Walkie Talkie Wins Crappy Building Award

By M@ Last edited 32 months ago
Walkie Talkie Wins Crappy Building Award

The much derided Walkie Talkie skyscraper has received the highest dishonour that may be bestowed upon a building: the Carbuncle Cup. Each year, a panel of architectural critics takes nominations for the country's most woeful new structures. The panel presumably had no difficulty in selecting this year's winner, given the chequered history of the building and its lack of public appreciation.

The Walkie Talkie, properly known as 20 Fenchurch Street, has hit the headlines on several occasions. Its concave facade had to be screened after it started focusing the suns rays and melting cars. The hotly anticipated Sky Garden on its top floors drew criticism from the City of London, who reckon it was not built to the approved plans; it may have to be remodelled.

It's the one on the left.

But it is the building's bulbous form that has prompted most grumbles. It is chunkier at the top than the bottom, and therefore challenges many people's notions on what a good tower should look like. The streets below are often windswept. It is also offset from the main cluster of City skyscrapers, ensuring that it obtrudes on the Square Mile skyline with bonus garishness. Thomas Lane, who runs the awards, said the building "crashes into London's skyline like an unwelcome party guest."

Many will agree that the Walkie Talkie is a worthy winner of this year's Carbuncle Cup. It beat off such harrowing rivals as these student halls in North Acton, this 'baleful' block of flats in Black Prince Road, and this retchsome YMCA in Walthamstow, as well as structures elsewhere in the country.

Still, we think the building's owners should have left the heat-ray effect as a tourist attraction. It could have found many uses.


Last Updated 07 September 2015

Tony Woolf

The Walkie-talkie also ruins what used to be wonderful views westwards of Tower Bridge. I can't imagine how it ever got planning permission legitimately.

James Guppy

I guess I must be the only person who likes this building - I think it's great, although I somewhat agree the roof garden is a bit like an airport lounge...but I still like that too.
Standing beneath it as the angles do impossible things - and the view from East Fenchurch St looking West, I think it looks beautiful.

Harry Kobeans

I think it will date very quickly. The roof gardens are disappointing too. We are now getting buildings in London which are different for the sake of being different, vanity projects. By way of contrast, the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco and the Chrysler Building in New York are timeless masterpieces.

Adam MacLean

I like it


I like it, I honestly do. I mean I don't love it, but I like it.

but then... this is all so British. The Wagon of Hate. The mainstream dross of society (I don't include Londonist readers in this!) couldn't name the architect, or probably name a good building they like... there's no triumph in celebrating our architects who are doing amazing work the world over.

Way easier to throw rocks and go "Ug! Ug hate!"

Greg Tingey



It's a dreadful building. I was shocked to see how HUGE it is. It is way bigger than you might imagine and draws the eye. Truly, if I could vaporize it (whoosh) without any collateral damage I would