Experimentation in architecture is what propels the discipline forward. In an ideal scenario, once a project gets as far as the planning stage, large amounts of careful research and collaboration between the architect, contractor, and client contribute to a smooth execution of an exploratory idea, and ultimately a successful end product. But it’s not uncommon for even the most skilled architects to design work that has a misstep somewhere along the line, whether it has to do with shrinking budget, unforeseen contextual changes, lack of oversight, or anything in between. In some way, the projects here all fall into the second category of failed experiments, but some have also become potential models for revitalization of existing buildings, rather than (less sustainable) demolition and reconstruction. Read on to discover what went wrong in these notable disasters.
Following the controversy over its curved façade, which focused the sun’s rays into dangerous beams, Rafael Viñoly Architects' 20 Fenchurch Street (dubbed the Walkie Talkie) has now been hit with more accusations -- this time of increasing the wind in the area, and of breaking agreements on its public sky garden, local press have reported.
In a review of Rafael Viñoly Architects' 20 Fenchurch Street, which is also known as the 'Walkie-Talkie' or 'Walkie Scorchie' after it emerged that its façade created a heat-focusing ray strong enough to melt cars, Rowan Moore questions London's preoccupation with iconic buildings and its money-driven planning schemes. Using 20 Fenchurch Street as a key example, Moore argues that not only does the building seem "to bear no meaningful relationship to its surroundings," but its Sky Garden - a terrace at the top of the building which claims to be "the UK’s tallest public park" - is a symbol of a bewilderingly unbalanced economy.
Work to alter Rafael Viñoly Architects' 20 Fenchurch Street - dubbed the Walkie Talkie due to its unusual shape and then the "Walkie Scorchie" after it created a heat-focusing ray strong enough to melt cars last summer - is due to start later this month, after planning permission for the additions was granted in April. The alterations, also designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, will see horizontal aluminium louvres added to the glass facade between the 3rd and the 34th floor to ensure that the reflective "death ray" effect is not repeated.
More on the building after the break
With the recent news that Rafael Viñoly Architects' 20 Fenchurch Street (or the "Walkie Talkie") in London has been producing an unusually hot solar reflection, dubbed the "Death Ray," we've put together a list of seven architectural blunders around the world - from the worrying to the downright absurd.
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.”