Carbuncle Cup

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Drake Circus Shopping Centre, winner of the inaugural award in 2006

The Carbuncle Cup is an architecture prize, given annually by the magazine Building Design to "the ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last 12 months".[1] It is intended to be a humorous response to the prestigious Stirling Prize,[2] given by the Royal Institute of British Architects.[3]

The Carbuncle Cup award was launched in 2006, with the first winner being Drake Circus Shopping Centre in Plymouth by Chapman Taylor.[4] A shortlist is announced by Building Design each year, based on nominations from the public, and usually timed to coincide with the Stirling Prize shortlist. Public voting via the magazine's website was used to select past winners, giving the award a sense of democratic involvement. Since 2009 a small group of critics has selected the final winners.

The award was inspired by the Carbuncle Awards, which the Scottish architecture magazine Urban Realm, formerly Prospect, had been presenting to buildings and areas in Scotland since 2000.[5]

The names of both awards are derived from a comment by Charles, Prince of Wales, an outspoken critic of modern architecture, who in 1984 described Ahrends, Burton and Koralek's proposed extension of London's National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend".[6][7]

Annual shortlists[edit]


The first shortlist was announced in October 2006, and featured ten buildings.[8]

Building Location Architect
BBC Radio Merseyside Liverpool Page & Park
Drake Circus Shopping Centre Plymouth Chapman Taylor
Ibis Hotel Harbourside, Bristol FaulknerBrowns Architects
Lough Road Housing Holloway, London CZWG
Moor House office development City of London Foster & Partners
Nexus One Swiss Cottage, London S&P Architects
Serpentine Pavilion Hyde Park, London Rem Koolhaas
St George Wharf Lambeth, London Broadway Malyan
St George's Island Castlefield, Manchester John McAslan/Dandara
University College Hospital Bloomsbury, London Llewlyn Davies


Opal Court (centre), winner of the 2007 Carbuncle Cup

Seven buildings were shortlisted in 2007. Opal Court, a student housing complex in Leicester, was voted the winner in October.[9]

Building Location Architect
Holiday Inn Westhill, Aberdeenshire Peter Redhead Architects
KX200 Pentonville Road, London Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
More London South Bank, London Foster & Partners
Opal Court Leicester Stephen George & Partners
Orion Building Birmingham BBLB Architects with John Rocha
Skydec apartments Wandsworth, London Edward Potter Associates
Treasure House Beverley, East Yorkshire East Riding Council and Atkins


Radisson SAS Waterfront hotel, winner of the 2008 Carbuncle Cup

The 2008 shortlist of seven buildings was announced in early October.[2] Stuart Lowther of EPR Architects said he was "extremely disappointed" at the award for the Radisson SAS Waterfront Hotel being given to his firm, as the project was inherited from another architect and EPR had not designed the building's exterior.[10]

Building Location Architect
Aqua housing Poole, Dorset BCA Architects
B-Central apartments Bournemouth Trinity Architecture
Blue Fin building Bankside, London Allies and Morrison
Bridgewater Place Leeds Aedas
Broadgate Tower Bishopsgate, London Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Radisson SAS Waterfront hotel Saint Helier, Jersey EPR Architects
Walton Street car park Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire Bourne Parking


Liverpool Ferry Terminal, winner of the 2009 Carbuncle Cup

A longlist of ten buildings was announced in August 2009.[11] Grosvenor Group, the developer of One Park West, organised a "group hug" of the building, following its nomination.[12] The prize, judged by critics Owen Hatherley and Ellis Woodman, and architect Sean Griffith, was awarded to Liverpool Ferry Terminal, with the University of Nottingham Amenity building and Queen Margaret University placed second and third.[13]

Building Location Architect
Amenities Building and International House University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus MAKE Architects
Hotel Missoni Edinburgh Allan Murray Architects
Liverpool Ferry Terminal Liverpool Hamilton Architects
One Park West Liverpool One Pelli Clarke Pelli
Poundbury Fire Station Poundbury, Dorset Carden Croft
Queen Margaret University Musselburgh, East Lothian Dyer Associates
Theatre Severn Shrewsbury Austin Smith Lord
Union Plaza Aberdeen Halliday Fraser Munro
Westfield Shopping Centre Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield Group
Woodlands Manor Belfast Coogan & Co.


