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Wednesday23 July 2014

Carbuncle Cup nomination — Bomber Command memorial, Green Park, London by Liam O'Connor

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Have your say on this year’s shortlist

From the nominator: ”The Bomber Command memorial cries out for its Carbuncle Award. Even if it were a fraction of its (gargantuan) size it would be the wrong design in the wrong place. It’s an insult, to London’s streetscape and to the hapless Royal Park on which it has landed, apparently from another planet. It’s badly articulated, crudely detailed and monstrous in scale. But why and how valid objections were discounted at the planning stage is a matter for deep concern, with ramifications going well beyond a prize for bad architecture.” 

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Readers' comments (22)

  • I see it every day on my way to work... is an anachronic architectural abomination. Civilization has evolved since the greeks...

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  • I agree, Matias. There are some magnificent memorials around the world, to people who have died both heroically and tragically. This is not one of them.

    Even if the resident of Clarence House was too stiff to keep his veto off a modern solution, it would have been better to reflect on what Lutyens would have done, than to pursue this cock-eyed idea of the supposed catharsis of some cod Greek revival.

    Almost anything would have been better than what has been created here.

    Almost. But perhaps it is worth reflecting on the monstrosity that Gehry has cobbled together in Washington DC, as the memorial to Eisenhower.

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  • The words of the nominator are spot on. The perfect irony of such a travesty winning the Carbuncle Cup is almost too good to hope for.

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  • bombastic classicism. a brave nomination.

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  • Sebastian Cuff

    Why didn't Queenie get Francis Terry to do a restrained little monument here?

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  • What a bunch of dopey, liberal sheep. The vast majority of people like classical architecture - suck it up, baa, baa.

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  • I note that Liam O'Connor and others while quick enough to slag off the Bomber Command Memorial can't be bothered to waste one word of appreciation for the dreadful sacrificeof brave young men who volunteered to do their duty for King and country. Whatever the merits or otherwise of this monument, the worst thing about it is that it took nearly 70 years to get it built. That is a far worse insult to those dead airment than the puerile witterings of a predictable bunch of pseuds who can always be relied on to come out of the woodwork on these occasions. Leave it out, why don't you?

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  • Gerald: Liam O'Connor is the DESIGNER of this memorial: I'm sure he will apprciate your thoughs on him.

    What bothers the commentators here isn't whether there should or shouldn't be a memorial, the sacrifice of the pilots or the loss of life on all sides, but the built form of this PARTICULAR memorial in this PARTICULAR location.

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  • gerald – nobody, not a single person, has questioned the sacrifices made by the aircrew themselves. However, several have commented on the strategy and your inability to distinguish between cause and effect robs your post of any credibility.

    The reason the memorial took seventy years to build is not ignorance of the loss of life, but the questionable policy behind it – you overlook that there have been several calls to investigate the wilful bombing of civilian areas in Germany as a war crime.

    Everybody has the right to question the dubious architectural form of the memorial without any hint to disrespect to the dead. Indeed, I – and others – believe that a better memorial would have been more respectful.

    By the way, Liam O’Connor was the architect, not another critic.

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  • Regardless of what you may think about this building, it is a project for which there was an incredibly hard fought and won battle (in much more than one sense!). I find it very arrogant and short-sighted for architects to nominate it for this self-defeating Carbuncle Cup. Remember what this building represents.

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