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Monday28 July 2014

Carbuncle Cup nomination — Firepool Lock housing, Taunton by Andrew Smith Architects

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Have your say on this year’s shortlist

From the nominator: ”Taunton, the county town of Somerset, has a ‘Vision for Taunton’ for high quality, sustainable regeneration. This housing development (apparently in a pile of shipping containers) next to the station, one of the first buildings you see as you come in to the town from Bristol, regrettably appears to be one of the first products of the vision.” 

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Readers' comments (7)

  • I object to your criticism of this pile, with its creative interpretation of the concept of 'proportion' for the windows and its use of mock-concrete vertical grey sections to needle people looking at it. It is a fine example of classic modern design-and-build British / European architecture.

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  • Unfortunately, hideous though this thing is and of a very poor standard of housing design, it's about par for the course in "average UK architecture" at the moment. So not outstandingly carbunclish - just sad and incompetent.

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  • The problem here is that this building can be replicated in any large university town which has recently built student accommodation on campus. They appear without any real attempt to consider context or environment. Still, though they could be from anywhere, one imagines that they reflect current concerns and competences, and thank God they are not 1960's utility.

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  • Mike Duriez

    Good nomination. A classic English Garbuncle.

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  • I think a carbuncle needs to be unusual. This building appears everywhere, it's more like eczema.

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  • Perfectly hideous. Ugly, cheap and probably horrid to live in.

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  • Being a Taunton resident I can only concur with the nomination. This is the first building to go up as part of a regeneration of the old market area and frankly it is disgrace in terms of blandness, non-design and shocking ill regard for the skyline of Taunton. I personally love great, contemporary architecture especially in housing and would love to see some true to design in my humble county town - not an ill-conceived and ugly blot that will stand as a symbol of mediocrity.
    Does a nomination have be unusual - NO - why can we not highlight one example of poor grade design that blight our towns and cities. To me this looks like some buildings in Reading that I have to endure on my journeys to London by train. And now I have to endure this in my own home town. The only way we can stop such terrible erections is to highlight them in this Carbuncle Cup.
    I could highlight the second building in this project - some office buildings that are equally as banal and sub-standard. This nomination is for the exact purpose of ridding us of these buildings where seemingly the architect is either 1) Missing 2) Colour blind and insensitive or 3) Arrogant enough to dash off a low quality design because Taunton is just an insignificant town. Please, don't we all deserve good design.

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