On the same weekend that the Stirling prize shortlist was announced, the nominations for this year’s Carbuncle Cup were also revealed, with the Olympic Park’s ArcelorMittal Orbit tower and the restored Cutty Sark among the final six.
The Razzie to the Stirling’s Oscar, the Carbuncle Cup seeks to highlight “quite how bad the very worst of British architecture can be.” Organised by Building Design magazine, and named in honour of known architectural dilettante Prince Charles (who in 1982 referred to a proposed extension to the National Gallery as “a monstrous carbuncle on the face of an old friend”), nominations for the Cup are submitted by members of the public before being whittled down to a shortlist of the bad and banal.
The inclusion of the two high profile yet controversial London projects is not surprising. The ArcelorMittal Orbit tower has divided opinion since it was first proposed two years ago, while the new enclosure housing Cutty Sark has provoked furious reaction amongst conservationists and locals, particularly Andrew Gilligan, who derided the restoration as a a piece of “heartbreaking vandalism”.
Only one London building has won the Carbuncle in its eight-year history — the Strata tower at Elephant & Castle in 2010 — but with such a high-profile and conspicuous candidate in the Orbit, we think our city might claim this dubious prize for a second time when the winner is announced on 24 August.