Monday21 August 2017

Strata tower wins 2010 Carbuncle Cup

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BFLS’s Strata tower in Elephant & Castle beats a strong field to win BD’s award for the ugliest new building in Britain.

Rather alarmingly, the Carbuncle Cup has been supported more energetically this year than ever before. Thirty-one buildings were nominated by readers united in their often poetic expressions of outrage.

The mainstream media got on board too. Stephen Bayley made an impassioned plea in The Times for giving the award to Renzo Piano’s Central St Giles while viewers of BBC Northern Ireland were treated to an extended item on the evening news about the extraordinary number of Belfast buildings that had been nominated. Of the Belfast projects only the St Anne’s Square development made the shortlist as much for its calamitous urban impact as for its overscaled and underimagined pastiche classicism. The judges, Christopher Woodward, Owen Hatherley, Amanda Baillieu and Ellis Woodman, deemed the multi-storey car park – complete with storey-high rendered quoins – that the development presents to one of Belfast’s major thoroughfares as particularly heinous.

The Carbuncle Cup, now in its fifth year, is BD's award for the ugliest building in Britain completed in the past 12 months.

The Carbuncle Cup, now in its fifth year, is BD’s award for the ugliest building in Britain completed in the past 12 months.

Newcastle’s Haymarket Hub received multiple nominations last year but was denied a place on the shortlist on the grounds that it was yet to complete. This year the vast, jelly mould-like transport interchange by Reid Jubb Brown finally made it through. It is a building that suggests the altogether unwelcome influence of Foster & Partners’ nearby Sage Gateshead. The judges quaked at the thought that we might be witnessing the birth of a new north-east vernacular.

Make Architects made its second appearance on the shortlist in as many years, this time for the newly completed Cube in Birmingham. Representing what can only be hoped is the ne plus ultra of randomised elevational treatments, this pixellated leviathan was billed by its architect as a jewel evoking Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. However, as the Brum-based reader who nominated it noted: “The result is more along the lines of a lumpy beige ornament your father buys your mother for her birthday because he thinks it’s classy, whereas she can see it for the tat it is.”

The Robert Burns Memorial Centre in Kilmarnock generated the most heated public reaction. Designed by the local authority architects at East Ayrshire Council, this nothing if not utilitarian structure encompasses the rem-ains of a 19th century memorial to Scotland’s national bard that fell victim to an arson attack in 2004. The consensus was that considerable insult had been added to injury, the new work being all but indistinguishable from the bike sheds of a 1980s primary school. However, the judges held firm to the principle that the role of the cup was to recognise those buildings that attain a truly offensive level of ugliness. The Burns Memorial Centre may be very bad indeed, but we all felt it was actually too pathetic to evoke more than a slightly mystified sense of pity.

We were, however, left with two buildings that fitted the bill nicely. The first was the Bézier apartments on London’s Old Street roundabout by TP Bennett. There is a great deal wrong with this building – the clunkiness of its detailing, its assault course-like hard landscaping, its provision of an expanse of balconies on to one of the most heavily trafficked intersections in central London – but the building owes its inclusion on the shortlist to an altogether more fundamental failure, namely its startling resemblance to a gigantic pair of buttocks. In years past the “Bézier Bum” would surely have walked away with the prize. And yet this year’s judges were able to dispense with its claim to the award relatively quickly, presented as they were with a structure on the other side of the Thames that we all agreed was quite simply the ugliest tall building ever constructed in London.

What is it that makes BFLS’s Strata tower in Elephant & Castle so uniquely distressing? Certainly the pungent aroma of boy-musk that hangs over the whole enterprise is a large part of it. Decked out with Philishave stylings, this is a building that appears to be auditioning for a supporting role in a James Bond title sequence. (A Bond title sequence, let us reiterate, in Elephant & Castle.)

Then there is the fact that as the sole tall building in its locale, it is utterly inescapable for miles around. Adam Jones, one of its nominators, bemoaned: “I used to live in south London and moved partly because – and I’m not joking – the Strata tower made me feel ill and I had to see it every day.”

