” and “grotesquely over-scaled” as labels for this building modestly titled after a whole aesthetic movement.
Elsewhere in the British capital, a chain hotel, one of those repeat offenders when it comes to deadening architectural blandness, has produced, “a travesty in more ways than one.”
“We shudder at its lumpen form,” says the magazine of the Premier Inn, Lambeth, “and mourn the building demolished to make way for it.”
Outside London once more, in shivery Wales, the squat Port Eirias Watersports Center is known to locals “not so affectionately as ‘The Dumpster,’” according to BD.
The final Carbuncle Cup-shortlisted entry is a peg-shaped tower in the oddly named seaside resort of Redcar, which you could describe as sticking out like a huge sore thumb wrapped in garish bandages by a maddened nurse.
But ugliness, like beauty, is in part, at least, in the eye of the beholder.
Several commentators on the Carbuncle Award shortlist bemoan the exclusion this year of the Shard, for example, London’s tallest new building, jabbing at the sky like a street weapon.
Which is the ugliest building you've ever seen in Britain or beyond? Let us know in the comments section below.