'A crass assault on all the senses': This development in London was voted Britain's worst new building

Thomas LaneThe ‘winner’ — Nova Victoria.

LONDON — It is the prize no architect wants.

The annual Carbuncle Cup, awarded to Britain’s worst new building, was announced on Wednesday.

Nova Victoria, a mixed-use development in central London, had the dubious honour of winning the prize this year.

The scheme, which occupies a whole city block in Victoria, consists of two office buildings designed by PLP Architecture and a residential building designed by Benson & Forsyth.

The award, run by architecture site Building Design, was given to PLP Architecture for the two office buildings.

The winner was selected by a panel of judges including Building Design editor Thomas Lane, chair of the Academy of Urbanism David Rudlin, and Catherine Croft, director of the heritage organisation Twentieth Century Society.

Take a look:

According to marketing literature from Nova developer Land Securities: 'Nova North and Nova South are two distinct, architecturally daring buildings within the Nova scheme. Together, they create a new landmark business address in London.'

Thomas Lane

The judges disagreed, describing the scheme as 'a crass assault on all the senses from the moment of leaving Victoria tube station.'

Thomas Lane

Building Design editor Thomas Lane, one of the judges, said: 'The architect appears to have been inspired by the fractured, angular shapes beloved of star-architects like Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind and applied these to a run-of-the-mill spec office development.'

Thomas Lane

Lane continued: 'The result is two large blocks sliced and diced to create to create a series of angular volumes drunkenly leaning on each other. These volumes are clad with a medley of oversized vertical fins that zig zag up the façade to give each elevation a headache-inducing moiré pattern when viewed from the side.'

Thomas Lane

'The architect felt the need to add a series of red prows around the building, presumably to double tick the 'landmark' box,' Lane said.

Thomas Lane
The internal street running between the two Nova buildings.

Other winners of the unwanted architecture prize since it was created in 2006 include: the Walkie Talkie office building in the City of London; a large apartment block incorporating a Tesco's in Woolwich; Liverpool's ferry terminal; student flats in north London; the renovation of the Cutty Sark; and the Strata Tower in south London's Elephant & Castle.

Thomas Lane

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