Carbuncle Cup citation: One Hyde Park by Rogers Stirk Harbour

One Hyde Park, London. Archtiect: Rogers Stirk Harbour

“What is shocking is that, after five years in the making and a £500 million construction cost, it is quite so bad.”

The full citation:

It’s no surprise that Knightsbridge has sprouted this glistening silo of sheikhs. Another towering monument to Gulf investment in London, it would always have been a mean-minded gated enclave for the super-rich,
 
What is shocking is that, after five years in the making and a £500 million construction cost, it is quite so bad.
 
Towering above the trees like a fleet of power yachts moored ostentatiously on the shore of the park, its stacked racks of clunky bolt-on balconies could have been lifted from one of the “aspirational” canal-side developments that line the waterways of Leeds or Liverpool – only vastly blown up in scale.
 
Withdrawn behind defensive barriers on both sides, the building’s northern face rises out of a dingy recessed basement level, where lower duplexes open out on to a sunken patio – effectively a dry moat. Above, inaccessible granite plinths look on to fenced “visual amenity” gardens, with the barren feel of a corporate plaza.
 
Along Knightsbridge, severed from the street by 30mm-thick laminated glass screens, a series of similarly sterile gardens allow you to sit between the Rolex and McLaren shops and watch passers-by – safely protected from the dangers of Kensington’s streets by the thick glass shield.
 
These desolate spaces are sealed on both sides by tall steel bars – only they don’t quite fit, so the gaps have been plugged with some rather more flimsy wire, continuing the chosen vernacular of the clumsy volume house-builder.

Meanwhile the apartments themselves boast “the best views in London,” only these views are effectively blocked by a series of vast cor-ten blinkers – designed to stop your neighbour from eyeing up your manta-ray wallpaper.



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