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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the annual process of selecting a bad building at bdonline has started and a few nominations are in - shockingly I can't say they're that bad, in fact a few of them I really like.

So this thread has a dual purpose: to discuss this, and also to see if we can send in anything better (or rather worse) to the competition.

Coverage is here: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/buildings/carbuncle-cup/

You can see a lot by making a free login. Alternative copy and paste the headlines into google and click through, this usually removes the paywall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Only thing I can think of so far is Altitude Aldgate

Or --- if it can count --- the reclad of Guy's hospital tower
 

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Very surprising to see St Georges Wharf Tower nominated. It's quite a nice building and thankfully won't stand a chance of winning. I get the feeling that tall buildings just get nominated by default, simply by virtue of their height.

Triton Place on the other hand is awful. Any architect who uses grey/ brown cladding deserves all the hate from the community.
 

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my worthless opinions, based on a very lazy/casual google image search:

doncaster cast - don't like the random cladding on the 'insert' bit but i like the overall massing and the rest of it. would take a cynical guess this is nominated because it is somewhat modern looking and that is bad

triton building - the colour is very oppressive but I actually really like the weave effect. if a building could be fixed with a lick of paint i dont think it can be prize-winningly bad architecture personally

woolwich central - horrible random cladding, in an oppressive colour, on oppressive massing... yup seems a reasonable nomination

st george tower - I'm not a huge fan but mostly because I think the tall cylinder shape needs to be right amongst non-cylindrical buildings of similar height to work, not on its own (as it is now) or on the edge of the group (as it will be). but considering its design individually i can't fathom what is sufficiently terrible about it to warrant nomination, except what Core Rising said. (the prawns next to it, on the other hand, should really be winning this every year til the end of time)

as usual I've seen so many worse buildings than these, but needless to say i cant think of any to nominate now I have the chance
 

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In the interest of disclosure I'm going to have to admit to liking previous carbuncle cup nomination the Strata in Elephant. There's a million worse buildings than that but I'm guessing 'crap semi at the back of a cul-de-sac' is not on anyone's radar. I've not seen the woolwich tesco in the flesh but in photos it looks great. And with a type of building that is always utter shit it's a bit offkey picking one of the few that makes an effort.
 

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I think the Triton building and St George's Tower are both worthy contenders. They may not be the worst buildings in the world, but for 2014 they simply don't pass muster.

 

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BD always seems to want to be as controversial as possible as it’s the only time they are guaranteed to make headlines in the national press. They never focus on the hundreds and hundreds of badly built and poor quality small and medium sized projects that ruin streetscapes. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone nominates the Shard.It really is quite tabloid in some respects ( you only have to look at the almost 100% sneery comments to every article). About the only thing that has deserved a nomination was the nasty student block in Cambridge that really did look shockingly bad and ruin an unblemished view.

Is the St Georges Tower really that bad? Personally I never really been much of a fan but its shape is inoffensive and is rather slender and the cladding is fine and actually looks quite good lit up at dusk. It will also be surrounded by around a dozen towers so it’s not out of context. Does it ruin any views, especially from the bridges? No. The cluster will eventually draw the eye across to the southern bank and be a nice contrast with the seat of government on the North Bank so does it deserve the title of worst new building of the last year?
 

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The Shard was nominated last year. You can bet that Leadenhall and 20 Fenchurch Street will be nominated next year simply because they have an agenda to push.
 

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I've always thought the main and most logical reason they select tall and well-known buildings is that these sorts of buildings have the highest impact on any given city. The flaws of St George's Tower, however small they might be, are magnified dramatically because of they are constantly in the public eye.

I'm sure being controversial and getting attention is a factor, but actually I've always found BD's appraisals of architecture to be fairly closely aligned with my own, and moreover I think they're a fairly accurate snapshot of the architectural community's view.

@Core Rising: I'm not sure about any "anti-height" agenda. As far as I'm aware BD has been an advocate of high-density urban planning, and has celebrated skyscrapers like 122 Leadenhall.
 

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Since it was Charles who used or popularized 'carbuncle' in relation to architecture (re a competition process he helped to sway, National Gallery 1984). I despise the term.
 

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@Core Rising: I'm not sure about any "anti-height" agenda. As far as I'm aware BD has been an advocate of high-density urban planning, and has celebrated skyscrapers like 122 Leadenhall.
Well the skyline campaign is being run by BD, which places so much emphasis on how horrid it is that so many tall buildings are planned in London. They try and hide this by stating that the campaign is about quality rather than quantity, but the underlying current is just the anti-brigade deriding all towers in favour of 6-10 story blocks. BD even managed to misquote Will Self on the St George's tower article, saying that he hated it, when he was really talking about the St Georges Wharf development next door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Stratford Unite building has been nominated. I expect it will win of the ones on there so far, although I've grown to like it personally.
 

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Unite and Woolwich are both sooooo appalling, it's difficult to place money on the winner.

I put up a commenting defending St George's Tower. I don't particularly like it, but it really doesn't have the pure offensiveness to justify it as a winner.

Doesn't it mean it won't win of course. The BD's agenda is often more about having a political pop than anything else.
 

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St Georges for me it looks like an incinerator chimney, its just entirely wrong and so out of place.. Having said that sitting next to St Georges wharf isn't easy..
 

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Seems fine from those angles. A decent colour (no drab greys thank god), decent sized windows, the cyclindrical shapes are fine, the double height window 'frames' at the top with the lack of balconies give it a decent impression of height but not being top heavy, and it manages to still carry the curve of the street off well.
 

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Yeah it looks fine to me too. If I were going to try and slate it I might suggest the windows/balconies look a bit unfinished... but judging by the cranes and hoardings etc in the photos I think that may be because they are...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To me it just looks cheaply clad - some of the windows have grey plastic panels instead of glass, the blue colour makes it look like a PFI hospital, etc.

I do like the shape though, in brick or timber or some other cladding it could have been good.
 

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We have a (probable) winner.

Carbuncle Cup: Unite Stratford City by BDP

East London student housing is the competition’s sixth nomination

From the nominator, local resident and urban planner Elizabeth Reynolds: “A blight from near and afar, I would like to nominate the Unite student housing project by BDP at 1 International Way, Stratford.

“The building is an intimidating scale, with confusing combination of colours and angles, as if some kind of Stalinist ski slope. I appreciate that the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park area will continue to be developed with tall buildings but I somehow doubt it will ever seem contextually appropriate to its environment -even the adjoining Westfield shopping centre somehow manages an elegance and discretion that belies its own significant scale. From the revitalised Leyton High Street; to the almost wild landscape of the north park; or from the quietly creative Hackney Wick, the Unite/BDP building is an unwanted addition to each vista.

“Yes, there are other examples of poor design elsewhere in Stratford and this might not be the last Carbuncle nominee within the Olympic Park environs but the LLDC seem to be trying to set higher design standards for future developments. Although BDP have delivered some great projects, this is not one of them. By nominating the Unite building for the Carbuncle Cup, hopefully we can raise expectations for how buildings engage with their communities in the long term.

“Awaiting the backlash, but thoroughly sick of the sight of this building, I therefore nominate it for the Carbuncle Cup 2014.”





http://www.bdonline.co.uk/carbuncle-cup-unite-stratford-city-by-bdp/5069328.article
 
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