London wins again! Wins the prize for the worst new building in Britain, that is. This bizarre block of student accommodation in Islington has been awarded the Carbuncle Cup for architectural terribleness. Say the judges:
465 Caledonian Road offers deep grounds for offence in its cavalier attitude to an historic asset, but its failings go deeper: although its ultimate client is no less august an institution than University College London, it is a building that the jury struggled to see as fit for human occupation.
The main problem is that they’ve built a bunch of rooms slightly behind a historic facade. But because the floors of the new and former building are different heights, the windows don’t line up. Look at the fail on the left:
That’s a lovely view out onto a brick wall for the students living in those rooms, then.
Even the (approved!) planning application admitted:
[Just under half of rooms have windows below] the good practice guide (1991) level that gives potential for good daylighting. Around 44% of the total bedrooms would suffer from poor outlook and a sense of enclosure due to the proposed layout of the development. Around 18% of the units have inadequate privacy.
But somehow it’s all OK because:
The nature of the accommodation warrants some departure from the amenity standards that would be applied to residential accommodation intended for normal domestic occupation. Relevant factors in this are that individual students would occupy the accommodation for less than a year, and that its main function would be for sleeping due to intensive daytime activities taking place at the University campus.
So basically, students don’t need daylight. Good to know!
It’s not the first time London’s claimed the least-loved prize in architecture. In 2012, the ‘tragically ill-conceived’ Cutty Sark building got the nod of shame:
And in 2010, the ‘uniquely distressing’ Strata Tower in Elephant & Castle was the winner:
Find more Building Bad in our guide to the worst buildings in London.