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Tuesday29 July 2014

Carbuncle Cup 2012: the shortlist

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After months of public nominations, these six are one step closer to winning architecture’s wooden spoon…

The Carbuncle Cup was launched seven years ago at the height of a building boom, but with much less being built today one might imagine that nominations would be a great deal thinner on the ground. 

And yet, once again, BD readers have unearthed evidence from all across the country of quite how bad the very worst of British architecture can be. 

Fronting the ever-popular failed icon category we have Kapoor & Balmond’s Orbit, nominated not only for its unique ugliness but for the mockery it makes of London 2012’s claims to sustainability. 

Joining it are two buildings that plumb new depths of inanity in their literal architectural expression. Belfast’s Titanic museum has been designed to resemble the collision of a ship and an iceberg. Shard End Library is a library with a shard sticking out its end. 

Our list also boasts two wrist-slashingly awful housing schemes: the dismally proportioned, thinly detailed and grimly utilitarian Firepool Lock in Taunton and the Mann Island development in Liverpool, a scheme that completes the desecration of that city’s once great waterfront. 

Rounding out our list of horrors we have the new visitor facilities at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, a scheme that obscures one of the jewels of British maritime heritage behind an ineptly detailed greenhouse.

Bad as each of our shortlistees may be, our jury including BD columnists Owen Hatherley and Gillian Darley and executive editor, Ellis Woodman will work tirelessly over the next month in assessing their relative awfulness with a view to announcing an ultimate winner on August 24.

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Readers' comments (18)

  • Mann Island.... How did Liverpool go so kamikaze??? Baffled.

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  • kamiichi

    How about a list of all nominated buildings before BD uses their magic selection powder.

    Surely BD needs independent judges to choose the shortlist.

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  • Hi Kamiichi,
    You can view the full list of nominations at http://www.bdonline.co.uk/buildings/carbuncle-cup/
    Anna Winston,
    Online editor

  • Good jury !

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  • 'Assessing their relative awfulness'?
    Does this mean the jury will actually be offering a detailed critique of each project for debate?
    Or is this purely a subjective exercise?

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  • Members of the jury will be visiting each nominated building as they do every year. We generally don't publish an in-depth critique of each building as I'm not sure many people would want to read all six.
    Anna Winston,
    Online editor

  • zecks_marquise

    like any great british underdog, the more i look at orbit, the more i like it.

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  • Ah, but it needs a ride-on element to make use of those superfluous red tendrils.
    What happened to Alton Towers' 'Corkscrew' after it was dismantled? Would be in the spirit of 'Best of British'/recycling.

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  • the orbit looks like 'the Kraken attacks the works canteen'

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  • Sebastian Cuff

    I have been in deep meditation over which monstrosity is the most carbuncular. I must say I find the orbit more ravishingly splendid with time. Damned fine carbuncle, what-ho!

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  • "Our list also boasts two wrist-slashingly awful housing schemes..."

    "Wrist-slashingly"? Obviously, whoever wrote this post hasn't suffered the suicide of a close family member, friend or spouse.

    At least 140,000 people in England and Wales alone attempt suicide every year. Remember that, before using suicide methods in a badly failed attempt at humour in future. It could, at some point in the future, be your parent, spouse, colleague, friend or even child.

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  • I am greatly disappointed that there are no Gold buildings on the short list.

    Surely the Carbuncular nature of all gold buildings should be acknowledged!

    - or am I pre-empting a the announcement of a separate "Carbuncle Gold Cup" award?

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