The building’s grim stridency is exacerbated by its sporty livery of alternating black and white stripes, configured, needless to say, in voguish barcode distribution. And to literally cap it all off there are the three gargantuan wind turbines at the top. The architect has trumpeted that these could supply 8% of the building’s energy requirements, which seems nothing much to shout about given the enormous expenditure in carbon that has been required to engineer such a baroque arrangement and the fact that this is a part of London that has absolutely no need for the creation of a 147m-tall tower.

For services to greenwash, urban impropriety and sheer breakfast- extracting ugliness, we hereby award the 2010 Carbuncle Cup to the Strata tower.


Readers' comments (61)

  • Well I suggest Adam Jones walks around London with his head down focussed on pavement so that he doesn't feel too dizzy by looking up.

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  • Having worked at Hamiltons (now BFLS) while this was being designed, I totally agree. It is horrible. Working there was one of the most frustrating 9 months of my life. good riddance.

    Let me suggest that they rearrange their acronym so that the B and S can get more properly acquainted. something like LFBS :-)

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  • I don't know what you are complaining about, it has three blades for a closer shave and comes with a two year guarantee.

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  • zecks_marquise

    I know let's reclad it in portland stone. you guys are all fools

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  • BD would seem to have had a bee in their bonnet about Strata since it was planned, but your write up today plays fast and easy with the facts; let alone the subjective aspects of taste.

    The fact is that it is part of a planned cluster - the miracle is that one developer actually got on and did something while Southwark prevaricated. It's got the 22 floor Draper House next door, Rodgers 40 odd floor '360' will be going up across the road (with a bit of luck) and the 14 floor Hannibal house on the shopping centre was to make way for two similarly lofty buildings. Eileen house, to the north, will also be making its mark, and we're only minutes away from the Shard and Guys. Boris's fiddling with the sight lines might make this stand out more than planned, but you can't blame the architects for that.

    It takes a bit of an imaginative leap to see the building in its future context, rather than the rather grimy present, but that shouldn't be beyond anyone that reads this site. Contextual unsuitability? This is one plot where being in keeping with the immediate surroundings was exactly what not to do, seeing as they are all broadly despised and due to be demolished.

    Ah, but of course, you didn't think to mention any of these aspects in your write up.

    I, and I suspect the other 500 odd residents, would beg to differ that there was no need for the creation of a 147m-tall tower here. We all think it's rather super.

    Oh, and lay-off the elephant; it's awesome. Us new residents are all very excited to be here and join in making it even better.

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  • A worthy winner for sure!

    A shame the little 'pavilion' next door didn't get a mention. Same plan and cladding but just 3 storeys high. Unfortunate that you can see it from EVERYWHERE in London! Totally grim.

    Fingers crossed that the rest of the E+C regeneration isn't as horrific as this.

    Strong contenders all round.

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  • This is by no way the worst of the list.

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  • ....in fact I liked this building so much, I bought the company

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  • 'This is a part of London that has absolutely no need for the creation of a 147m tall tower' - except that its in the centre of Elephant and Castle, one of the largest redevelopments in central London, set to have several more similar height towers in the near future......................has Mr Woodman ever ventured south of borough market? In light of the distant photos of the north elevation only, I fear neither himself or the other judges have...............

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  • What a load of drivel. This development was badly needed in elephant and castle. Anyone who doesn’t agree probably hasn't taken the time to actually visit the area (which is treated so patronisingly in this article it beggars belief). The tower is not an eyesore. It is a beacon of what could be for the area; regeneration and a brighter future for a part of London dominated by housing estates and gray concrete monstrosities. Should we be building more of these? Or of course we could use the reams of free space you must believe exists somewhere in the area to avoid building upward? Short sighted, ill-informed and pretty offensive to E&C residents

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  • Women of the world take over
    Because if you don't the world will come to an end
    And it won't take long

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  • mcdonalds cardiff....

    now you're talking ugly

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  • You think this will regenerate the E+C?

