OXFORD residents have already labelled the controversial development at Port Meadow “ugly”.

Now the Castle Mill student flats have been put forward for an award that “celebrates” the most hideous new buildings in the UK.

The scheme has been nominated for the architecture industry’s booby prize, the Carbuncle Cup.

Construction industry journal Building Design (BD) hands out the award each year to the largest “monstrosity” built in the last year.

BD said it had received more than 20 nominations for Frankham Consultancy Group’s Castle Mill housing, in Roger Dudman Way – the most the competition had ever had.

Save Port Meadow campaigner Toby Porter, of Jericho, said: “I think it has a great chance of winning considering this is a competition to celebrate ugly architecture. The other entrants will be quaking in their boots.

“It is light-hearted, but there is a serious message underneath. The university has said it takes its role as guardians of Oxford’s natural beauty very seriously but so far appears to have offered nothing to show that.”

The student flats are the subject of an ongoing battle as campaigners say the development spoils the view of Oxford’s skyline.

An application for a judicial review of planning permission has been lodged.

In his nomination, Oxford University professor Diarmaid MacCulloch called it: “A deeply unimaginative and impoverished design which would lower the spirits whatever its setting.”

Neither the architects nor the university made any comment in response to Oxford Mail requests.

To vote, go to bdonline.co.uk/buildings/carbuncle-cup


  • People can vote for their favourites on the Building Design website every week, with the most voted-for making a shortlist in July.
  • Castle Mill is currently up against the Ammonite and Pizza Express residential buildings in Dorchester; the Redcar Beacon – aka the Vertical Pier – in Redcar; and the Avant Garde buildings in Bethnal Green Road, by Stock Woolstencroft.
  • A winner will be chosen by a jury of two architecture experts in August.
  • The contest was launched in 2006 at the height of the building boom “for crimes against architecture”.
  • Previous winners include the restored ship the Cutty Sark in Greenwich and Liverpool Ferry Terminal.
  • In 2010 the Strata building in Elephant and Castle, London, took home the prize.