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Stockport complex wins Carbuncle Cup 2018 for worst building

Words: Huw Morris

A leisure complex and car park in Stockport is this year’s winner of the Carbuncle Cup, which recognises architectural and design horrors.

Redrock Stockport is a £45 million town centre regeneration scheme comprising a cinema, shops, restaurants, gym and multistorey car park. The shed-like structure was designed by architects BDP.

The judges described the building as a "sad metaphor for our failing high streets”, a “missed opportunity” that made them “feel sorry for the people of Stockport”.

The award is the brainchild of architectural magazine Building Design. Readers’ comments on the building included “I’ve seen better looking prisons” and “wrong in everything that is important and to a degree that makes one wonder what were the designers and planners who worked on this abomination thinking”.

The judges said: ““Urban regeneration can be a good thing. But when it becomes an excuse to foist bad architecture on to struggling communities in the cynical pursuit of an ‘anything is better than what was there before’ methodology, it simply recycles the resentment regeneration was supposed to redress.

“The fact that there are multiple examples of this kind of garish, soulless leisure shed architecture in UK towns doesn’t let Redrock off the hook: it puts more of those responsible for our built environment in the dock.”

The prize takes its name from a controversial speech by Prince Charles at the Royal Institute of British Architects, in which he defined a proposed extension of London's National Gallery as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”. Previous “winners” have included 20 Fenchurch Street – better known as the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ – which won in 2015.

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