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Nova Victoria
Pres Panayotov/

The UK’s ugliest new building is in London (again)

James Manning

Plenty of Londoners can reel off a quick list of the buildings they’d love to see levelled – there’s no end of hideous architecture in this massive city of ours. But the annual Carbuncle Cup is an opportunity for the experts to have their say. Run by Building Design magazine, it’s a yearly list of the ugliest new buildings in the UK – and this year’s winner is in London. Hooray!

Nova Victoria, located just by Victoria station, was described by the judges as ‘a hideous mess’ and ‘one of the worst office developments central London has ever seen’, setting ‘a new benchmark for dystopian dysfunction’. Its fractured bulk, intersected by red triangles, is 18 storeys tall and cost £380m. One judge said, ‘It makes me want to cringe physically. It’s a crass assault on all your senses from the moment you leave the tube station.’ Congratulations to the design firm, PLP Architecture, which is currently at work on 22 Bishopsgate in the City.

The other London buildings on this year’s shortlist were Circus West, the first stage of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, which was called ‘a great case of gross over development’ and ‘disgusting’; and The Park Plaza London Waterloo, which the judges called ‘gaudy and drab’. A dishonourable mention went to Canaletto on City Road, aka ‘London’s Carbuncle Canyon’.

The Carbuncle Cup has now gone to a London building for six years on the trot, with the Walkie Talkie, Lincoln Plaza and Woolwich Central taking the prize recently. No wonder everyone’s moving out.

Now why not soothe your eyes with some actually good architecture? Check out next week’s Open House London or our list of London’s best buildings.

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