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Recent additions to the London skyline have not been met with universal approval. The Gherkin, or Swiss Re, was perhaps the first modern skyscraper to provoke adverse comments, but now two more buildings, the Walkie-Talkie and The Shard, have taken over the mantle of the most disliked building in London.
The official name of the Walkie-Talkie building in London is 20, Fenchurch Street. The floors towards the top of the 160-metre high fan out to become wider than the base, as rents increase the higher up skyscrapers you go. When I was passing, there was a queue of people waiting to visit the Sky Garden on the topmost floor. The streets are narrow around hereabouts and it’s best to walk on to London Bridge, both to see the building from further away and to take any photos. The building won the Carbuncle Cup in 2015, for the worst new building in the UK from the previous year.
The concave curve of the Walkie-Talkie faces due south and during construction in 2013, it was discovered that if the sun shines directly onto the building from the south, the building acts like a vast mirror, focusing light onto the streets below. Spot temperature readings at street-level of between 91 and 117 degrees centigrade were taken. This concentrated beam of light was up to six times brighter than direct sunlight and damaged parked vehicles, melting paintwork and warping the metal.