Friday 23 February 2018

London office blocks win the 'Carbuncle Cup'

The Walkie Talkie - officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street - won the annual Carbuncle Cup in 2015
The Walkie Talkie - officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street - won the annual Carbuncle Cup in 2015

Jack Sidders

Nova, a pair of London office buildings developed by Land Securities Group Plc and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, is the worst new property in Britain, according to a panel assembled by architectural website Building Design.

The 44,600 sq m (480,000 sq ft) buildings were designed by PLP Architecture Ltd and tenants include BHP Billiton Plc and Egon Zehnder.

It's the second time in three years that a project involving the UK's largest real estate investment trust has won the so-called Carbuncle Cup.

The 2015 award was bestowed on the Walkie Talkie, the skyscraper that Land Securities jointly developed at 20 Fenchurch Street.

"The architect appears to have been inspired by the fractured, angular shapes beloved of star architects like Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind and applied these to a run-of-the-mill spec office development," Thomas Lane, editor of the website for architects, said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The result is two large blocks sliced and diced to create a series of angular volumes drunkenly leaning on each other."

Nova was selected by the judges ahead of a shortlist that included an apartment block at Battersea Power Station and the Park Plaza London Waterloo hotel. Entries for the award are submitted by readers.

Meanwhile, in Canada, housing prices in Toronto continued their summer slump in August as government regulations and fears about a market softening curbed demand in Canada's biggest city.

The average price for all housing types declined 1.9pc last month from July to C$732,292 (€500,000), according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. That's down 20pc from the March peak, when the average cost of buying a home in the Toronto region climbed close to C$1 million (€676,000).

"The relationship between sales and listings in the marketplace today suggests a balanced market," said Jason Mercer, the board's director of market analysis. He added that if current conditions are sustained, there would likely be a return to price growth above inflation on a year-over-year basis, according to a statement Wednesday.

Sales in August dropped 35pc from last year to 6,357 deals, while new listings fell to the lowest level for the month in seven years.

Compared with August 2016, the average home price rose three per cent, while the so-called benchmark price, which measures a typical home in the area, jumped 14 percent.

Additional reporting Katia Dmitrieva (Bloomberg)

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