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28 October 2014

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You are in: Leicester > Features > Life > Bricks and Slaughter

Opal Court in Leicester

Bricks and Slaughter

A University of Leicester building has just been awarded the Carbuncle Cup for the worst new building in the UK. But are there any other buildings that deserve similar obloquy? We nominate a couple. Listen here!

It's official! Leicester is now home to Britain's worst new building.

Opal Court on Lancaster Road Street has won the 2007 Carbuncle Cup for being the worst construction in the UK as awarded by Building Design magazine.

"The colours are a grim, post-modern throwback, and in scale, language, materials, form and design, it’s a lesson in how to ignore context."

Liz Palmer, Voted for Opal Court

Listen: Our Ugliest Buildings

BBC Leicester's Hasan Patel took to the streets of Leicesteshire to find out exactly what YOU thought about some of the buildings...

A local website for university students makes much of Opal Court's position and facilities.

"Opal Court," it says, "is well placed on the doorstep of the main campus of Leicester University and within walking distance of Leicester city centre.

On-site facilities include a launderette, a Subway and Sky TV in the common room."

But it is the appearance of the building that has earned the ire of Building Design magazine's readers.

Opal Court in Leicester

Winner of the Carbuncle Cup 2007

Insensitive Development

It was the runaway leader in their online poll.

"It’s not the brashest, the biggest or even the ugliest building on this year’s shortlist, but it’s a textbook example of the insensitive development being allowed to creep across the country," opines the magazine.

"Where to start?" asks voter Liz Palmer in her critique.

"The tiny, token butterfly roof on the top of each core is pathetic, the colours are a grim, post-modern throwback, and in scale, language, materials, form and design, it’s a lesson in how to ignore context."

Mindless Monocultural Lumps

"It may be unfair to single it out as there are lots of Opal Courts all over the country, and it's a sad reflection on the planning system, and the lamentable standards it allows, that our towns and cities continue to be wrecked by such mindless, monocultural lumps," writes Amanda Baillieu in the magazine.

But does this building  have any rivals in the city and county?

At least two other constructions spring to mind.

Loughborough Wharf

Some like it others loathe it!


The Loughborough Wharf has come in for some stick locally.

This was built by British Waterways, in partnership with local company William Davis, around the wharf in Loughborough.

The development includes a restructured canal basin, new moorings as well as two new restaurants and 35 apartments.

The controversial £14 million project with its bright red and green colours, has been described as looking like it's made out of Lego blocks.

Local people have been split over the new development, with many arguing that the development ruins the traditional character of the area.

Charnwood Borough Council has defended the development of the Wharf saying it is a distinctive piece of modern architecture.

St. Georges Tower Leiceter

The widely loathed St. George's Tower

Widely Loathed

The widely loathed St. George's Tower in the city is undergoing an £18m revamp.

The former BT Tower is being converted into a "prestigious" (are there ever revamps which are not prestigious?) mixed-use scheme. We are told that this will bring both employment opportunities and city living apartments to the city.

Certainly, giving the massive block a covering of blue paint has got it talked about. But whether it made looking at the building any more of an aesthetic experience is open to question.

As a prime example of 1960s architecture it has its defenders.

For most, St. George's Tower is yet another architectural carbuncle.

last updated: 15/10/07

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