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Is this really the UK’s ugliest building?

26 September 2011 No Comment

When architects drew the design for the BBC’s new flagship £600m MediaCityUK development in Salford, there was one thing that probably wasn’t in the plans. And that’s the title of ‘the Ugliest new Building in Britain.’

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One design award which no one ever wants to win

MediaCityUK is the winner of Building Design magazine’s Carbuncle Cup 2011 – the one design award which no one ever wants to win. And it wasn’t just the magazine’s judging panel of architecture critics who don’t like the complex. This year’s shortlist was drawn from suggestions by members of the public.

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Other unfortunate finalists for the award included the new Museum of Liverpool (seriously!?!) and the prestigious One Hyde Park in London, home to world’s most expensive apartment – yours for a meagre £100m.

So why is MediaCityUK so offensive to the eye? It’s surrounded by the Lowry arts centre and Imperial War Museum North, two notable – and clearly visually acceptable – features of Manchester’s skyline.

“How uncreative can a ‘Creative Quarter’ be?

The issue lies not necessarily with the way it looks – described as a ‘crazed accumulation of development’ by the judging panel – but what it was designed for.

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MediaCityUK is set to be home to some of the brightest and best in TV today – not just the regional hub for the BBC but next year Granada and the new Coronation Street set, along with rising stars of tomorrow from Salford University’s media studies course.

These people are part of the driving force behind our daily entertainment, and their creativity is the heart and soul of MediaCityUK.

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The fact that the architecture then doesn’t reflect this creativity is largely why, as far as many are concerned, it has won the Carbuncle Cup. As was remarked during judging:

“How uncreative can a ‘Creative Quarter’ be?

And which truly creative person would ever want to work in such a place?”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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So next time you’re in Manchester and you find yourself on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, it may be wise to avert your gaze. Or perhaps, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

If you think there was a worthier winner of the Carbuncle Cup, let us know. Which do you think is the ugliest new building in Britain?

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