    I think they deserve better - yes I used to live there.

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  • I can't believe that all BD has to talk about is the Carbuncle Cup. If the profession spent as much time being positive rather than back biting and negative then maybe we wouldn't be in such dire straights. Shame on you all........find something else to stick your teeth into.

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  • The finished building looks excellent. Would those judges prefer yet another glass box on the skyline? This cup now seems to be more about their egos than anything else, and publicity for BD in other parts of the media that love to slag off architecture. Forget the actual environmental reasons for the turbines, the crown of this building provides a modern interpretation of London's old domes and spires. Why is something out of a James Bond sequence necessarily a bad thing? It's probably just what E&C needs to kick start it's revival. The tower acts as a sign post to the area now, and a very interesting sign post at that.
    The judges should be ashamed of themselves. This has really annoyed me, especially when there are far more worthy candidates to complain about.

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  • I had hopes for this when seeing it on the drawing board and the renders. This result does not surprise me at all though. As a South London resident this buidling is shocking! Don't think I have ever been so disappointed by a completed building before! Present or future context considered it has just not come off. I've seen some of their other stuff too wait for Colmore Row in Birmingham another monstrosity and fuelled by boy-musk. The writing is on the wall for this lot! Hilarious!

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  • From a non- architectural / design / construction point of view, I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or has your industry really become this artificial world. Strata pushed the boundaries in its own right, for design to grow and blossom these boundaries need to be pushed otherwise every building in London would just be four walls and glass windows. Strata was designed by BFLS, but behind the name is a team of people that put their heart and soul into this building, they have put their time and love into this creation. It is someone’s paper dream built. So for those real architects out there, who have been through this process you must know how it feels. Ugly / Beautiful?…I think its beautiful, because it has been designed and built with care.

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  • Of all the countless horrendous buildings completed in the last year Strata is supposed to be the worst?
    You people are amateurs.

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  • I live in Elephant and Castle (and work in Old Street, incidentally) and this article is patronising beyond belief. The author woolily asserts that"this is a part of London that has absolutely no need for the creation of a 147m-tall tower."

    Have you ever been here?! The Heygate estate has been closed down for demolishing; we're in desperate need of regeneration of our community areas, and it's opposite the frankly depressing E&C shooping centre. Of course, it'd be preferable if Strata was more afforadable social housing but we really need something to draw in attention and investment to our neglected little patch. And it would be in a cluster of skyscrapers rather than looking a little solitary - if Boris hadn't stuck his oar in and stalled development, as has been the tory story in London the past two years.

    Your patronising tone and lack of understanding of Elephant - plus this negativity - does you no favours. Get out of your ivory towers.

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  • worthy winner!

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  • Just remember the people responsible are those who are paying for this, perhaps their names should be stated also, or would this be bad for business. I agree on the negativity aspect but the architect unfortunately is not the only acountable party involved.

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  • I, among others, worked on the renders of this scheme - it was a difficult but fairly enjoyable scheme to work with and it's really very similar to our renders (or should that be the other way around? :) ). I'm not sure what to make of it now it's built. The area is/was a dump so anything fairly decent is welcome in my eyes. I go past it on the train fairly regularly and it undoubtedly catches the eye. I think once the neighbouring schemes have gone up around it it will work in context. as it stands now it's very hard to appreciate properly. the lobby and interior (especially up the top) are fairly amazing by the way. i'd like a chance to see it inside.

    i think people often forget that a building should be judged equally on its interior, perhaps especially so, given how striking the exterior is in this case.

    oh and it should go without saying that there are FAR worse schemes than this this year. not sure how this one made it through really.

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  • This is a architectural nightmare deserves to win the Carbuncle Cup, as with so many of the bad buildings on this years long and short list, they deserve to be shown up for what they are, anacronism's. Well done BD for making this competition happen.

