Walkie Talkie Death Ray* Thwarted By Fins


A system of light-deflecting fins will be installed on 20 Fenchurch Street to stop the building focussing the sun’s rays. The skyscraper, popularly known as the Walkie Talkie building, hit the headlines last summer after its concave facade reflected a beam so intense, it could melt cars and fry eggs on the road below. The tower, hilariously redubbed the Walkie Scorchie and the Fryscraper, has since cowered behind a temporary shroud.

The developers — Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group — have now submitted a planning application to the City of London to install a brise-soleil between the third and 34th storeys of the building — basically, some horizontal aluminium fins to break up the glare. The scheme is designed by the tower’s original architect, Rafael Vinoly. If planning permission is granted, it should take about six months to install. Details are not yet available on the City’s planning website.

We have to admit some disappointment at the news. Health and safety be damned. A building that has the potential to destroy anything left beneath it could have become one of the capital’s more unusual attractions, adding a bit of genuine novelty to the streetscape. Oh, and you could do things like this…


And this:


*Not actually a death ray, although possibly some insects were injured.

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  • Guest

    The fins are horizontal so wont it upset the look of the building? A picture would be nice. Usually developers are eager to produce images of their proposals – have they been offered in this instance? If not, is that because the proposal is not very good visually because theyre trying to keep the spending to a miniumum?

    • MattFromLondonist

      I’ve since found this picture: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2014-02-12-at-12.31.20.png

      Doesn’t significantly affect the look of the building, I don’t think. Whether that’s “Still looks ghastly” or “Still looks excellent” is down to personal taste.

      • HHGeek

        “Whether that’s “Still looks ghastly” or “Still looks excellent” is down to personal taste.”

        Typo there, M@. I think you meant “sanity”. There are buildings in the City about which I’m ambivalent, others which I dislike. This is the only one which I utterly utterly utterly loathe.

        • MattFromLondonist

          Colour me insane, in that case. I absolutely love it.

          • HHGeek

            Oh, and until now I liked you. The only possible reason I could forgive you for this would be if you’ve not seen it for real, but I’m guessing that I’m clutching at not-yet-incinerated straws, yes?

          • MattFromLondonist

            I’ve been up it, around it and stood in its glare. So, yes, I’ve definitely seen it.

          • HHGeek

            AHA! Stockholm Syndrome! Hadn’t thought of that!

  • Gary Grant

    squirting mist from the facade on those few hot days when this is a problem would do it

    • HHGeek

      Ooo, I like the bubble machines. Can’t see them working (might they not actually increase the problem for a nano-second?), but it’d make waiting for a bus on Eastcheap more entertaining of an afternoon.