I’m delighted you asked. 20 Fenchurch Street, warmly named as the ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ and less affectionately called as the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ (yeah, that is a name that is by no means catching on), is a commercial skyscraper in central London. It is presently under construction and isn’t expected to be completed until next year. When all is said and done, it will eventually have cost some £200 Million to construct.
The building gets its nickname as it is thought to resemble a walkie talkie (while, being honest, I can not see it myself). It’s also referred to as the pint, something that was way more fitting.
When finished, the building will stand at 160m from top to bottom and also have 37 floors. The ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ was built by Rafael Viñoly (the guy who made the Tokyo International Forum, Carrasco International Airport and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, just in case you wondered) but will feature a patch on the roof that’ll be open to public.
The tower has been the topic of some controversies since the project’s origin. Initially, it’s built as being 200 metres high, but this was scaled back in the middle of worries that it could obscure views of local landmarks Saint Paul’s Cathedral along with the Tower of London. Heritage groups 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 had been originally expected to be complete by 2011), but is now considered being on schedule.
The tower made further headlines this year after motorists complained that it is acting like a large magnifying glass and ‘melting’ their vehicles. In fact, the companies responsible of the building’s development in fact paid out £1000 in compensation to a Mr. Lindsay, after his car was severely damaged. Joint developers Land Securities and Canary Whorf Group issued the following announcement in light of those actions, and Canary Whorf Group issued the following report 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 nice of them.
Soon after nearby car parks were closed until later in the year, when the sun’s rays is less intense.
Curiously, another building of Rafael Viñoly’s, the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas, also suffers from the sunlight reflection problem, being nicknamed the ‘Vdara Death Ray’ by locals…
Also, I actually just read that some motorists are referring to the tower as the ‘Fryscraper’. Now that’s a name that could catch on.