University College London’s brand new £18 million student halls have been named the “worst building in Britain” by an architecture magazine, who compared its “bizarre” design to that of a prison.
Despite student rental costs of up to £730 a month, students, locals residents industry experts have already branded recently built New Hall on Caledonian Road in Islington as “bizarre”, “crazy” and “a mess”, adding that they “struggled to see it as remotely fit for human occupation”.
Now Building Design magazine has waded into the debate, comparing the property to nearby Pentonville Prison and crowning it the Worst Building in Britain at their less-than-coveted Carbuncle Cup award ceremony.
Judges said the buildings’ three-to-six bedroom flats “lacked adequate daylight” and “offered little privacy to the postgraduate students who will be moving in in September.
Ellis Woodman, Building Design executive editor and Carbuncle Cup juror, said: “There is no small irony in the fact that the building stands on the same street as HMP Pentonville.
He added: “As the first intake of students move into their dark and far from private rooms next month, they might be forgiven for wondering why the prisoners have been provided with the better view.”
University College London students have also criticised the accommodation, with 23-year-old Classics postgraduate Karl Chan saying: “I didn’t think accommodation on offer would be like that.
He added: “I haven’t heard of anything that bad until now. I feel pretty bad for whoever is going to be living there. It makes me glad I went private”.
Helmi Shareidin, a 27-year-old Mechanical Engineering postgraduate, said: “If I ended up in that accommodation I would move out. Sometimes you don’t see the accommodation before you move in so it looks like people there will get a nasty shock.
“It’s a bit awful really to see that students could live in such a place that’s likened to a prison. For that money I would expect better. I wouldn’t want to live there.”
Once an historic red brick warehouse, all but demolished except for the remaining protected facade, Islington Council refused planning permission but it was approved on appeal by the planning inspectorate. Students are set to move in in September.