While the handing out of major architecture awards may have taken a bit of a break for the summer (starting up again on October 1st when the Stirling winner is announced), you can always look forward to one of our annual favorites, which doubles as architect’s least: the Carbuncle Cup for worst new buildings in the UK. Hosted by Building Design and judged this year by architecture critics Rowan Moore of the Observer, Hugh Pearman of the Sunday Times and the Guardian’s Jonathan Glancey, it’s a smarmy, often very funny pick of the worst of the worst. This year’s unfortunate finalists included such architectural luminaries as Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, Molyneux Architects, and a pairing between 3XN and AEW. The winner, however, was ITV‘s and the BBC‘s new £600 million home, MediaCityUK, by architects Wilkinson Eyre, Chapman Taylor and Fairhursts. The Carbuncle crew concedes that it was a great idea, creating a hugh new development that included housing, a university and school, a hotel, and everything in between, in a relatively undeveloped area along a shipping canal. Unfortunately, the judges believe that the whole thing lost its way early on and became the “worst of the worst” winner once it was finished. Here’s a bit:
What we are presented with instead is a crazed accumulation of development, in which every aimlessly gesticulating building sports at least three different cladding treatments. The overriding sense is one of extreme anxiety on the part of the architects — an unholy alliance of Wilkinson Eyre, Chapman Taylor and Fairhursts — about the development’s isolation, 20 minutes’ tram ride from the centre of Manchester. The incessant visual excitement reads as a desperate attempt to compensate for an underlying lack of urban vitality.