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EH boss: 'Walkie Scorchie has no merit'

English Heritage’s chief executive Simon Thurley has slammed Rafael Viñoly’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper which has been blamed for starting fires and damaging nearby businesses

Speaking at this morning’s AJ100 breakfast at Claridge’s (4 September), Thurley said his dislike of the partially completed tower - dubbed the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ by the tabloid press - had not altered as the building emerged from the ground in Fenchurch Street, central London.

He said: ‘English Heritage objected vociferously to that building [at the planning stage]. We always said it was the wrong scheme, with the wrong shape, in the wrong place.

‘As it is going up my views haven’t changed one iota.’

He added: ‘Sometimes you can only see the [architectural value] of a building once it is constructed. But I see no merit in the Walkie Scorchie at all.’     

Earlier today joint developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf erected a scaffold screen on Eastcheap following reports that sunlight reflected from Rafael Viñoly’s skyscraper melted nearby cars.

Rays reflected off the curved facade of the 37-storey tower, described by London mayor Boris Johnson as a ‘lovely new skyscraper that is producing Aztec death rays’, are also said to have cracked tiles, burnt a doormat and blistered paintwork on nearby businesses. The City of London has suspended three parking bays as a precautionary measure.


Part of the scaffold screen erected along Eastcheap

According to the developers the light beam at this time of year lasts about two hours a day and preliminary modelling indicates ‘the phenomenon’ will be present for two to three weeks.

Among the proposed solutions to the problems are adding a reflective screen to the glazing, or slightly tilting each of the window panes to stop the beam focusing on a point.




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