- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 07 Jun 2018
20 Fenchurch Street
20 Fenchurch Street is a 160 m (525 ft) tall commercial skyscraper in the City of London, designed by Rafael Vinoly. It was nicknamed 'the Walkie-Talkie' because of its distinctive shape, designed to maximise floor space at the higher levels.
The 37-storey tower was constructed on a site outside the designated 'cluster' of City of London high-rises. The City's chief planner gave permissions based on the inclusion of a 'Babylonian sky garden' which would provide a new public piazza for visitors to view the Square Mile.
It gained notoriety for producing powerful downdraughts and hit the headlines during the summer of 2013, when its south-facing concave facade focused sunlight down onto the streets below, where it damaged parked vehicles. A permanent non-reflective awning had to be installed to cover the glass.
Not only was the exterior derided, but the public 'Sky garden' on the top levels was described as having been “designed with all the finesse of a departure lounge”. It was the unanimous winner of the 2015 Carbuncle Cup, with one voter claiming their new life goal was to see the building demolished.
In July 2017, the building was sold to a Hong Kong manufacturing company Lee Kum Kee for £1.3billion - a record price for a single building in the UK. This represents a profit of 167% on the development cost.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Do you know your Rococo from your De Stijl, your Gothic from your Post-modernist?
May outlines a new funding strategy for housing associations and says the 'stigma' of social housing needs to end.
RIBA launches a consultation on a new Plan of Work for Fire Safety.
This article offers some basic rules to follow when writing your next specification.
The iconic Mackintosh Building will definitely be rebuilt, board chairwoman confirms.
The machinery used to fashion stone has changed dramatically - and so have the products.
This type of pile provides support to the building, as well as acting as a heat source and a heat sink.
Why investors are adopting the SDGs and why civil engineering could be crucial for delivering them.
Read about all the winners from the London ceremony of CIAT's 2018 Architectural Technology Awards.
How do you find the right stone to conserve historic buildings?
Appointment agreements often include a ‘scope of services’ setting out the consultant's performance on a project.