Strata SE1, winner of the 2010 Carbuncle Cup

The jury in 2010 comprised Jonathan Glancey, Owen Hatherley, Amanda Baillieu and Ellis Woodman. The shortlist of six was announced in July,[1] and the Strata building was announced as the winner in August.[14] The article described the tower as: "Decked out with Philishave stylings, this is a building that appears to be auditioning for a supporting role in a James Bond title sequence."[14]

Building Location Architect
Bézier Apartments Old Street, London T. P. Bennett
Burns Monument Centre Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire East Ayrshire Council
Haymarket Hub Newcastle Reid Jubb Brown
St Anne's Square Belfast WDR & RT Taggart
Strata SE1 Elephant & Castle, London BFLS
The Cube Birmingham MAKE Architects


MediaCityUK, winner of the 2011 Carbuncle Cup

The shortlist of six was announced in July.[15] In August, a jury consisting of national newspaper architecture critics: Rowan Moore of the Observer, Hugh Pearman of the Sunday Times and the Guardian’s Jonathan Glancey voted MediaCityUK the 2011 winner.[16]

Building Location Architect
Ebenezer Chapel and Housing Development Brighton Molyneux Architects
MediaCityUK Salford Fairhurst, Chapman Taylor and Wilkinson Eyre
Museum of Liverpool Liverpool 3XN/AEW Architects
Newport Station Newport, Wales Grimshaw Architects and Atkins
One Hyde Park Knightsbridge, London Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Phoenix High School Shepherd's Bush, London Bond Bryan


The Cutty Sark renovation, winner of the 2012 Carbuncle Cup

The shortlist of six was announced in July,[17] In August, a jury including Owen Hatherley, Gillian Darley and Ellis Woodman voted Cutty Sark Renovation the 2012 winner.[18]

Building Location Architect
ArcelorMittal Orbit Olympic Park, London Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond
Cutty Sark Renovation Greenwich, London Grimshaw Architects
Firepool Lock Housing Taunton, Somerset Andrew Smith Architects
Mann Island Buildings Liverpool Broadway Malyan
Shard End Library Birmingham IDP Partnership
Titanic Belfast Museum Belfast Todd Architects and Civic Arts


Castle Mill was one of six buildings nominated for the 2013 award

The shortlist of six was announced in August 2013.[19] The winner was announced later that same month as 465 Caledonian Road, student accommodation in London.[20]

Building Location Architect
465 Caledonian Road University College London Stephen George & Partners
Avant Garde, 34-42 Bethnal Green Road Bethnal Green, London Stock Woolstencroft
Castle Mill housing Port Meadow, Oxford Frankham Consultancy Group
Porth Eirias Watersports Centre Colwyn Bay, Wales K2 Architects
Premier Inn (formerly General Lying-In Hospital) Lambeth, London Hamiltons
Redcar Beacon ('The Vertical Pier') Redcar, North Yorkshire Seven Architecture and Smeeden Foreman


Woolwich Central, winner of the 2014 Carbuncle Cup

The shortlist of six was announced in August 2014.[21] The winner was announced in September 2014 as Woolwich Central, a Sheppard Robson-designed mixed-use scheme in south east London.[22]

Building Location Architect
Chancellor’s Building University of Bath Stride Treglown
QN7 flats Holloway, London CZWG
Trinity Square Gateshead 3DReid
Unite Stratford City Stratford, London BDP
Vauxhall Tower Vauxhall, London Broadway Malyan
Woolwich Central Woolwich, London Sheppard Robson


