A YMCA building and student halls in Cambridge were runners up in the competition this year, whilst previous winners include the Strata Tower in south London‘s Elephant and Castle, Liverpool’s ferry terminal and the renovation of the Cutty Sark.
Trumpeted as “the building with more up top” by its developers, 20 Fenchurch Street quickly became known as the Walkie Talkie building due to its bulbous shape.
Building Design also reported that there had been complaints about high winds at the building’s base, and that the Sky Garden on top of the building had been criticized as too bland and failing to match the original design. Then, after the building’s Sky Garden was completed in January this year, pedestrians complained of risky downdraughts being funneled along the street below.
A London building known for its bulging proportions has won the 2015 Carbuncle Cup-the annual award for Britain’s worst building-by a unanimous vote of the judging panel.
Meanwhile fellow judge Eleanor Jolliffe, an architectural designer, described it as a “Bond villain tower, as it could ‘melt your vehicle with a solar beam from space”.
Other candidates included the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne near Folkstone in Kent – slated for its “kitsch literalism” – and the walkway and glass side entrance linking Manchester’s Central Library and adjacent town hall.
One judge, Ike Ijeh – architecture critic for Business Design, said the Walkie Talkie was “a gratuitous glass gargoyle graffiti-ed onto the skyline of London“.
According to the BBC Thomas Lane, who runs the award, said that the building “crashes into London‘s skyline like an unwelcome party guest”.
He added: “It has also suffered from several environmental problems – the fact that the concave facade concentrated rays on to parked cars causing parts to melt”.
An independent verification of the wind studies has since been ordered by the City of London.
Lane, who chaired the award, said finding anyone who had something positive to say about the building was a challenge.