There's no greater joy to an architectural firm than having their creation nominated for an award - unless, that is, the award is given for the wrong reasons. That's the case with The Carbuncle Cup in the U.K., and the Titanic Belfast has been nominated.
The Titanic Belfast is a visitor attraction as well as a monument to the RMS Titanic and Belfast's maritime heritage built on the docks at Belfast where the Titanic, and her sister ship, The Olympic, were constructed. It opened in March just weeks before the 100 year anniversary to the day, April 15, 2012, of the RMS Titanic going down after hitting an iceberg, with the loss of over 1,500 lives.
Building Design: Titanic Belfast "depths of inanity"
The announcement of the edifice being nominated for a dubious award - given to what the Irish Times calls the "worst excesses of British architecture" - came Wed. July 25 from a magazine called Building Design, who created the award seven years ago. The city of Belfast is proud of Titanic Belfast, which has seen sellouts and strong crowds since opening, but the 130,000 square foot building has been given some harsh reviews for design.
Building Design pointed out that the Titanic was “designed to resemble the collision of a ship and an iceberg” and wrote the result is the architects reaching “new depths of inanity in their literal architectural expression." It's nominated with five other new structures in the U.K.. The Times writes that The Carbuncle Cup, to be awarded August 24, "is named after the Prince of Wales’s description of a new extension at the National Gallery in London as a "monstrous carbuncle.""
American architect Eric Kuhne, from Texas, and his agency, Civic Arts, designed and built the Titanic Belfast in conjunction with Todd Architects of Belfast. The firm can take solace in that not everyone finds their creation unattractive, it's also been nominated for a good award, having reached the finals of the International Interior Design of the Year awards.