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13 November 2014

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You are in: Leeds > Places > Places features > A Bridgewater too far?

Bridgewater Place

Bridgewater Place

A Bridgewater too far?

One of Leeds' modern landmarks has been nominated as an eyesore in a national poll - but is it really 'a monstrous carbuncle', as Prince Charles would say?

Building Design, the architect's weekly journal, has nominated Bridgewater Place in its list of the worst new buildings in the UK for 2008. Knowingly-titled the "Carbuncle Cup", after Prince Charles' famous comment in 1984 about the state of modern architecture, the 'competition' aims to find examples of shoddy buildings and shame their creators into doing better!

The tongue-in-cheek competition was launched in 2006 as a way of provoking debate not just among the architects fraternity but in society as a whole, about what constitutes a good building and whether we should suffer what Building Design terms "buildings so ugly they freeze the heart".


No relation!!??

The less-than-desirable title is seen as an inversion of the Stirling Prize - the annual competition to find the BEST buildings in the UK. Nominations are made by readers and critics alike, concentrating on factors such as the look of the building, its practicality and also its impact on the environment.

The latter factor in relation to Bridgewater Place has already been commented on because of a wind tunnel effect that seems to have been created that just about lifts people off their feet on a blustery day.

While the title may be slightly mocking, it does have a serious tone as well - reminding architects that the character of our cities is in their hands and that responsibility shouldn't be taken lightly.

The credit crunch has put architecture in focus as several big money projects around the country are mothballed due to financial pressures and people can take a step back and look at the new skylines created in the economic boom times over the last few years, and decide whether the look of their city has improved.

Listen as Building Design's deputy editor, Liz Berry tells Andrew & Georgey on the BBC Radio Leeds Breakfast Show about why Bridgewater Place was nominated:

What do you think about Bridgewater Place? A brave new vision of the future or a blight on the landscape? Does it really look like a denuded Dalek? Are there other buildings in Leeds that are more worthy of the ire of Building Design? Drop us a line and let us know...       

...and you can vote in the Carbuncle Cup at the magazine's website:

Your comments:

With regard to Bridgewater Place, I think it's outrageous that it has been put on this list, as it is recognised as one of the most successful modern buildings in the country, and is a striking design and an iconic landmark for Leeds. Any use of the the Dalek nickname is more of an affectionate label as many new buildings are getting in London (eg. the Gherkin, the Walk-Talky tower, the Cheesegrater etc.). I certainly love it.

Rob S, Leeds

With regards to Rob's previous post about Bridgewater Place, I'd like to know at what number flat in the building he lives in? It's an awful building with absolutely no character. It's a monstrosity that spoils the skyline. To add to the already many factors against the building, the lifts don't work when it's a bit windy and it's sinking!

John J, Leeds

You have got it all wrong! Bridgewater Place is not a Dalek clone but clearly based on the Gerry Anderson TV show 'Stingray'. Although the show is best remembered by boys of a certain age for the silent mermaid Marina, rugged Troy Tempest and the immortal phrase '...anything can happen in the next half an hour', it is quiet clear from a quick study of the 60s TV classic that the architects of Bridgewater Place have copied one of the Marineville buildings where the puppets all lived when not on deep-sea patrol.
The only question is - can the 'carbuncle' lower itself into the ground under attack from a national poll (or an attack from the Aquaphibians) as Marineville does, and will Gerry Anderson get any royalties for the initial design?
Perhaps too, like the silent Marina, we are all struck dumb by the sight of the place?

Jonathan Eyre, Leeds

last updated: 08/10/2008 at 15:46
created: 07/10/2008

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