Docklands' Lincoln Plaza luxury flats win Carbuncle Cup

Image source, Ike Ijeh

A 31-storey luxury residential tower block in London's Docklands called "jarring, unsettling and shambolic" by critics has won the 2016 Carbuncle Cup.

The award handed out by Building Design magazine for a development judged to be the UK's worst designed was given to Lincoln Plaza near Canary Wharf.

The building was a "brain-numbing jumble of discordant shapes, patterns, materials and colours", it said.

A Poole church extension and Sheffield University block made the shortlist.

Last year's Carbuncle Cup went to the City of London skyscraper nicknamed the Walkie Talkie.

Building Design established the award in 2006 as a "light-hearted way of drawing attention to a serious problem - bad architecture blighting the country's towns and cities".

Nominations for the Carbuncle Cup come from readers of the magazine and a shortlist is drawn up by a jury.

'Swathe of mediocrity'

Lincoln Plaza was designed by London-based BUJ Architects for Galliard Homes and features two residential towers, a hotel and a standalone drum-shaped building.

Remaining three-bedroom flats in the building are on sale at £795,000, but Building Design editor Thomas Lane described it as "the worst building amongst a swathe of mediocrity" in the South Quay area of the Docklands.

"There is a pressing need for more homes in London and further afield. Lincoln Plaza is the type of project that gives high-rise housing a bad name, making it more difficult to persuade communities to accept new housing," the jury added.

Galliard Homes said its "scheme sold out to buyers, so clearly the project is liked by the purchasers".

The developers added: "Architectural design is art, and like all art, a matter of personal tastes. Each project the company delivers is bespoke and distinctive and the company has built a strong reputation for rapidly selling out."

Image source, Building Design
Image caption,
Poole Methodist Church extension was likened to an "unimaginative grey box"

The other buildings on the Carbuncle Cup shortlist were:

  • Saffron Square, a residential development in Croydon, south London
  • The Diamond, an engineering block at the University of Sheffield
  • One Smithfield, Stoke-on-Trent Council's new offices
  • Poole Methodist Church extension
  • 5 Broadgate, Swiss bank UBS's HQ in the City of London

Building Design said Saffron Square has been described as having a "car crash of a facade".

The Diamond at Sheffield University, said the jury, had an "unsettling similarity to a hydroelectric plant, while Stoke-on-Trent's Council offices were likened to an "aesthetic mutation between the nostalgic 1980s brain games of Connect 4 and Blockbusters".

The Poole Methodist Church extension was compared to an "unimaginative grey box". Building Design said it "may be small, but the sheer scale of its deficiencies reverberate far and wide across the grim spectrum of planning failure and architectural blight".

5 Broadgate attracted the most comments from the magazine's readers during the nomination process, being likened to a "mute steel fortress" and "a flak tower that gives nothing back to the city".

Image source, Thomas Lane
Image caption,
The Saffron Square development in Croydon has "a car crash of a facade", the magazine's readers said
Image source, Thomas Lane
Image caption,
The nomination for UBS's new HQ said it was "a flak tower that gives nothing back to the city"

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