Lincoln Plaza was announced as the winner on Wednesday, having been chosen from a shortlist of six. The prize is awarded yearly by the magazine Building Design to the ugliest building completed in the last 12 months. The winner is selected by a small panel of judges from a shortlist compiled on the basis of reader nominations.
Three of the six shortlisted buildings can be found in London — the first year since 2013 that London has taken less than four of the spots. Each of the finalists was selected for displaying ‘contextual incongruity, myopic cladding, woeful detailing, mind-numbing mediocrity, clumsy massing, incoherent form and of course poor planning’.
Found in South Quay near Canary Wharf, Lincoln Plaza consists of two 31-storey buildings housing luxury apartments, with remaining three-beds starting at £795,000. It scooped the prize thanks to its ‘discordant appearance, a hideous melange of materials, forms and colours’.
Thomas Lane, editor of Building Design, described the building as ‘an eyeball scorching, brain numbing jumble of discordant shapes, patterns, materials and colours’, adding that ‘quite why the architects felt it necessary to cram so many elevational treatments onto one building’ was beyond him.
The Carbuncle Cup began as a light-hearted response to the Stirling Prize, the prestigious architectural honour awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects, taking its name from a comment made by Prince Charles, who once described a proposed extension to the National Gallery as ‘a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend’.
However, the award also has a serious function and, in the case of London apartment complexes like Lincoln Plaza, Building Design point to their potential to dissuade communities from accepting much-needed high-rise housing. ‘This is the worst building amongst a swathe of mediocre development,’ Lane said of the winning entry. ‘South Quay is rapidly turning into London’s Carbuncle Cluster.’