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
More from: EH boss: 'Walkie Scorchie has no merit'
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.
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.