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  • jamesup - ''being in keeping with the immediate surroundings'' and sentivity are two quite different things. There's no such thing as a site without qualities - if an architect makes that conclusion then they're not looking hard enough.

    Strata represents a misconceived capitalist ideal. We don't tolerate ideology in contemporary politics - how can we when everyone has such different needs today - politics today is about negotiation and contingency, Strata's is not an architecture of negotiation and contingency, it simply ignores context. It has no place within contemporary society, in its temporal, political, or urban environment. I don't know where its place is, it could be anywhere.

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  • adam jones - don't mistake the pre-crash neoliberal ideological consensus among leaders of the three main parties with a lack of ideology per se.

    Strata's social context is an acute housing shortage in the South East, and energy/climate crisis more generally. Its very high density development above a tube stop in an area with interesting things near by is entirely appropriate to this context.

    Although I would concede that its lipstick/knuckleduster styling is less appropriate. If you're going to build something that big, you really ought to make it nice.

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  • This has to be the most ridiculous article I have ever read, the 'ugliest tall building ever constructed in London', are you sure, have you ever looked around you? Strata stands proud and boldly proclaims what a great area the E+C is, I recall Simon Hughes MP in an article saying what a great beacon it is for E+C and South London. Let's not forget Strata is in a regeneration area and this is the first building in a massive investment. It's in the most sustainable area possible next to main rail station, tube lines and bus interchange, its 10 minutes walk from central London. Where else could affordable houses be built in central London to allow people to get to work with so little environmental travel damage. And lets not forget a massive proportion of these apartments are affordable. As for the wind turbines, good on the developer for trying, they were conceived at a time when the Merton rule had to be followed and on site renewables had to be provided, not CO2 reductions as now. Providing 8% is a lot better than 0% and I also hear the building is designed to plug into the district energy system, called Musco, has very efficient cladding and superb energy ratings. As for the voguish barcode, how else would highly efficient insulation be provided? This is not an office that can be fully glazed, its a residential building, there has to be an element of solid and void, would uniform punched windows be preferred? It's also naturally ventilated. As for the context, have any of the protagonists been to E+C? How can the author talk about the massive amount of energy that's been expended to produce the turbines, where are his figures and research? Lets not forget that the original Carbuncle by ABK was a far better building than the bland building standing off Trafalgar Sq now. Good on everyone involved with Strata for being unique and trying, what a team effort from architects, planners, developers, builders, engineers etc. I look forward to the Bond Film featuring Strata and Mr Bond, reeking of man musk, scaling the dizzy heights for what must be the best view of London. As for the Carbuncle Cup, where is it? I hope the team involved accepts it in the same way Sandra Bullock accepted her 'Razzie' (for the worst actress) the same year she won an Oscar (for best actress) as usually happens in these instances. She made a mockery of the whole system, lets hope history repeats in architecture as in other arts. Onwards and upwards.....

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  • I deeply resent your characterization of the Strata tower as "Decked out with Philishave stylings". A family member is a key member of the Philips design team, and I would disown him were he to design such a graceless lump.

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  • This building is architecture on acid, it's an eyesore! I agree the article is patronising in some parts but it's basically saying what a lot of people are thinking.

    I live in South London and have done so for a good couple of years now. When I got to work I see that butt ugly building. Sat at my desk I see that butt ugly building. And when I go home...you get my drift.

    I'm all for regeneration and bringing much needed funds into a community (E+C desperately needs it) but to build a pile of and have some people on here sing its praises makes me think they've been smoking too much of the ol' wacky baccie.

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  • It is a gobsmackingly ugly building. And the turbines don't go round.

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  • George Morgan - don't mistake the pre-crash neoliberal ideological consensus among leaders of the three main parties with a lack of ideology per se.

