Bimbo building? No – tower's a real city icon

Spinnaker Tower operators are fighting back after the landmark was labelled a 'bimbo building' with 'junk-food' architecture by a top critic.

Continuum have challenged The Times newspaper's architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff to visit the tower after he criticised the design when it was included in a list of the top-20 must-see sites. Mr Dyckhoff said the tower should not be on the list.

But the company, which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the tower, said the view from the top would change Mr Dyckhoff's mind.

In his article, the Oxford graduate wrote: 'Spinnaker is pure icon, designed for no other purpose than to be "must seen" and box-ticked by tourists; a bimbo building thrown up to dupe us all into gawping slack-jawed, "ooh, ahh, isn't it tall?"'

He added: 'The Spinnaker doesn't dazzle. From a distance (I'd try five miles) it almost works, though its shape is more Dubai than maritime Portsmouth.

'Up close, though, and it all gets a bit low-res, its crudely detailed engineering just bluster, not structure.'

The tower's sales and marketing manager Heather Deeley said: 'It seems like the comments were made by somebody who has never been to the tower before and we would challenge Mr Dyckhoff to do that so he can make a more informed judgement.

'The tower was built as a visitor attraction as well as for its architectural merit, and one of the main reasons was the 23-mile view.

'To call it a bimbo building seems a little harsh and we were disappointed.

'The tower is an icon of Portsmouth that has really helped to put the city on the map and the vast majority of our visitors say they would recommend a visit to one of their friends.'

Despite repeated calls and emails by The News, Mr Dyckhoff was not available for comment.

He studied Geography at Oxford University before going on to study architectural history. As well as writing for The Times he now teaches architectural theory and history at University College London.