Walkie Talkie building named 'worst in the UK'

After melting cars and causing wind that knocked people over, 20 Fenchurch Street won this year's Carbuncle Cup

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The Independent Online

London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper has "fended off" competition in the form of student halls and a YMCA building to be named the UK’s worst building.

Number 20, Fenchurch Street in the City of London won this year’s Carbuncle Cup, run by Building Design Magazine.

The office building, designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, is nicknamed the Walkie Talkie building due to its similarity to the old-school device. It is also referred to as the ‘Pint glass’ due to its shape and status as “the building with more up top”.

The result may not come as a surprise to those who have followed the plight of the 37-storey skyscraper since construction started in 2009.

In 2013, it was dubbed the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ after the building produced strong reflections of sun rays which melted parts of nearby parked cars. This led to developers adding a “permanent sunshade” to the building in 2014.

Another weather-related complaint was lodged in July of this year; when employees of nearby businesses said the surrounding areas have been subject to more wind since the erection of the building, reportedly leading restaurant signs, food trolleys and even people to be blown over.

An independent verification of the wind studies has since been ordered by the City of London.

The award, which was a unanimous vote from all judges, comes despite the unveiling of the ‘Sky Garden’ in January of this year. The garden is three floors and has a viewing area as well as a selection of restaurants and bars.

Even the new feature was subject to criticism that it didn’t live up to the premise of a ‘garden’ and that the express lift which swiftly ushers guests up to the highest floor generated a loud whistling noise.

One judge, Ike Ijeh — architecture critic for Business Design, said the Walkie Talkie was “a gratuitous glass gargoyle graffitied onto the  skyline of London.”

Runners-up in this year’s shortlist include Woodward Hall in North Acton, London, City Gateway in Southampton, the Waltham Forest YMCA building, London and the Whittle Building at the University of Cambridge.

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