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.
Businesses, employees and residents within the area of the Walkie Talkie have submitted numerous complaints about the increase in downdraught since the completion of the tower, suggesting that its presence has led to wind-tunnel effects at street level. At the moment, the only solution has been for food-cart owners to include signage on their carts warning that they could tumble over and crush customers and pedestrians. The City of London is currently still figuring out a more permanent solution, running independent verification of wind studies on possible new schemes.
Meanwhile, Land Securities has ordered the landscape architect in charge of the Walkie Talkie’s sky garden, to come up with amended proposals, after finding the existing construction was in breach of its original agreement, reported the Architects' Journal. Among the breaches include a restaurant server that is larger than in the original plans, a terrace that was never built, an additional server which was never built, staircases that were never built and a terrace larger than in its original plans. Changes are currently being considered, including adding more planting and a new servery, however it could not be remodeled without considerable cost and the impracticality may hinder its approval.
Despite all of the criticism, “over 200,000 people have made a free visit to the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street since we opened to the public in January," a spokesperson of 20 Fenchurch Street said. "We’re incredibly pleased with the positive feedback we’ve received to date and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors in the future.”