- 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
When is there a right to light, and what happens if it is obstructed?
What would the nationalisation of economic infrastructure mean for GB?
A new guide to improving value by reducing design error.
We've reached 80,000 page views a day and 10,000 registered users. Why not join them?
A masterplan is a framework within which a location is encouraged to develop or change. Read our introductory article.
New consultation announced on a specialist Housing Court to settle landlord-tenant disputes.
ICE responds to a transport consultation advising the government to make decisions enabling more inclusive cities.
BRE and Loughborough University complete first phase refurbishment of demonstration home.
How the risk of collapse of fibrous plaster ceilings is being addressed in theatres.
If you’re a great writer and have practical experience of the construction industry, it could be you.
Frustrated by long documents or technical jargon? Put off by sign-up forms or costs? Take this 5 min survey to help improve construction knowledge.