London’s Nova Victoria has won Building Design Magazine’s 2017 Carbuncle Cup, a highly dubious honour that marks the development out as the UK’s ugliest building.
During their adjudication he judges described Nova Victoria, a mixed-purpose development made up of two office blocks and a residential building, as “crass”, “over-scaled” and “a hideous mess” before giving the award to PLP Architecture, the team who designed the office blocks.
If the ignominy of the award wasn’t enough judge Catherine Croft, a director of the Twentieth Century Society, closed by saying:
"It makes me want to cringe physically. It’s a crass assault on all your senses from the moment you leave the Tube station.
One of the key points that influenced the judges’ decision was the inclusion of a spire in the design and the vain attempts to in work over the top and totally unnecessary elements as Building Design’s editor Thomas Lane explains:
“The architect appears to have been inspired by the fractured, angular shapes beloved of ‘stararchitects’ like Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind and applied these to a run-of-the-mill spec office development.”
Mr Lane’s fellow judge David Rudlin, chair of the Academy of Urbanism, agreed:
“It’s got the same proportions as Salisbury Cathedral. For me the spire gives it carbuncular status – otherwise it’s just a bad building,”
The other buildings shortlisted for the 2017 Carbuncle Cup shortlist were:
Preston Railway Station Butler Street Entrance by AHR
Greetham Street Student Halls, Portsmouth by Cooley Architects
8 Somers Road, Malvern, Worcestshire by Vivid Architects
Circus West, Battersea Power Station, London by Simpson Haugh
Park Plaza London Waterloo by ESA Architecture
Somewhat worryingly for a city so obsessed with its architecture and progression, London is developing a strong track record in the Carbuncle Cup. As you can see from the list above two more London buildings made the 2017 list but when you add that to the fact Nova Victoria is London’s sixth winner in not many more years - closely following the Walkie Talkie building’s win in 2015 - it appears an embarrassing London property precedent is being set.