I’m pleased you inquired. 20 Fenchurch Street, affectionately called as the ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ and maybe less kindly identified as the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ (yeah, that’s a name that is in no way catching on), is a commercial skyscraper in central London. It’s presently under construction and is not supposed to be completed until next year. When all is said and done, it will have cost some £200 Million to construct.
The structure gets its nickname because it is thought to resemble a walkie-talkie (while, to be honest, I can not see it myself). It is also referred to as the pint, a thing that’s much more appropriate.
When done, 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 built the Tokyo International Forum, Carrasco International Airport and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, just in case you wondered) and will feature a patch on the roof which will be open to the public.
The tower is the subject of some controversies since the project’s beginning. Initially, it was developed as being 200 m high, but this was scaled back among concerns that it would block out views of local landmarks Saint Paul’s Cathedral plus the Tower of London. Heritage groups complained further and there is a open investigation (which unsurprisingly found in favour of those guys with £200Million burning a hole in their back pockets). The construction work has suffered some delays (as it had been originally expected to be completed by 2011), but is now thought being on schedule.
The tower developed further headlines in 2013 after motorists complained that it is acting much like the giant magnifying glass and ‘melting’ their cars. In fact, the firms in charge of the building’s development in fact paid out £1000 in compensation to a Mr. Lindsay, when his car was severely damaged. Joint developers Land Securities and Canary Whorf Group issued the following announcement in light of these events, and Canary Whorf Group issued the following report in light of their 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 was good of them.
Soon after nearby car parks were closed until later in the year, when the sun’s rays is less extreme.
Curiously, another structure of Rafael Viñoly’s, the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas, also suffers from a sunlight reflection problem, being nicknamed the ‘Vdara Death Ray’ by locals…
Also, I actually just read that a few motorists are referring to the tower as the ‘Fryscraper’. Now that’s a reputation that may catch on.