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'Soulless leisure shed' in Stockport wins Carbuncle Cup
£45m Redrock development voted worst architectural eyesore of past year

Redrock Stockport
Redrock Stockport opened in November last year as part of a wider regeneration project. Photograph: Building Design

A leisure complex in Stockport town centre has been voted Britain’s worst new building after judges scorned it as a “sad metaphor for our failing high streets”.

The warehouse-like buildings of Redrock Stockport beat five other shortlisted candidates to win the Carbuncle Cup, awarded by Building Designto what its readers deem to be the biggest architectural eyesore of the past year.

Judges were left unimpressed by the “awkward form, disjointed massing and superficial decoration”, while readers called it an “absolute monstrosity”.

The £45m development, which opened in November 2017 as part of a wider regeneration project, features a cinema, restaurants and bars and was designed by BDP, the architectural firm formerly known as Building Design Partnership, which is currently working on the £4bn makeover of the Houses of Parliament.

While those in charge of Redrock said it was swiftly becoming a “must-visit leisure destination” – it is understood to be popular with locals – the judges described it as “garish, soulless, leisure shed architecture”.

They said the building, which the local council hoped would inject new life into the area, had in fact “ridiculed” it.

“Urban regeneration can be a good thing. But when it becomes an excuse to foist bad architecture on to struggling communities in the cynical pursuit of an ‘anything is better than what was there before’ methodology, it simply recycles the resentment regeneration was supposed to redress,” the judges said.

The original nominator of the building lambasted it as “one of the most horrendous architectural responses ever conceived for Greater Manchester”.

Other buildings that made the shortlist included an extension of the Shankly hotel in Liverpool, which was judged to be "out of keeping" with the original historic building, and London’s “bland” and “boxy” Lewisham Gateway.


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