Walkie Talkie skyscraper: Faulty tower's architect points finger of blame at 'consultants'
Uruguayan launches attack on layers of bureaucracy in design process
Friday 06 September 2013
Traders and hedge fund managers in the City of London are often accused of having contempt for the common man, but few would have expected such a brazen attack on the capital’s pedestrian masses as was staged this week.
Twenty Fenchurch Street, a new skyscraper which resembles a walkie-talkie and is supposedly designed to “respect the city’s historic character”, has been firing what was described as a “solar death ray” of up to 70C on to the streets below, melting bicycle seats, destroying an expensive car, scarring shop fronts and even frying eggs.
Now the architect behind the so-called “Walkie Scorchie” has claimed its design flaws are due to a surfeit of consultants on the £200m project, and launched an astounding attack on the architectural profession in Britain.
Uruguayan Rafael Vinoly told the International Herald Tribune’s Visionary Cities event that the likely problem with solar reflection – sending a beam of sunlight on to the road below for up to two hours a day – was spotted early in the design phase. The veteran architect admitted: “The calculations said it was only going to be 36 degrees, but in fact it’s 72.”
Amid claims from sources close to the project that cost-cutting revisions to the original plans exacerbated the issue, Mr Vinoly said: “One of the problems that happens in this town is the superabundance of consultants and sub-consultants that dilute the responsibility of the designers until you don’t know where you are.
“Architects aren’t architects any more. You need consultants for everything. In this country there’s a specialist to tell you if something reflects. It’s the fault of the architectural discipline which has cast itself into a completely secondary thing.”
The developers, Land Securities and Canary Wharf, have erected scaffolding and a temporary black sun screen above the affected area, where the shops exhibit blistered paintwork, burnt carpets and shattered tiles. They claim the solution will minimise the impact on the area for two to three weeks while the “phenomenon” continues.
The companies have also agreed to pay £946 to Martin Lindsay, who parked his Jaguar on Eastcheap and returned two hours later to find its wing mirror and badge had melted.
“You can’t believe something like this would happen,” Mr Lindsay said. “They’ve got to do something about it. It could be dangerous. Imagine if the sun reflected on the wrong part of the body.”
The City of London Corporation has temporarily suspended three parking bays to avoid further damage to cars.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 4 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 5 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Doctor Who Christmas special, review: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'