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The winner of the 2016 Carbuncle Cup, awarded to Britain’s worst building as a provocation to debate each year by Building Design, an online British architecture magazine, is Lincoln Plaza in London, a 31-story luxury residential tower complete with business lounge, cinema, spa, hotel and a “fabulous array of lifestyle facilities” by BUJ Architects for Galliard Homes.
This computer-generated, cartoon-style carbuncle — it makes Cesar Pelli’s nearby Canary Wharf Tower look positively prim — is described by BD’s jurors as the “architectural embodiment of sea-sickness.” Its symptoms: a “brain-numbing jumble of discordant shapes, patterns, materials and colours.”
It is difficult to disagree. BD admits that this is hardly the first time it has had London’s new wave of Thames-side towers in its critical sights. While Galliard Homes argues that design is “a matter of personal tastes,” architecture is a public art and buildings like Lincoln Plaza or last year’s Carbuncle Cup winner, 20 Fenchurch Street (the bendy City skyscraper better known as the Walkie Talkie) fly in the face of civic sense and architectural intelligence.
It is as if these buildings are willful provocations, each trying to outdo one another in the bad taste stakes. London and towns and cities in the rest of Britain, the thinking goes, ought to deserve much better than these outsized eyesores. […]