The Carbuncle Cup award was launched in 2006, with the first winner being Drake Circus Shopping Centre in Plymouth by Chapman Taylor. 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. The names of both awards are derived from a comment by Prince Charles, an outspoken critic of modern architecture, who in 1984 described Richard Rogers' proposed extension of London's National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend".
Radisson SAS Waterfront hotel, winner of the 2008 Carbuncle Cup
The 2008 shortlist of seven buildings was announced in early October. Stuart Lowther of EPR Architects said he was "extremely disappointed" at the award for the Radison 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.
Liverpool Ferry Terminal, winner of the 2009 Carbuncle Cup
A longlist of ten buildings was announced in August 2009.Grosvenor Group, the developer of One Park West, organised a "group hug" of the building, following its nomination. 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.
The jury in 2010 comprised Jonathan Glancey, Owen Hatherley, Amanda Baillieu and Ellis Woodman. The shortlist of six was announced in July, and the Strata building was announced as the winner in August. 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."
The shortlist of six was announced in July. 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.