"Hideous" redevelopment in Liverpool wins Carbuncle Cup 2024 for UK's worst building

Lime Street redevelopment

The redevelopment of Lime Street in Liverpool by British studio Broadway Malyan has been named the country’s worst new building in this year’s Carbuncle Cup.

Organised by UK magazine The Fence, judges chose the Lime Street redevelopment as the “very worst new building in Britain”, since the competition was last run in 2018.

“From the very first viewing, two of our panel had this as their number one selection, and as the longlist was narrowed to a shortlist, this hideous bit of architectural misadventure continued to stick out,” said The Fence in the award announcement.

Metal-clad development in Liverpool
Broadway Malyan’s Lime Street redevelopment has been named the UK’s worst new building

Completed in 2019, Broadway Malyan’s redevelopment design features etched metal panels spanning one facade of the street leading from Liverpool Lime Street train station.

The etched panels depict the century-old buildings that were demolished to make way for the redevelopment, which now contains a hotel and student accommodation.

Metal-clad development in Liverpool
Metal panels on the exterior illustrate demolished buildings that once stood on the site

“A bunch of developers have been allowed to knock down a happy, eclectic row of buildings – including the much-loved, sorely-missed Futurist cinema – and replaced it with such nothingness,” said Architectural Record contributor and jury chair Tim Abrahams.

“Such banality that their only option is to cover it with a screen, upon which they have drawn portraits of those same old demolished buildings,” he continued. “Greed has rarely looked so greedy.”

Carbuncle Cup 2018 winner

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"Soulless" leisure complex in Stockport wins Carbuncle Cup 2018 for worst UK building

Joining Abrahams on the judging panel was Dezeen deputy editor Cajsa Carlson, architecture curator Vicky Richardson, former Icon editor James McLachlan, Financial Times commissioning editor Lucy Watson, The Fence editor Charlie Baker, and lecturer and Carbuncle Awards co-founder Penny Lewis.

Revived by The Fence for 2024, the Carbuncle Cup aims to identify the UK’s worst buildings. It was run annually between 2006 and 2018 by architecture magazine Building Design (BD).

Lime Street redevelopment
The project won in a jury selection of public-nominated buildings

Alongside the Lime Street redevelopment five other shortlisted projects were shortlisted, including the W Hotel in Edinburgh by Jestico + Whiles, the Virgin Hotel in Glasgow by Twenty First Architects and Royal Liverpool University Hospital by Carillion.

London-based projects on the shortlist included Ilona Rose House by MATT Architecture and Mast Quay II housing by Comer Homes Group, which was ordered for demolition last year.

Lime Street development by Broadway Malyan
The building is in central Liverpool

The judges selected the shortlisted projects from 50 final entries, each chosen for their shortfall in usability and negative impact on the surroundings as well as aesthetic dislike.

“[The] shortlist selection, narrowed from 50 final entries, reflect a range of developments from across the country which, taken as a whole, epitomise Britain’s architectural malaise,” the award announcement stated.

“Entries were assessed not only for their design flaws and lack of utility, but also for their wastefulness in construction, their impact on the urban environment around them – and, of course, their hideousness.”

Previous editions of the Carbuncle Cup saw a leisure complex in Stockport designed by architecture firm BDP named the UK’s worst new building of the year in 2018. In 2017, the prize was awarded to a pair of angular towers in London by UK studio PLP Architecture.

The photography is by Barnabas Calder.

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