Vote for the ugliest building in Kingston
8:00am Friday 1st June 2012 in Kingston
Close your eyes for a moment and think of some of the great architectural periods in British history. Renaissance, baroque, gothic, Victorian grandeur... and now open your eyes and look at this shower.
Yes, we have now compiled all your nominations for the prestigious title of Worst Building in the Royal Borough of Kingston and we want you to vote for your top one.
I know it’s difficult, but just think of it as the worst of a bad bunch. Which one really makes you depressed, groan, even physically sick?
To pick your 'favourite', click here, have a look through and just click the vote button.
So here they are. Cast your eye over them and see if your particular favourite makes our list.
Take a deep breath, here are your nominations, in no particular order:
1. CI Tower, New Malden
2. Apex Tower, New Malden
One tall and sleek, the other shorter and fatter, they are the Laurel and Hardy of bad buildings – but with none of the humour.
CI Tower and Apex Tower were nominated by both Beverly RA and Rosemary Addington.
Rosemary said: “Whenever you approach New Malden they loom up into view. I can’t understand why they haven’t been demolished.”
Probably because they’re full of workers Rosemary – but if they weren’t, we’d baggsy the bulldozer keys.
3. Car park behind CI Tower
We have nominated this one ourselves. After admiring the behemoth that is CI Tower, simply walk around the perimeter to be greeted by this depressing lump. OK, we agree, it’s very easy to pick on car parks as examples of bad architecture. Very easy. Which is why we’re doing it of course. No point in making life difficult for yourself eh?
4. Combined House
5. International House (both in Wheatfield Way, Kingston)
Another double act here, but don’t think Morcambe and Wise... more the Krankies.
SteveC1964 says: “There can be no doubt Combined House and International House, which have similar design and clearly came out of the same kit – on the sadly inappropriately named Wheatfield Way – are the ugliest buildings in Kingston. International House is a Travelodge now.”
We agree Steve. Imagine, as a tourist, staying there and spending a nice day in London, taking in Hyde Park, the Tower of London and the National Gallery, and then returning to Kingston to be confronted with this carbuncle.
Francis Land also nominated Combined House. He said: “It is huge, ugly and without a trace of charm. It is grossly out of proportion with the surrounding buildings, including the lovely Kingston Museum over the road, as well as the Victorian villas of Fairfield West. For many visitors arriving by road via London Road and the Cattle Market car park it dominates the initial view of Kingston town centre and provides a terrible first impression.”
6. Coronation Court, a block of flats at the corner of Surbiton Crescent and Surbiton Road
This multi-coloured (ahem) intrusive block was nominated by Mary Sebastian.
She said: “It is crammed on to its site with no landscaping or approach and looks like a fortress thrown up by the Normans – just until they can subdue the area and build properly.
“The prime advantage of living in Coronation Court must be that you will never see it looming outside your window.”
7. Tolworth Tower
Peterf17 said: “Incredibly it’s a listed building.” Enough said.
8. Toby Jug site, Tolworth
Richard Exworthy has not nominated a building, but where a building used to be.
He said: “The Toby Jug was a famous local landmark – David Bowie launched his Ziggy Stardust stage show at the pub. Please include this, if only to draw attention to the vandalism of a 1930s road house reduced a pile of rubble for more than 10 years.”
9. Back wall of Waitrose, Surbiton
GB Oxendale has nominated a wall. He said: “I would like to nominate the back walls of the Waitrose supermarket, adjacent to and overshadowing the Surbiton Club in St James Road.
“It is utterly featureless, environmentally hostile and, indeed, quite ghastly. Quite how permission was given for its construction without any redeeming design features whatever defies comprehension. It really is an ugly eyesore. At least the designers took a lot more care with the front of the store in Claremont Road.”
10. School Lane complex, Red Lion Road, Tolworth
This was nominated by Paul Bullen.
We agree with you Paul. And if the building was empty we’d be first in the wrecking ball queue.
11. Argosy House, Kingston Hill
12. Flats next to Argosy House
Chairman of the Kingston Society, Jennifer Butterworth, nominated these two nuggets of misery.
She said: “I would like to suggest Argosy House, Kingston Hill, and the appalling block of scruffy dirty looking flats next to it. Argosy House is leased by the hospital.
“Both have been built to have the maximum footprint on their site, with no signs of having any ambition other than building as cheaply as possible with no thought to creating anything which will give pleasure to the eye.
“It is part of our desire to be positive that led to our Townscape Awards scheme which may well not happen this year because of the near absence of meritorious new scheme completions in the present troubled times.”
13. Cambridge estate towers
14. Kingston University, Penryhn Road
15. Kingston University, Knights Park
16. Kingston College
We wondered if these leviathans would pop up. They were all nominated by both DB. And Alexander Banks has also nominated the Cambridge estate.
DB said: “Building tall buildings is not a problem in itself, but these require more thought as they are so prominent on the skyline.
“Unfortunately, the planners of the 1960s and 1970s obviously did not think of this. I think that if we could go back to 1960 and prevent all the mistakes that were permitted in Kingston over that period then it would be quite a beautiful Victorian town that would rival almost anywhere in the country.
“I guess you could say the same about a lot of places.”
17. Bishops Palace House, Kingston
18. Sainsbury’s, Surbiton
19. Eden Walk shopping centre, Kingston
Also suggested by DB. He explained: “Bishops Palace House is one of the most disgraceful low rise buildings in the borough. The thing that annoys me about this type of building is that the architects actually seem proud of their creations.
“Other examples of this are the Sainsbury’s building in Surbiton and the Eden Walk shopping centre.
“In a way, these buildings are worse than the Cambridge estate, where the developers/architects would freely admit they didn’t care what it looked like as they just put up the cheapest/largest building possible.”
We agree DB. And Eden Walk shopping centre is so far from the Garden of Eden it’s untrue.
20. Kaleidoscope building, Cromwell Road, Kingston
Neal Hattersley said he didn’t have a “stand out worst” but one building that annoys him is Kaleidoscope.
He said: “When they built it they knew it would get dirty from traffic dirt, yet they still built it over the pavement and painted it off white.
“It could have been a strident deep blue or green tile or panneling or even terracotta – something bright that would mask the dirt. Instead, everyone associates Kingston with dirt as they pass through in their cars.”
21. Kingston and Surbiton Conservative Party, 3 Bridle Close, Surbiton
This was nominated by someone calling himself Prince Philip of Greece.
We can’t work out whether it is the building Prince Philip objects to or the fact it’s full of Conservatives. Maybe his royal highness could enlighten us?
22. Kingston Job Centre
23. Surrey House
25. NCP St James car park
26. Office block housing Unilever
A few more of our own nominations here from Brook Street, Kingston – the road we’ve named “the street of doom”.
How one street can have so many ugly buildings beggars belief. Still, at least buses stop here so you can get away as quickly as possible. OK, we know that the NCP car park and the Unilever buildings simply back on to Brook Street, but their fronts are no better, believe us.
Let’s just put it this way – an English gentleman wouldn’t include this street on his Grand Tour itinerary.