"Oppressive" Woolwich Central development wins Carbuncle Cup 2014
News: a mixed-use development in south-east London has been branded as the UK's worst building of the year.
Woolwich Central, a 17-storey development containing 189 flats above a Tesco supermarket, has been awarded this year's Carbuncle Cup prize by architecture website Building Design for being the worst building completed in the UK in the last 12 months.
Designed by London firm Sheppard Robson, the complex is made up of six interconnected blocks, featuring a multi-coloured facade of grey, yellow and green striped panels.
Owen Luder, a former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects and one of the award's three judges, described the building as "oppressive in terms of shape, size and colour and a negative contribution to the overall environment of the area".
Fellow judge Hank Dittmar cited the building as a prime example of "overdevelopment", in a run-down part of London in need of regeneration.
"If there is one common theme this year, it is that of overdevelopment, and Woolwich Central is a prime example of too much for the site, for the area and for the eye," said Dittmar, urbanist and advisor to the Prince's Trust – the charity run by the Prince of Wales.
"The architect has a lot to answer for but so do developers who overbuild and local authorities who grant permission."
Alex Grant, the chair of the planning committee that granted planning permission to the building, has also spoken out via a blog post entitled "And who is to blame for this carbuncle? Er, me actually..."
"No matter how you dress it up, Woolwich Central is a huge two-storey car park with a supermarket above and some flats on top: a type of development completely alien to London town centres like Woolwich and one which struggles to integrate well," he said.
"Woolwich Central is at best a red herring and at worst an obstacle on Woolwich’s road to recovery. It may not be a carbuncle but it is a flawed project and I regret my role as its midwife."
The development was one of six buildings nominated for the Carbuncle Cup 2014, including a shopping centre that replaced an iconic Brutalist car park and a controversial tower beside the River Thames.
Past recipients of the award include a student housing block inserted behind an old warehouse facade and a steel and glass cocoon containing the historic Cutty Sark tea clipper.