London's Walkie Talkie judged UK's worst building

Image source, Thomas Lane
Image caption,
Critics say tall buildings should taper elegantly inwards, not bulge out as the Walkie Talkie (L) does

A City of London skyscraper, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie, has won the annual Carbuncle Cup, awarded to a building judged to be the UK's worst.

In its short history, the 37-storey office tower has melted parked cars and critics have compared its three-storey roof garden to an airport terminal.

Thomas Lane, who runs the awards, said the carbuncle "crashes into London's skyline like an unwelcome party guest".

A YMCA building and student halls in Cambridge were also in contention.

Other buildings vying for architecture's wooden spoon were Parliament House, Southampton City Gateway and Woodward Hall in north-west London.

'Wind tunnel'

Mr Lane, editor of Building Design magazine, said it was a challenge to find anyone with something positive to say about the Walkie Talkie, officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street, which was completed in April 2014.

"It bulges out towards the top in a cynical move to maximise the amount of high-value space at the upper levels, in defiance of the principle tall buildings should taper elegantly inwards or at least feature parallel sides," he said.

"The result is Londoners now have to suffer views of this bloated carbuncle."

During its construction, sunlight reflecting off the glass exterior melted parts of a Jaguar car.

It has also been reported that the tower, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, creates a wind tunnel effect at its base.

Previous winners of the Carbuncle Cup include apartments above a Tesco store in Woolwich, south-east London, Liverpool's ferry terminal, student flats in north London, the renovation of the Cutty Sark and the Strata Tower in south London's Elephant and Castle.

To find a winner, readers of Building Design nominate their most hated buildings, which are then whittled down into a shortlist by a jury of architects and writers.

Image source, Simon Hill/Elizabeth Hopkirk
Image caption,
Southampton's City Gateway, known locally as the Fag Butt, (L) is built so close to its neighbour, the view for some students is of a blank wall. Parliament House (R) left the jury fearing that if this was representative of the new wave of tall buildings sweeping London, it was time to pack up and leave
Image source, Arkracer
Image caption,
The Whittle building - the fourth side of gothic revival Gisborne Court at Cambridge University - is a clunky interpretation of gothic that looks like it was borrowed from a major housebuilder's style book, one judge says
Image source, Ike Ijeh
Image caption,
This grey YMCA building in Waltham Forest, north-east London, has "more in common with a detention centre than the public face of an organisation that exists to help disillusioned homeless young people", a judge says
Image source, Jonathan Notley
Image caption,
North Acton resident Jonathan Notley considered Woodward Hall to be so bad he stood for Parliament in the last election on a "ban inappropriate development" platform

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