A skyscraper in London, dubbed the “Walkie-Talkie” owing to its shape, came into public domain in 2013 for reflecting sunlight at such an intensity that it melted some parts of a Jaguar, including the wing mirror and the badge. Later on, the developers of the property apologised to the owner of the car and paid for the repairs as well.
The incident spawned another nickname for the 37-storey building, the “Walkie Scorchie”, and the latter has come back into the limelight for winning the annual Carbuncle Cup that highlights “perceived architectural horrors”.
First organised in 2006 as a humorous counterpart to the Stirling Prize for the best architecture, the Carbuncle Cup is given to ugliest building in the UK completed in the last 12 months. Previously, it has been handed out to a ferry terminal in Liverpool, a hotel in Jersey and a media complex in Salford, near Manchester.
Building Design magazine is behind the concept and this year’s ‘award’ was given to the “Walki Scorchie” by a unanimous decision of the judges. One of the judges states that it was both the planners’ (Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group) and the architect’s (Rafael Vinoly) fault for the disastrous skyscraper.
“If anything summarises what makes a building a Carbuncle, this is it,” Ike Ijeh wrote on Building Design’s website.
Judges criticised the building’s unusual design and its south-facing concave facade, which, while unfinished, concentrated the sun’s rays so that it warped the Jaguar two years back. Local businessmen had also complaint of carpet burns and paint damage, while a TV crew filmed an egg being fried via the reflected sun beams.