An architectural competition with a difference – The Carbuncle Cup



How uplifting recently to read about the losers and the losers in the Building Design Magazine Carbuncle Cup – there can be no winners in a competition whose very purpose is to bring to the attention of the public the worst buildings of the year. You might be tempted to think that a competition founded on just how bad a building might be would fail to engage but thinly veiled contempt can be equally as enthralling as gushing admiration.


Romping home in first place was Lincoln Plaza in Docklands, described as “yet another shameful indictment of bad planning as well as bad architecture”. Of an extension to Poole Methodist Church, a nominee said; “The building screams of the same bland, belligerent mediocrity that is the insidious moniker of ostensibly polite and ubiquitous background architecture everywhere and of new offices, One Smithfield, in Stoke on Trent… An aesthetic mutation between the nostalgic 1980s brain games of Connect 4 and Blockbusters might not seem like a natural breeding ground for architectural malevolence but this building proves what happens when colour goes rogue.’’


The judging panel, responding to a wave of public nominations, apparently see the awards as a counter to much heralded Stirling Prize, and clearly delight in what they see as architectural faux pas. No building is safe from the threat of the Carbuncle Cup it seems.