Britain’s black coffee swigging architecture buffs are likely to have set their alarms early this morning, prepared to dive headfirst into this year’s Carbuncle Cup shortlist. The prize, awarded to monstrosities which draw attention to the terrible structures that run up and down the length and breadth of Great Britain like so many buboes on a victim of the plague, is dished out annually by the magazine Building Design.
Voted for by readers of the magazine, this year’s shortlist features a 23-storey student housing block in Plymouth, an eco-friendly-eyesore of a house in Streatham, an allegedly grotesque extension to a Liverpudlian hotel, Stockport’s bloated and bulky Redrock leisure complex, a grizzly newish block of apartments in Vauxhall, and Lewisham’s Gateway regeneration scheme, a piece of urban planning so strange that is is genuinely dread-inducing for pedestrians and cyclists alike.
Named after Prince Charles’ now-infamous comments about a then mooted National Gallery extension by Peter Ahrends as a “monstrous carbuncle” on the face of a “much-loved and elegant friend,” the cup has been previously won by buildings including the hulking MediaCityUK complex in Salford, the City of London’s wonky Walkie Talkie structure, and the sad and squat Pier Head ferry terminal in Liverpool.
This year’s winner will be announced on 5 September, having been selected by a panel including critic Jonathan Glancey, and Building Design correspondent Ike Ijeh. Sadly, no actual cup is awarded.