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December 13, 2005

Grade X

London's Number 1 Westminster Bridge is one of my favourite buildings anywhere and would make for an excellent FleaHQ if only the powers the be were to turn it over to my care. I am therefore sorry to see it only manage eleventh place in a most undistinguished competition: Demolition, a four-part Channel 4 series dedicated to Britain's worst buildings. 10,000 public nominations have been narrowed down to a top twelve list* further mulled over by architectural boffins including those wise heads of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The winner: the Cumbernauld shopping centre, a Cybermen command post glowering over a Carbuncle award winning Glasgow satellite town.

Cumbernauld's shopping centre is eight storeys high with a dual carriageway running beneath. Prospect magazine, which has twice voted Cumbernauld as Scotland's most dismal town, described the shopping centre as a rabbit warren on stilts.

Yes, the place is hideous. But it is a bit rich for the experts to be putting the boot in now given that Cumbernauld New Town was short-listed as a world heritage site by an United Nations brain-trust and its hangers on in the British architectural establishment. That and involving Janet Street-Porter in the judging process. Surely there is a Grade X listing for talking heads.

*Those twelve being:
1. Cumbernauld shopping centre
2. IMAX cinema, Bournemouth
3. Bus station, Northampton
4. Crown House, Kidderminster
5. Cement works, Rugby
6. Park Hill estate, Sheffield
7. Gateshead car park
8. Scottish parliament, Edinburgh
9. The Tower, Colliers Wood, London
10. Lodge's supermarket, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
11. No 1 Westminster Bridge
12. Westgate House, Newcastle

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 13, 2005 08:17 AM

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