Architects from ‘Building Design’ magazine have condemned the Amenities Building on Jubilee Campus as one of the worst architectural designs in the country. The criticism came as a result of the ‘Carbuncle Cup’, a competition designed to find “buildings so drab, hostile, or puffed up with their own self-importance they made you queasy, angry and depressed.”
Out of a shortlist of three, the Amenities Building – designed by Make Architects – was level pegging with Liverpool’s Ferry Terminal. “Both buildings are appalling” was the initial verdict, with the ‘victory’ going to the Ferry Terminal for the impact it has on the world heritage site it was constructed on.
The judges did save a special mention for the Jubilee Campus entry, however. They stated that the technicolour buildings were “in thrall to some horribly misconceived idea of the avant–garde”, although they did feel that “Make has actually pursued its bad ideas rather more energetically than (Ferry Terminal designers) Hamilton Architects, which is a recommendation of sorts.”
While the building was described as ‘hostile, arbitrary and ugly’ by a reader, the judges also reserved some ire for Jubilee’s Aspire sculpture, a unique freestanding structure dubbed “the giant wank” by some students due to its phallic connotations. The judges argued that it was conspicuous only by its “insufferably punning name implying Blairite vacuity”.
On the subject of Amenities, Judge Ellis Woodman said “The principle of building pink triangular elevations is fundamentally ill-advised.”
The buildings – which cost £22.5m to construct – were finalists in the Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award for 2009, and were described as “A series of bravura buildings (giving) the university campus a fresh identity.”