UCL Student Housing Wins Worst New Building in The UK Carbuncle Cup Award


A block of student housing which cost £18m to build and has rooms containing no daylight has been crowned the worst new building in the UK - and compared to a prison.

The development, owned by University College London, was awarded the "Carbuncle Cup" on Thursday, just weeks before its first residents are due to move in.

The building has 23 rooms facing a brick wall

The university insists it is "happy with the outcome" of the new build, which has left the National Union of Students furious.

NUS vice president Colum McGuire told The Huffington Post UK: "Daylight is not a luxury, it is a necessity. We wouldn’t expect or accept windowless rooms for any other sector of society, and so there is absolutely no reason to think such provision is acceptable to students.

"Our research has shown that rents in university accommodation have doubled in 10 years so with a dire lack of affordability in this market, it is unacceptable for those unable to meet rising are costs to be expected to put up with accommodation that is unfit for purpose."

Students will be charged up to £730 per month for the pleasure of only being able to see the street from an oblique angle.

Ellis Woodman, executive editor of Building Design, the magazine behind the award, said: "There is no small irony in the fact that the building stands on the same street as HMP Pentonville.

"As the first intake of students move into their dark and far from private rooms next month, they might be forgiven for wondering why the prisoners have been provided with the better view."

A spokesperson from UCL defended the building saying it had "excellent" transport links and was designed with post-graduate students in mind.

Planning consent was granted after it was decided students didn't need daylight

Councillor Paul Convery, who chaired the Islington Council committee which turned down the planning application, said: "We refused planning permission for reasons including the poor quality of the design, and the poor quality of amenity for students.

“We were very disappointed that the government inspector overturned the council's decision and granted planning permission for this building."

The building has 23 rooms facing the back of a 19th century warehouse wall, which, due to being locally listed, could not be demolished.

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