    In the idea of a society of negotiation and contingency I was refering to post-crash politics, apologies for the ambiguity. Pre-crash politics was all about ideology - hence the crash perhaps. My point is that Strata represents that ideology and so has no place in society 'as-is'

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  • I accept your definition of the social context of Strata being housing shortages and more general environmental issues, but it's really pushing it to say that the project engages with that context intelligently

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  • But the only way to have this scheme engage with the context in another way would be to build another awful rectangular block. Then it would surely fit in. This is one of those occasions when anything other than such a block would be an improvement. Just about any building of any height would stand out in that area, since everything surrounding it is so poor aesthetically.

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  • In a way awarding Strata this award is a real shot in a foot. Finally bdonline have finally shown that the award is a total farce. Strata is one of the finest skyscrapers built in europe in the last few years and adds greatly to the London skyline, particularly when viewed south from St Pauls. Even more of a crime is the suggestion that it in some way detracts from the area. It's in Elephant and Castle for Christ sake! It will be part of a much wider development, and if it wern't for the damn site lines in london, there would have been a much larger cluster of skyscrapers in the area. However much like those who chose and run this award, there are people in this country who can't see past their own backward thinking and pompus arrogance, detesting anything that is forward thinking and innovative particularly when it is in their own backyard. If you have a problem with skyscrapers and modern design, then I suggest you go and move out of the city, particularly one as large as London and commute to work so you can't be offended at progress.

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  • It seems a pattern is emerging - most of the comments that claim that Strata to be a good building are based on a questionable aesthetic opinions, and represent the very attitude to London (''It's in Elephant and Castle for Christ sake!'') that has produces such a bad building as the Strata tower. I don't mean bad by personal aesthetic standards, but in its absolute disregard for place and surface engagement with its supposed social and environmental contexts, all of which suffer as a result of a tunnel-vision obsession with plot ratio.

    The typical floor plan of the Strata tower - http://www.archdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/1279904082-typical-floor-plan-528x373.jpg - shows elongated individual flats which appear to have only one window at the end, bathrooms without windows (damp mouldy and claustrophobic even when the ventilation system is working), and some awkward pointy corners that have no justification other than that make an exterior like a vacuum cleaner. It feels like it's been designed by a product designer rather than an architect, and what does that mean? How long is it before a vacuum cleaner looks outdated, is treated badly and breaks, and is thrown away only to be replaced by a new one? Product design in this case is about maximising the intial appeal of a product without regard for its long term use - I would therefore ask those who feel they like the tower, to question whether it's more the designers tricks that attract them and not something more integral.

    The wind turbines do little more for its sustainable credentials other than provide a green-wash icon, producing 8% of the building's power or as the engineers excitedly claimed recently 11% - what about all the extra energy needed to power the air-con for the half of the rooms that don't have windows?

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  • Surely, any building that prompts such debate is a very good thing and something that should be embraced.....the nature of what we do is subjective.......and the only way we can move froward is by talking through such issues........... long may the debate live and as a footnote.....although the eco bling turbines are questionable as an aesthetic they do offer something very different.........

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  • Belfast design - a piece of it landed in Dublin in the nineties.

    As the architect charged with taking a part of this development to site following its purchase by a housing specialist, I was told by the Council planning officer to change the "look" of the permitted elevations.

    He had seen how phase on worked out and had developed an allergy to what he termed "Belfast Industrial".

    This time its belfast Neo-Classical that gets it in the neck.
    Poor Belfast just can't seem to get a look in.

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  • RE the Strata Tower - while the apartments at the "corners" may have more than one aspect, the infills between appear to have neither another aspect nor another level.

    This kind of thinking has been frowned upon in Dublin for several few years now - dual aspect apartments or multi-level apartments were sought to increase internal amenity.

    I agree with the previous poster that the architecture seems to be subject to component design - I vew this as a natural consequence of the improved tools for visualization offices can afford today allied to the lack of archtiectural training in those using them.

    You're getting a play on forms and technology, not a working through of a tested and appropriate concept from plan to section to form, pulling the whole thing together.

    As a result we get sexy sales videos and 3D views, but ultimately less satisfying architecture, divorced from its surroundings, towering, an alien form, anti-social in its relationship with the inhabitants and the cityscape.

