Walkie-Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) Facts

The skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street, London was nicknamed The Walkie-Talkie because its shape is reminiscent of a two-way radio handset. The building was completed in 2014 and it was designed by the architect Rafael Vinoly.

Here are some facts about the Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchchurch Street).

  • The building cost more than £200 million to build.
  • It contains 32 floors of office space.
  • 20 Fenchurch Street is 160 metres tall. Plans were drawn up for a larger building (200 metres tall) but they were scrapped due to concerns about the visual impact such a building would have on St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London located nearby.
  • The Sky Garden (London’s highest public garden) is located on the top three floors of the building, and they can be accessed by two express lifts. It has 360-degree views of the city.
  • The building won the 2015 Building Design Carbuncle Cup awarded annually to the UK’s worst new building.
  • The building design has been criticised for creating a solar glare problem for streets to the south of the building. The building acts as a concave mirror and reflects light down onto the streets. For two hours a day, this reflected light can be more than six times brighter than direct sunlight. The issue has increased local street temperatures and even caused damage to cars, blistering paintwork, and scorching shop doormats. As a result some people now call the building the Walkie-Scorchie or the Fryscraper.
  • A permanent sunshade was attached to the building in 2014.
  • The Walkie-Talkie building replaced another tower located at 20 Fenchurch Street. This building was just over 90 metres tall, and it was demolished in 2008.
  • Construction of the building was started in 2009 and completed in 2014.
  • The building has 2 floors below ground level.
  • It is located in London’s financial district.
  • In 2017 the building was purchased by LKK Health Products Group (a Hong Kong manufacturing firm) for £1.3 billion (a record purchase price at the time for a single UK office building).
  • The building’s flared shape means that the top floors have 50% larger areas than those at ground level.
  • The building’s superstructure is made from more than 9000 tonnes of steel.
  • When the building was proposed in 2004, its design was criticised by both English Heritage and Unesco.
  • In response to criticisms of his building’s design, architect Vinoly said, “You can like it or dislike it, but you’re not going to forget it.”
  • The building overlooks the River Thames.
  • The building was jointly developed by the Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities (Lanndsec).
  • The Sky Garden is large enough to host events for up to 450 guests, and the terrace is planted with drought-resistant Mediterranean and South African plants.

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