Home Features Coventry’s Ugliest Building? Our Rogues Gallery

Coventry’s Ugliest Building? Our Rogues Gallery

7 min read

Architecture is a subjective thing.  A carbuncle and blot on the landscape to one man, might be an inspiring landmark and example of design excellence to another (some may argue that architecture is actually objective and that it is design that is subjective, but let’s leave that for now).

This is not always true of course, and there are plenty of buildings out there that are universally acknowledged as being fit for nothing but a wrecking ball (of course there’s always be the odd contrary sort who’ll say otherwise, but they’re generally insane and/or desperate for attention – so we’ll ignore them).

Coventry has a few that fit this description, it is a crowded field lets be honest, but there are some that stand out – and this is our best attempt to name and shame those we believe to be the worst offenders.  This isn’t going to be pretty.  Poll is at the end.

1. Britannia Hotel

Britannia Hotel

Brutal.  Just brutal.  The sort of place you’d find Winston Smith strapped to a table covered in rats. Do people really pay to stay here?

2. Sainsbury’s Trinity Street


The retail giant recently posted a profit of nearly £600 million.  Any chance some of that might be used to sort out this travesty?

3. Pool Meadow Bus Station

Pool Meadow

Reminiscent of a large public toilet – complete with its out of place nod to classical Greek architecture.

4. Primark (aka Allders, Owen & Owen)


One decent elevation isn’t enough when the other three are so monolithic and featureless.  I suspect the Bangladeshi sweatshops where they make the rubbish they peddle from this cyst of a building have more architectural merit.

5. Coventry Sports Centre

Coventry Sports Centre

Apparently some people quite like this monstrosity.  It looks like an elephant apparently.  Well so did John Merrick, and I don’t recall him winning many beauty pageants.

6. Priory Halls

Priory Hall

A some point in the mid twentieth century, when planning the regeneration of the Fairfax Street area, a novice town planner straight out Polytechnic, decided that what this area really needed was a series of buildings that straddle the road – blocking sight-lines and removing street level frontages.  This is one of three, and the other two are also on this list. I detect a pattern.

7. Coventry Point

Coventry Point

Look at it, just look at it.  Why would you put it there?  Actually, why would you put it anywhere?

8. Coventry Market

Coventry Market

So English Heritage think this is worth preserving?  Why, because it’s round? The design just doesn’t work.  When the public entrances double as service entrances and a place to store wheelie bins, you know something is wrong.

9. James Starley Building

James Starley Building

Coventry University are guilty of many crimes against architecture, and this is probably the worst offender.  I can only assume that the design brief for this was to come up with something that ensured footfall along Cox Street would be limited to the homeless and disorientated tourists looking for the Cathedral.  They appear to have succeeded.  Seriously, a building that spans the entire length of the street without any active frontages along its full length?  Why?

10. Allied Carpets (West Orchard House)

West Orchard House

They say you cannot polish a turd, but that doesn’t stop some people trying.  This loathsome building is about the get a ‘facelift’.  Unfortunately, nothing from the proposals we’ve seen will make any difference.  You can put lipstick on a bulldog if you like; you can fill the face of an ageing celebrity with Botox if you think it will make a difference – but it rarely does.  More often than not, all you end up with is an ageing celebrity that looks like a bulldog with lipstick on.

Dishonourable mentions go the Ikea, Cathedral Lanes, the Council House ‘bridge to nowhere’, the precinct escalator and pretty much anything constructed by Coventry University prior to the year 2000.

The Poll

[yop_poll id=”2″]
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  1. Geordie

    September 11, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Agree with the general drift of the article, some truly ugly buildings. The feature is ruined by the gutter language of the writer. If Coventry Today is to do well, you need to cut out the profanity. No place for it in any serious project, if you want to be taken seriously.

    • Craig

      September 11, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Hi Geordie. Thanks for the feedback. The article was meant to be light and a bit tongue-in-cheek and a bit of an antidote to the rest of content which is quite straight and serious, but point taken. I’ll review the article and see if there is anything that might be toned down.

      • Geordie

        September 13, 2016 at 3:37 pm

        Thanks for your reply Craig. On a positive note, glad to see the focus on the regeneration things going on in the city. You are highlighting things. Coventry is an ugly city in many areas, so key improvements are welcome. Keep going.

  2. Mark

    January 21, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I can’t believe how few votes there are for Pool Meadow Bus Station. It’s by far the worst building in the list. A naff, tacky, dishonest, pastiche of a building. Whoever commissioned it should be taken outside and shot!

    At least Britannia Hotel was daring and true to the era in which it was built. Like so many 60’s buildings it’s main problem is lack of maintenance. Sad when all it would take is one man with a jet washer to make it look good as new.

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