Rafael Vinoly’s 37-storey Walkie Talkie skyscraper has been voted the ugliest piece of architecture in the UK.
This year the building has been blamed for melting cars, causing huge gusts of wind which knock people off their front and smouldering shopfronts – leading to nicknames such as “Walkie Scorchie” and “Fryscraper”.
Its Sky Garden’s design has also been criticised for blocking potentially spectacular views of the city skyline and unnecessary security arrangements for guests.
Now it has won the Carbuncle Cup, Building Design magazines notorious trophy for worst structure of the year.
Officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street, according to The Guardian newspaper it “looms thuggishly over its low-rise neighbours like a broad-shouldered banker in a cheap pinstriped suit. And it gets fatter as it rises, to make bigger floors at the more lucrative upper levels, forming a literal diagram of greed.”
Officially billed as “the building with more up top,” it received praise from the City of London’s former chief planner, Peter Rees, who called it “the figurehead at the prow of our ship,” with “a viewing platform where you can look back to the vibrancy of the City’s engine room behind you.”
Before it was even open, it was found that its south-facing concave glass facade channelled the sun’s rays into a beam of heat capable of melting the bumper of a Jaguar, blistering painted shopfronts and singeing carpets – generating temperatures hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement.
It also generated a the downdraft which was blamed for blowing pedestrians over and causing street food trolley to career down the street.
“It is a challenge finding anyone who has something positive to say about this building,” says Carbuncle Cup jury chair and Building Design editor Thomas Lane. “The result is Londoners now have to suffer views of this bloated carbuncle crashing into London’s historic skyline like an unwelcome guest at a party from miles away.”