I am glad you asked. 20 Fenchurch Street, affectionately named as the ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ and less kindly known as the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ (yeah, that’s a reputation that is in no way catching on), is a commercial skyscraper in inner London. It’s presently under construction and isn’t supposed to be complete until next year. When all is said and done, it’ll have cost some £200 Million to build.
The structure gets its nickname as it is considered to resemble a walkie talkie (while, being honest, I can not see it myself). It is also referred to as the pint, something that is far more appropriate.
When finished, the building will stand at 160m from top to bottom and also have 37 floors. The ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ was made by Rafael Viñoly (the guy who made the Tokyo International Forum, Carrasco International Airport plus the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, just in case you wondered) and will feature a garden on the roof that will be open to the public.
The tower is the topic of some controversies since the project’s beginning. At first, it had been built as being 200 m high, but this was scaled back among worries that it would obscure views of local landmarks Saint Paul’s Cathedral and also the Tower of London. Heritage communities complained further and there is a public inquest (which unsurprisingly found in favour of those guys with £200Million burning a hole in their wallets). The construction work has suffered some delays (as it was originally expected to be complete by 2011), but is now considered to be on schedule.
The tower developed further headlines in 2013 after motorists complained that it is acting much like the large magnifying glass and ‘melting’ their cars. In fact, the firms responsible of the building’s development in fact paid out £1000 in compensation to a Mr. Lindsay, after his vehicle was strictly damaged. Joint designers Land Securities and Canary Whorf Group issued the following statement in light of those actions, and Canary Whorf Group issued this announcement in light of these events, “As a gesture of goodwill, we have offered to meet the repair costs of his car. As responsible developers we take the issue seriously and are open to discussions with any individual or business that may have been adversely affected on a case by case basis.” That was nice of them.
That is good of them.
Soon afterwards nearby car parks were closed until later in the year, when the sun’s rays would be less extreme.
Curiously, another structure of Rafael Viñoly’s, the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas, also suffers from a daylight reflection problem, being nicknamed the ‘Vdara Death Ray’ by locals…
Also, I actually just read that a number of motorists are referring to the tower as the ‘Fryscraper’. Now that is a name that could catch on.