‘Eyesore’ Serpentine is given commendation by design judges

Roger King outside the Serpentine back in June
Roger King outside the Serpentine back in June

A block of flats derided as an ‘eyesore’ by its critics has been handed a council design award.

The mustard and purple coloured Serpentine in Oxford Road, which its opponents claim is ‘completely alien to Aylesbury’, received a ‘commendation’ from judges and was the only building in town to earn a mention at the awards.

The judges at the Aylesbury Vale District Council Design Awards 2012 said the Serpentine was ‘an interesting, brave and excellent architectural concept’ with ‘innovative construction’ and ‘great use of colour’.

They added the scheme ‘gives great distinctiveness and opportunity for originality’ and it is ‘excellent to see modern design in Aylesbury’.

But honorary secretary of the Aylesbury Society Roger King, who said he thought the judges’ verdict was ‘disappointing’.

He said: “I still think it’s completely alien to Aylesbury. That kind of design would have been better in somewhere like Milton Keynes. As a gateway into the town I don’t think it does anything.

“That part of town, with the college and the new flats is nice, and the Serpentine lets it down.

“The council’s own building should have got a mention. I think that would have been deserving. I feel really disappointed, but what other buildings have been built recently, other than the Oculus?

“I guess everybody’s taste is different. People might like living there. Only time will tell.”

The commendation has also been blasted by Herald readers online.

Reader ‘JR’ said: “When we look at the Serpentine, I don’t know if it came in on budget but it really is an eyesore, it’ll never truly blend – unless you cover it with ivy.”

Meanwhile ‘dynamicdave’ said: “The purple coloured walls of that Serpentine really don’t blend well with the surroundings. It really stands out, but not for the best reasons.”

Another reader ‘chufinelle’ said: “I feel so sorry for the Design Award judges - they are obviously blind as bats. The Serpentine is an eyesore. I can recommend a good, local optician for the sad soul who designed/cobbled it together and the idiots who approved the plans.”

> See this week’s Bucks Herald for a special feature on the Design Awards.