September 2, 2015
In one of the least surprising announcements of the year so far, Building Design magazine has announced that this year’s winner of its annual Carbuncle Cup is London’s Walkie Talkie. The building, officially 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London, was always the frontrunner. Its bulbous 37-storey design has always been a source of contention with the Government, UNESCO and English Heritage raising objections to its impact on the London skyline. During its construction it raised practical concerns in addition to its undeniable aesthetic challenges and the shaky design of its ‘sky garden’, most notably by reflecting and concentrating sunlight to fry the street below (a problem solved by a multi-million pound investment in alterations to the facade) and by funnelling strong winds around its base (an issue that has prompted a wider look into the impact of tall buildings at street level).
The longlist for the Carbuncle Cup is decided following nominations from readers and then reduced to a shortlist of six. This year those buildings were the Walkie Talkie by Rafale Vinoly, Parliament House in Lambeth by Keith Williams Architects, City Gateway, Swaythling, Southampton by Fluid Design, YMCA, Waltham Forest by Robert Kilgour Architects, Woodward Hall, North Acton by Careyjones Chapmantolcher and the Whittle Building, Peterhouse, Cambridge University by John Simpson Architects.