Rafael Viñoly on Walkie Talkie ‘Death Ray’: Consultants to Blame

  • 06 Sep 2013
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  • Architecture News
Street, or the “,” by Rafael Viñoly Architects. Image © Flickr User pembridge2

Why is the “Walkie Talkie” melting cars? Well, according to its architect, Rafael Viñoly, it’s not because of the building’s shape or material, but rather “the superabundance of consultants and subconsultants” that UK law requires.

As reported by BD Online, Viñoly admitted that the building’s unusually hot solar reflection (or “death ray,” as many headlines are calling it) had been predicted early in the design process; however, it was thought it would only reach a temperature of 36 degrees, “but in fact it’s 72.”

Viñoly then went on, placing blame on the consultant-heavy nature of design in the UK: “One of the problems that happens in [...London] is the superabundance of consultants and sub consultants that dilute the responsibility of the designers until you don’t know where you are.”

“Architects aren’t architects anymore. You need consultants for everything. In this country there’s a specialist to tell you if something reflects. It’s the fault of the architectural discipline which has cast itself into a completely secondary thing.”

Meanwhile, a temporary screen has been put in place to protect objects and people from the building’s rays.

Story via BD Online

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Rafael Viñoly on Walkie Talkie ‘Death Ray’: Consultants to Blame" 06 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=425857>

16 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +5

    I don’t understand why, if he is not happy to work in the UK market, he still does that. sounds quite hypocrite…

    Also yesterday an article appeared on BDonline website reporting that this is not the first designed by Vinoly building that produces this kind of problem.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    As terrible as it sounds, he does kinda have a point- the dilution of our responsibilities has certainly created a lack of agency for the profession. We no longer enjoy position of the “master builder” as we did in Roman times…what happened?

  3. Thumb up Thumb down +19

    Let me get this straight. Not only is he not responsible, or even the consultants on the project, it is the profession as a whole who is to blame? If the building were an earth shattering success would he share the credit with the rest of us? Mr. Vinoly should not be so quick to criticize a profession that has bestowed on him the capacity to evade the responsibility for a flawed design in such a privileged manner. I would rather hear Frank Lloyd Wright tell the client to move the desk out from under the leaking roof. At least Frank had come to terms with his ego.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down +5

    My experience is that Architects, more often that not, will only listen to themselves

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    Perhaps he works in London because that is where he can get work? I also work in London and the amount of consultants used on medium to large scale projects is ridiculous. Most consultants aren’t needed and just make the design process much slower and more difficult.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    If the problem “had been predicted early in the design process” why didn’t the team leader (Architect) do something about it at that time? Sounds to me like the leader is allowing all of those Consultants too much responsibility.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down +4

    While there is “some” validity to his statement, this is his SECOND design to suffer from the same design flaw. One mistake is understandable, committing the same mistake again is negligence. At the rate of monologuing, this is the problem with “sketch design” creating sculptural elements that look good and forcing all other programmatic elements into it.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    While there is “some” validity to his statement, this is his SECOND design to suffer from the same design flaw. One mistake is understandable, committing the same mistake again is negligence. At the rate of monologuing, this is the problem with “sketch design” creating sculptural elements that look good and forcing all other programmatic elements into it.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    In my opinion, it’s completely preposterous to abdicate responsibility for the fault in the design and then make a statement lamenting the dilution of the responsibilities of the architect. Maybe our responsibilities wouldn’t be so diluted if we weren’t so eager to abdicate responsibility in the first place.

    Wouldn’t a more responsible position have been to make a statement suggesting that actual effect was much more amplified than anticipated and that he and the consultant team were working through it to rectify the issue?

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