Is Woolwich Tesco the worst new building in Britain? Woolwich Central project is Carbuncle Cup 'winner'

Is Woolwich Tesco the worst new building in Britain?

Vauxhall Tower was also nominated

The Trinity Square Tesco in Gateshead was nominated

Unite Stratford City

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

Is Woolwich Tesco the worst new building in Britain? Judges of a prize for the country's worst architecture seem to think so.

The Woolwich Central project designed by architect Sheppard Robson was likened to a "1948 Berlin blockade" as it received this year's Carbuncle Cup - a prize for 2014's worst building run by magazine Building Design.

News Shopper:

Unite Stratford City was also nominated

Described by the judges as "oppressive, defensive, arrogant and inept", the supermarket topped with flats and lined with "diabolical cladding" which looms over General Gordon Square was even recently slammed by a former councillor who gave it permission when he chaired Greenwich Council's planning board.

Alex Grant wrote on his blog: "No matter how you dress it up, Woolwich Central is a huge two-storey car park with a supermarket above and some flats on top: a type of development completely alien to London town centres like Woolwich and one which struggles to integrate well. 

"Woolwich Central is at best a red herring and at worst an obstacle on Woolwich’s road to recovery. It may not be a carbuncle but it is a flawed project and I regret my role as its midwife."

News Shopper:

Another Tesco in Gateshead was also nominated

And the Carbuncle Cup citation went even further with its criticism, saying: "Woolwich might have thought that its days as a military outpost were over. Wrong. Somehow what looks like the world's largest shooting range gained planning permission right in the middle of the town centre, presumably after masquerading as housing above a Tesco supermarket.

"Camouflage comes in the way of some truly diabolical cladding and a massing strategy that seems to have been directly inspired by the 1948 Berlin blockade; we can only hope that residential leases come with free airlift."

News Shopper:

Vauxhall Tower

Woolwich saw off competition from five projects, including another Tesco development in Gateshead built on a car park where Michael Caine classic Get Garter was filmed.

Other buildings which missed out were the 50-storey Vauxhall Tower block of riverside flats and a student accommodation block near the Olympic Park in Stratford

This is the second time a Greenwich development has won the dreaded prize - back in 2012, the new look Cutty Sark got the cup, with judges saying it "tragically defiled the very thing it sets out to save".

However, the story was rather different earlier this year when the Woolwich transformation was judged best town centre project at the London Planning Awards.

A spokesman for Tesco subsidiary Spenhill, which developed Woolwich Central, said: "We worked and consulted with local communities at Woolwich and Trinity Square and both developments have had a positive effect. 

"We've created more than 1,000 jobs and built much needed homes in an area of London untouched by investment for many years, while three million people have visited Trinity Square in its first year."

Comments (7)

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1:59pm Wed 3 Sep 14

ChrisCool says...

The Tesco building is an ugly building which id destroying Woolwich's town centre.

It should never have been approved.
The Tesco building is an ugly building which id destroying Woolwich's town centre. It should never have been approved. ChrisCool
  • Score: 7

3:07pm Wed 3 Sep 14

jezzie says...

I am a local resident, and have been for 30 years but I was never consulted - I do not know anyone who was consulted!
I am a local resident, and have been for 30 years but I was never consulted - I do not know anyone who was consulted! jezzie
  • Score: 11

5:35pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Womblingbarnacle says...

Poor old Woolwich - another load of terrible publicity thanks to a terrible design from tesco, and a council that doesn't seem to know what is is doing much of the time. They oversaw a rapid decline and made it worse, then mess up its regeneration.
Poor old Woolwich - another load of terrible publicity thanks to a terrible design from tesco, and a council that doesn't seem to know what is is doing much of the time. They oversaw a rapid decline and made it worse, then mess up its regeneration. Womblingbarnacle
  • Score: 9

8:56am Thu 4 Sep 14

zampa says...

Sorry Newsshopper, I have checked everywhere and I didn't find a film by Michael Caine called Get Garter! Tesco and others will always build eyesores as long as they say to the council "We will build flats as well" so they will always get the backing from them. Same as Sainsbury at Vauxhall.
Sorry Newsshopper, I have checked everywhere and I didn't find a film by Michael Caine called Get Garter! Tesco and others will always build eyesores as long as they say to the council "We will build flats as well" so they will always get the backing from them. Same as Sainsbury at Vauxhall. zampa
  • Score: 3

3:03pm Thu 4 Sep 14

sarfflondonbird says...

Send in the drones...........
Send in the drones........... sarfflondonbird
  • Score: -2

10:13pm Thu 4 Sep 14

mouthalmighty says...

I haven't physically seen it, but it looks very imposing especially as it is on a hill overlooking the area.
I haven't physically seen it, but it looks very imposing especially as it is on a hill overlooking the area. mouthalmighty
  • Score: -2

12:01pm Wed 10 Sep 14

ความจริง says...

It's not that bad considering the $hite it replaced !
It's not that bad considering the $hite it replaced ! ความจริง
  • Score: 0
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