Rafael Viñoly's 'Walkie-Talkie' tower named U.K.'s worst new building

The curved, glass tower at 20 Fenchurch Street in London has been known to reflect intense heat onto the streets below (in one instance damaging a car) and cause severe wind gusts. 

September 03, 2015 |
Rafael Viñoly's Walkie-Talkie named U.K.'s worst new building

London's 'Walkie-Talkie.' Photo: Garry Knight/Creative Commons

Other than being an eyesore that alters weather patterns and reflects enough heat to melt nearby luxury cars, London's 'Walkie-Talkie' building has been a roaring success.

A panel of architecture critics at Building Design magazine named the 37-story structure as the U.K.’s worst new building, according to NPR. Instead of being awarded a prestigious Stirling Prize, it was given the 2015 Carbuncle Cup.

Playfully nicknamed because of its slightly rounded, top-heavy shape, the building is officially called 20 Fenchurch Street. Architect Rafael Viñoly designed it, and it was completed last year, costing more than £200 million ($305 million) to construct. 

The Walkie-Talkie is spacious: 680,000 sf and an occupational density of one person per eight square meters.

The design has been criticized for a number of reasons. The building has created wind patterns at street level that have knocked pedestrians around. Due to all the exterior glass and the curved shape, intense amounts of light reflects off 20 Fenchurch Street, which set a carpet on fire and melted a car parked on the street (a shaded structure was later added to negate this). The building has received a few nicknames off its nickname, including Walkie Scorchie and Walkie Windy. Even the building’s rooftop park, the Sky Garden, has been panned.

The Walkie-Talkie “defeated” other worst building entries like a YMCA gym and a parliament house.

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