20 Fenchurch Street, winner of the 2015 Carbuncle Cup

The shortlist of six was announced in August 2015, selected by a panel of judges including Building Design editor Thomas Lane, architectural critic Ike Ijeh, writer, broadcaster and historian Gillian Darley and architectural designer Eleanor Jolliffe, both columnists for the magazine.[23] The winner was announced in September 2015 as 20 Fenchurch Street, designed by Rafael Viñoly.[24]

Building Location Architect
20 Fenchurch Street ('The Walkie-Talkie') City of London Rafael Viñoly
City Gateway Swaythling, Southampton Fluid Design
Parliament House Lambeth, London Keith Williams Architects
Waltham Forest YMCA building Waltham Forest, London Robert Kilgour Architects
Whittle Building Peterhouse, University of Cambridge John Simpson Architects
Woodward Hall Imperial College London, North Acton, London careyjones chapmantolcher (CJCT)


The nomination process for 2016 will run until the end of August when the shortlist will be announced. The winner will be declared in early September.[25]

Nominated buildings will be listed below and the table subsequently refined.

Building Location Architect
5 Broadgate Broadgate, City of London MAKE Architects
Camellia House & Blashill Court Poplar, London AHR
Francis Crick Institute Camden, London HOK with PLP Architecture
Lincoln Plaza Isle of Dogs, London BUJ Architects
One Smithfield Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire RHWL
Poole Methodist Church extension Poole, Dorset Intelligent Design Centre
Saffron Square Croydon, London Rolfe Judd
The Diamond University of Sheffield Twelve Architects
The Fusion Building Bournemouth University BDP
The Tower Southwark, London Squire and Partners


  1. ^ a b Watson, Anna (22 July 2010). "Six in race for Carbuncle Cup". Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  2. ^ a b "Who will get the wooden spoon in BD's Carbuncle Cup this year?". 3 October 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  3. ^ "RIBA Stirling Prize". RIBA. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  4. ^ Dyckhoff, Tom (January 10, 2007). "The malling of our cities". The Times. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  5. ^ Urban Realm. "The Carbuncle Awards 2005". Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Gala Evening at Hampton Court Palace". Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  8. ^ "Bottom of the barrel - Carbuncles 2006". 13 October 2006. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  9. ^ "Scars, blots and eyesores". 5 October 2007. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  10. ^ "Are these the UK's worst buildings ever?". 20 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-24. 
  11. ^ "Carbuncle Cup 2009 longlist unveiled". 5 August 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  12. ^ Watson, Anna (19 August 2009). "Cesar Pelli's One Park West building fights Carbuncle Cup nomination". Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  13. ^ Baillieu, Amanda (28 August 2009). "Liverpool Ferry Terminal wins Carbuncle Cup 2009". Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  14. ^ a b Woodman, Ellis (13 August 2010). "Strata tower wins 2010 Carbuncle Cup". Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  15. ^ Wainwright, Oliver (22 July 2011). "Bloated icons and dreary sheds go head to head in the race for the Carbuncle Cup". Building Design. 
  16. ^ Woodman, Ellis (1 September 2011). "MediaCityUK wins 2011 Carbuncle Cup". Building Design. 
  17. ^ Woodman, Ellis (22 July 2012). "Carbuncle Cup 2012: the shortlist". Building Design. 
  18. ^ Woodman, Ellis (13 September 2012). "Cutty Sark Renovation". Building Design. 
  19. ^ "Carbuncle Cup 2013 shortlist revealed". 19 August 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  20. ^ "Carbuncle Cup winner 2013: A triumph for the dark side". 29 August 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  21. ^ "Carbuncle Cup 2014 shortlist announced". 28 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  22. ^ "Carbuncle Cup 2014 winner announced". 3 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 
  23. ^ "Carbuncle Cup 2015 shortlist unveiled". Retrieved 2015-08-28. 
  24. ^ "London's Walkie Talkie judged UK's worst building". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-09-02. 
  25. ^ "Carbuncle Cup 2016: Call for nominations". Retrieved 2016-06-22.