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. Moore on 20 Fenchurch Street: It feels bloated, not elegant. It swells towards the top, in celebration of the fact that floor space gets more valuable the higher you go, and to create a bit more pavement space at ground level, in order to handle the crowds it will generate. But these new zones, fortified against truck bombs by hefty bollards, are not life-enhancing. A straight-up building with an arcade would do the same thing better. And, if the solar frying has been solved, you are still punched by wind in surrounding streets.
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