    The logical end of the Lloyds experiment in design I suppose.

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  • Adam Jones,

    Of course all good comments regarding Strata are based on aesthetic opinion as it is a very fine building (in my opinion), the pattern stands true for the negativity too. If the building divides opinion fine, then its a matter of personal taste. It just seems those who criticise do so without proper justification, using vulgar language as they can't justify why they think its ugly.

    As a resident, who has been in many apartments there, I can say the apartments are amazingly full of light, all the windows are floor to ceiling and the living spaces open plan. There are stunning views everywhere and it seems to me this is how the apartments have been arranged, for maximum views and light. My 'one window' as you call it is 2.5M high and 4M wide, what a window!

    You are also wrong about the AC, only the top few floors have cooling and it is not full AC but comfort cooling. The remaining apartments are all naturally ventilated, as befits a building with excellent green credentials. This is backed up by an excellent, whole house ventilation system, individually tailored for each apartment with heat exchangers to further reduce CO2 emissions. Its probably the Rolls Royce of venting systems.

    The bathrooms are hardly claustrophobic, they are a lot larger than other apartments I viewed and the quality of the tiles is stunning, in fact they are fully tiled, no opportunity for mould anywhere!

    I suggest you and others get down there and arrange a viewing, how can you be so prejudiced if you have not even been inside!

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  • Norman, thank you for providing an inside view. I agree that finger-pointing is unproductive as subjective opinions will always at odds. Having said that, Strata's award wasn't necessarily given for its aesthetic approach, but for the way it projects that aesthetic to the wider city. Of course these things are subjective, and so it follows that a number of citizens will be offended by a building like this one who's presence can't be ignored, from almost anywhere in central London.

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  • Adam, quite, I'm glad we agree on the finger pointing. I think its very important however that the way the building projects itself to the city has been very well considered. You can view the planning info and design statement on the planning portal (or at least it used to be there) and its staggering the amount of stakeholders involved.

    The building was considered from 50+ LVMF views around London and designed to work aesthetically from each one, Southwark, CABE, the GLA, local interest groups, Other LA's etc all had a hand in the outcome as well as the developer, builder, sub contractors, letting agents, banks, social housing providers, TFL, Railtrack, structural engineer, mechanical engineer, fire engineer, turbine consultants, roof cradle consultants, and of course the banks, financiers and the budget. I'm sure the list goes on. What I'm trying to say is that the architects will have had a whole host of interested parties to consider and integrate and its a miracle the building looks as good as it does.

    I think its a shame that the BD and some readers have jumped to conclusions like this without understanding the process' involved. Every building has a story to tell and its unfair to lash out without proper understanding, more empathy between architects and other designers should be exercised. The process today is far more complex than it used to be. When I look at a building I try to understand 'why' what were the reasons for a particular detail or feature, what made the architect choose that route, even in aesthetically challenged buildings, a process and reason can be deciphered.

    Everything has a reason and purpose, I think its time to stop this Carbuncle nonsense and concentrate on the positive and not the negative!

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  • The prize has certainly generated a good healthy debate, for which congratulations. There's no doubt some of the judging commentary come across as gratuitously vindictive, not exactly a nuanced analysis! Let's be honest it's hard to debate something as subjective as "whether a building is ugly or not" , which probably explains the heated comments on both sides. For my part I think this building has/had a lot of potential. Comments about location, size, shape and so on are missing the point - it could have been an elegant addition, but sadly the cladding spoils this tower. The use of black and the pointless randomness - in my subjective opinion they don't work.

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  • ...reminds me of the splendid Tour Montparnasse - is that good?

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  • JA I'm inclined to agree that the question of whether a building is ugly or not cannot be given a conclusive answer, only more or less considered opinions for which a plethora of conflicting reasons will be given.

