The Lincoln Plaza housing tower in east London beat off competition from five other buildings to win the Carbuncle Cup 2016 prize for the worst new building in the UK. One of Europe's most controversial architecture prizes, the Carbuncle Cup names the architects behind badly designed buildings, and is intended as a counterbalance to the prestigious Stirling Prize, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects to honour outstanding building design.
Architecture website BD named the Lincoln Plaza housing tower designed by BUJ Architects as the winner of the Carbuncle Cup 2016. Though the developer Galliard intended the building - featuring geometric cladding, projecting glass balconies and a so-called sky lounge - as a striking new landmark to stand alongside the towers of Canary Wharf, the residential complex was described by architect, critic and competition judge Ike Ijeh as a "putrid pugilistic horror show that should never have been built".
The BD editorial also quoted him as saying, "In its bilious cladding, chaotic form, adhesive balconies and frenzied facades, it exhibits the absolute worst in shambolic architectural design and cheap visual gimmickry.
"Essentially, this building is the architectural embodiment of sea sickness, waves of nausea frozen in sheaths of glass and coloured aluminium that, when stared at for too long, summon queasiness, discomfort and if you’re really unlucky, a reappearance of lunch as inevitably as puddles after a rainstorm."
Buildings also considered for the top prize included the Make-designed Broadgate redevelopment, the engineering faculty building for Sheffield University and an extension to Poole Methodist Church.
The Carbuncle Cup 2016 shortlist was prepared by the jury based on public nominations; the judging panel included BD editor Thomas Lane, architect and BD columnist Ben Flatman, and Julian Robinson, director of estates for the London School of Economics and commissioner of the Stirling Prize-shortlisted Saw Swee Hock Student Centre by O'Donnell & Tuomey.
Ijeh observes that the Carbuncle prize is a forthright call to arms against bad architecture and bad planning. He believes an irreverent competition such as the Carbuncle Cup has done more for the cause of good design and liveable cities by bringing the subject of bad design to light and encouraging public debate.
The 2015 Carbuncle Cup was won by Rafael Viñoly's Walkie Talkie skyscraper in London, which was described as "a gratuitous glass gargoyle graffitied onto the skyline of London". Past winners have included "prison-like" student housing in London and Grimshaw's glass and steel case for the historic Cutty Sark tea clipper.
Image: The Lincoln Plaza housing tower by BUJ Architects has been named the worst new building in the UK. Photograph by Ike Ijeh