Carbuncle Cup: Beckley Point, Plymouth by Boyes Rees Architects


Vegas heads to Plymouth by way of New York with a student housing block that has the dubious honour of being the west country’s tallest building

In Las Vegas there is a hotel called New York New York which, in the long-standing Vegas tradition of architectural burlesque, is a fun-size caricature of New York skyscrapers stacked side by side. In Plymouth a new skyscraper has just opened with elevations that look disturbingly similar. The difference is Beckley Point is no joke.

As many of Britain’s worst buildings tend to do these days, Beckley Point houses students. At 23–storeys and 78m high, it’s also the tallest building in the south-west. None of which was enough to compel the design to reach for the excellence one might have hoped for.

The tower features vertical shafts of multi-coloured facades squashed together to form an awkwardly tapering ziggurat. The entrance crudely slapped onto the base is bad but even worse is the pyramidal spire that sprouts from the top like the offending traffic cones inebriated students are so fond of proudly hoisting atop street furniture.

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