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Carbuncle Cup 2015 Winner Announced – and It Isn’t Pretty!

The City of London's contentious 'Walkie Talkie' building has been announced as the winner of the 2015 Carbuncle Cup.

It pipped five other shortlisted buildings to the post to take the unenviable title of the worst building in the UK.

The winner was chosen by a panel of judges that include Thomas Lane, BD editor, BD columnists Gillian Darley and Eleanor Jolliffe, and architectural critic Ike Ijeh. Feedback from readers were also taken into account while judging each entry.

This truly carbuncular design by Rafael Vinoly received the most nominations for this year’s award. It also attracted the most online vitriol, with one person declaring that they wanted to live long enough to see it demolished. Another commenter called the Walkie Talkie a “ghastly eyesore” and the strongest contender for the Carbuncle Cup 2015.

It came ahead of staunch competition, such as:

Woodward Hall, North Acton

This design appalled local resident Jonathan Notley so much that he stood for Parliament on a platform calling for the total ban of ‘inappropriate development’. Woodward Hall, which was designed by Careyjones Chapmantolcher, was described by nominators as a disaster. Mr Notley went so far as to suggest that the architect should be ordered to ‘do time’ in one of the tiny apartments intended for students.

Whittle Building, University of Cambridge

This structure, conceived and designed by John Simpson Architects, forms the fourth side of Gisborne Court. It makes an attempt to blend into the gothic revival style maintained by the court, but lacks the rich stylistic touches evident on the neighbouring buildings. The result is an awkward interpretation of gothic architecture that looks abysmally modern and out of place among its peers.


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Waltham Forest YMCA Building, London

Although the purpose of this building is to house an organisation that works with homeless youth, it looks more like a detention centre than a symbol of hope. Designed by Robert Kilgour Architects, the poor architecture is further heightened by the presence of an elegant villa next door, which is also used by the YMCA.

City Gateway, Southampton

This singular-looking structure, which goes by the unflattering nickname of the ‘fag butt’, is an unappealing and contradictory mix of colours, shapes, and volumes, none of which complement each other. Other shortcomings of this building created by Fluid Design include putting the tower tightly against the neighbouring building, giving the student occupants an unappealing view of a blank wall.

Parliament House, Lambeth, London

This late entry for the award made it speedily into the shortlist, and it’s not difficult to see why. One of the judges dismissed it as haphazard in design, a poor fit for its location, and an extremely gauche attempt at exterior variety. The consensus among both judges and local residents is that if Parliament House represents the latest breed of tall buildings in London, it’s time to move.


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