    But perhaps that is only true if the modern definition of beauty, as a superficial aesthetic determined by subjective opinion, is used. Before the industrial revolution architecture was considered beautiful, at one level, not if it conformed to a pre-conceived notion of what the building as an object should look like, but if it added richness to the experience of the city and improved the public realm (I hope somebody more informed can correct or add to that).

    To conclude the response to this year's Carbuncle Cup in some way, perhaps it would work better if the award had been given to the building which, at all scales, caused most damage to the public realm. My vote would still be with Strata.

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  • Adam,

    Before the industrial revolution we had plenty of space, we could all live in cites if we wanted too (even though they were not very pleasant then). Strata cannot be compared with long ago, it's concieved in a different age. We have to go tall near city centres to be green and reduce travel based CO2, the only building for that site must have been a tall one. So once again its a question of aesthetics.

    I must however disagree with Strata damaging the public realm. Please do go and look at the public realm around Strata. The context of E+C is Draper House, Hannibal House, the old Castle House Strata replaced etc. The context and public realm is vastly improved with Strata.

    What seems to offend people, for some reason, is the views from afar, but as I said earlier these were all considered and its a question of personal taste.

    What I will say is to agree with JA that the judges have been gratuitously vindictive. Strata was proposed by the Georgian Group, quite why I don't know, there is no Georgian context? The 4 self proclaimed judges Christopher Woodward, Owen Hatherley, Amanda Baillieu and Ellis Woodman then seemed to undertaken a personal vendetta against Strata. So what we have is a small group of reporters angling for a sensational story, backed up by little substance. It all seems very personal and one sided.

    Well they havent changed my view, I guess yours was established long ago, vareity is the spice of life...!

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  • Kate Moss (you wish),

    Why do you and others continue this attack on architects, you name several practices and blame them for slapping up their cheap buildings! Since when has an architect determined the budget?

    This is becoming a stupid argument. Architects do the best they can with the budget, site, planning restrictions, building regulations etc. Imagine how much worse buildings would be without architects.

    Lets please all stop the attack on architects who are all trying as hard as the can to make things better. Designing and completing large projects is a huge, complex undertaking involving many stake holders. Stop blaming the one group of people who are trying to fix the problems and improve things.

    BD and all the moaners out there should join forces with architects and concentrate their efforts on developers, banks, planners, local groups etc. and educate them in good design.

    This backstabbing is doing nothing to advance good architecture!

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  • Wow! what a weak and feeble profession we are!

    A stupid dialogue to say the least - Architects could have it so easy if we just learnt that architecture is our profession and every architect forms part it. We should should look after our people and protect them and not act like vultures when attacked!!!!!! Its a joke and after reading the above I am sorry to call myself an architect!

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  • Simon  Quinlank

    I'm sorry if I've offended any architects, I didn't realise that they're exempt from criticism. The carbuncle cup is for the building so as Norman infers we're all responsible and so all winners in the end.

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  • I was so excited by the news that I wrote a brief but controversial essay about the Philishave (sorry Strata), I called it: The ugliest in UK or so much for “green” design. http://archialternative.com/
    The taboo for criticizing sustainable architecture for it's ugliness is finally broken. “The Emperor is naked.” Nice.

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  • While this debate might expose some awkward truths about the state of British architecture, I am happy to be a practicing architect in a country where such a wide range of approaches are accomodated within its building culture. In a sense its a democratic culture, where no stance is suppressed.

    What is highly undemocratic about the project in question however is the relentless way it imposes its stance on an unsuspecting public.

    The wiff of the dictator also presents itself in the way the individual lives of its occupants are made invisible, and subsumed within an all encompassing whole by the vertical stripes and crown of redundent turbines, making an image that is more familiar to product design than to an architecture genuinely concerned for the city.

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  • I think it is a good thing to promote good architecture as well as bad architecture it shows that architects care. Being self critical shows that architects are not just self interested and may help clients put more time/money into the visual impact of buildings.
    Don’t take the competition to seriously, I know one or two of the general public which think it is interesting and it will hopefully look better when the rest of the buildings around it go up.

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