Carbuncle Cup 2014: London's Woolwich Central named worst new building of the year

Four entries from the capital as well as others from Bath and Gateshead were nominated for the unwanted prize

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 04 September 2014 13:50
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A supermarket complex in London has been awarded the Carbuncle Cup 2014 – an unwelcome accolade given to the UK’s worst new building.

Pulling no punches with their verdict, the judges described Woolwich Central in south east London as “oppressive, defensive, arrogant and inept”.

The building was chosen from a shortlist of six properties voted for by readers of Building Design magazine.

Describing the 17-storey build as “lumpen”, judges complained that it towered over its low-rise neighbours, and managed to make its immediate neighbour, Greenwich council’s large town hall and former Carbuncle Cup nominee, a “pimple on the face of a morbidly obese bully.”

“But the building's worst crime is it diminishes the efforts of those who have worked hard to regenerate this run-down, deprived part of London. Our judges had nothing good to say about the building,” the panel said.

Greenwich Council's former head of planning Alex Grant, who gave the scheme the green light in 2007, told the magazine: ”It may not be a carbuncle but it is a flawed project and I regret my role as its midwife.“

Sheppard Robson, the architecture firm behind the project, told BBC News it had aimed to create a "cohesive piece of strong architecture that this vast space and establish a desirable place to live."

"We visited the development recently and the comments received were very positive, with many residents enjoying their apartments as well as the large garden spaces at the heart of the development," the firm added.

As well as four other buildings in the capital, structures in Bath and Gateshead also found themselves in the shortlist.

Runner up in the competition was the 50-storey high Broadway Malyan's Vauxhall Tower in London, which is the centrepiece of the capital's St George's Wharf development.

The judging panel included Owen Luder, former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and Prince Charles's architectural adviser, Hank Dittmar.

Building Design said one of the most-nominated buildings this year was the Walkie Talkie in the City of London, but as work on it is not complete it cannot be considered until next year.

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