Sunday 17 December 2017

Walkie Talkie skyscraper wins Carbuncle Cup for most hated building

The Walkie Talkie - officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street - won the annual Carbuncle Cup
The Walkie Talkie - officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street - won the annual Carbuncle Cup

A skyscraper in the City of London has gained the dubious accolade of being voted the UK's worst eyesore.

The tower - nicknamed the Walkie Talkie but officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street - won the annual Carbuncle Cup, awarded to the building judged the most hated in the country.

The unanimous choice of the judges, t he 37-storey office tower has melted car parts by reflecting sunlight and drawn complaints that its shape creates a wind tunnel, while its roof gardens have been dismissed as bland and may have to be changed for failing to meet design specifications.

Ike Ijeh, from Building Design magazine, which runs the awards, called the Walkie Talkie "a gratuitous glass gargoyle graffitied on to the skyline of London", while fellow judge Eleanor Jolliffe, an architectural designer, described it as a "Bond villain tower, as it could melt your car with a solar beam from space".

Other buildings on the shortlist include a student halls in north London so hated it prompted a resident to stand for Parliament to ban inappropriate development, Southampton's City Gateway - known affectionately as the "fag butt" - and an uninspiring grey YMCA building in the capital likened to a detention centre.

Thomas Lane, the magazine's editor, said the Walkie Talkie, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly for developer Land Securities, received far more nominations than any other building.

He said: "It was an extremely popular choice, and all the judges unanimously agreed that the Walkie Talkie was the winner.

"It is very hard to find anybody who actually likes it. There are people, but they are in a minority."

Mr Lane said it was widely criticised because of its impact on the London skyline, with its "very bloated shape" ballooning out towards the top to maximise the amount of space on the upper levels where rents are highest, defying the principle that buildings should taper towards the top, or have parallel sides.

He added: "It has also suffered from several environmental problems - the fact that the concave facade concentrated rays on to parked cars causing parts to melt.

"That has been fixed but it wasn't cheap to do, and subsequently people have complained about higher winds at the base of the building, as the s hape of the building scoops wind down and exacerbates wind speeds."

The wind problem is reportedly so bad that it prompted the City of London to demand independent verification of wind assessments on new schemes.

Mr Lane said the sky gardens were not built to approved designs, and authorities are considering whether they should be changed.

Press Association

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