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Wednesday23 July 2014

Stephen Bayley backs BD's Carbuncle Cup in attack on bad modern architecture

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Stephen Bayley has announced his support for BD’s Carbuncle Cup in a scathing attack on “bad buildings”, including Renzo Piano’s Central St Giles.

Writing in the Times on Saturday, Bayley said that the award, run annually by BD, “attracts a far higher level of intelligent participation than the Stirling prize”.

Bayley singled out Piano’s “galumphing, overbearing” Central St Giles project in central London for special vitriol, putting it forward as his nomination for this year’s Carbuncle Cup.

“Building Design has instituted the Carbuncle Cup… timed to coincide with the Stirling Prize, the architecture profession’s back-slapping love-in,” said Bayley.

“For too long criticism of modern architecture has been the responsibility of archaic, rubicund, meathead bigots who wear Pugin altar cloth waistcoats and detest anything new.

“But the absolute insistency of developers in F****ing up the city means that people who believe in modern architecture and enjoy advanced technology can join the clique and speak out against ugly and insulting new buildings.”

Bayley also poured scorn on Jean Nouvel’s One New Change scheme, also in London (“as feeble in concept as it is gross in size”); Zaha Hadid’s Maxxi in Rome (“a ludicrous vanity”); and had criticism for Norman Foster and Richard Rogers.

Calling for a “Campaign for Real Architecture” Bayley said: “The popular concern about what is and is not ugly reveals a deep unease about the evolution of cities.”

“The horrible advance of bad buildings should be a daily news item, but there is an omerta among architectural writers, many of whom suffer – or perhaps enjoy – conflicts of interest.”

“Equally few architects speak out against the developers and their financiers whose interest in architecture is as promiscuous as their greed is rapacious.”

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Readers' comments (5)

  • zecks_marquise

    Since when did anyone other than a numpty read the times? And who owns the times? You've guessed it, murdoch. Talk about the megalomanic calling the architects arrogant

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  • A serious nominee for the prize must be Liverpool's new Museum of Liverpool, situated alongside The Three Graces, and with no sense of relationship to them or having any serious understanding of scale, materials or form in its own concept and design. This is a supreme example of an attempt to make an 'iconic' statement 'on the run' which not only fails drastically itself but , together with the adjoining black glass blocks, ruins the grandure and spendour of the World Heritage site by completely blocking it from view. Why .Oh! Why??

    Robert Donald

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  • The Liverpool Museum is not yet completed, is it? Therefore, as with the Haymarket Hub last year, not eligible for 2010?

    Of course Liverpool World Heritage Site is a far larger area than just around the 'Three Graces'.

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  • Carbuncles are in the eye of the beholder - noting the reference to Liverpool's new Museum, I recall a couple of years ago the completion of what most people think as the worst-looking edifice ever constructed in Liverpool - the Unity Building, aka the Microwave - and the RIBA gave it a bloody design award !!!!!!!

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  • who is Stephen Bayley ?

    ever built anything?

    doubt it....

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