Carbuncle Cup 2017

nova2Nova Victoria in London was the unlucky crown bearer this year, described as “a crass assault on all the senses from the moment of leaving Victoria tube station”. The mixed-use development scheme houses two office buildings and a residential building within an entire city block in Victoria. Nova developer Land Securities called the development “architecturally daring”, but could this be the very aspect that landed them the title that keeps all architects’ awake at night?

Building Design editor and one of the judges of the Carbuncle Cup, Thomas Lane said “the architect appears to have been inspired by the fractured, angular shapes beloved of star-architects like Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind and applied these to a run-of-the-mill spec office development. The result is two large blocks sliced and diced to create a series of angular volumes drunkenly leaning on each other. These volumes are clad with a medley of oversized vertical fins that zig zag up the façade to give each elevation a headache-inducing moiré pattern when viewed from the side.”

Architecture’s wooden spoon and the counterpart to the Royal Institute of British Architects “Stirling Prize”, the Carbuncle Cup, is intended to be a humorous award, voted for by public nomination – but will the prospect of finding yourself nominated for this national award hinder the future of architectural innovation?

‘Architectural beauty is undoubtedly in the eye of the beholder and for each lover of a building there will be a detractor. The question is; is there enough which is undeniably bad about a building for it to be a worthy Carbuncle Cup’ winner. Clearly, the judges, thought that Nova was such a thing’. What do you think?’