It’s not only me who finds this building (above, left) perfectly awful. In 2015, the building won the Carbuncle Cup – which is awarded annually to the ugliest building in the UK. And it’s not just ugly, it also has a serious solar glare problem. Reflected rays from the building badly damaged a strong and sturdy car, a Jaguar.
It reflects the heat in addition to the rays. Temperatures of 247°F have been recorded in the area. This has led to the building being nicknamed the ‘Fryscraper’. Wikipedia explains the phenomenon better than I can:
During the building’s construction, it was discovered that for a period of up to two hours each day if the sun shines directly onto the building, it acts as a concave mirror and focuses light onto the streets to the south.
It was designed by Rafael Viñoly from Uruguay who also designed the Las Vegas hotel, Vdara, which has the same problem.
In addition to damaging a car, the rays from the building have also melted bicycle seats, caused paintwork to blister, scorched carpets, melted furniture and one local café effectively demonstrated the problem by toasting a baguette and frying eggs outside their door without any other form of energy or power. See the video below.
People living in the area, or working in offices nearby, have to crank up their air conditioning a lot in order to beat the heat at certain times.
The architect was interviewed about the problem by the prestigious Guardian newspaper and his explanation was … the British weather and global warming. Unbelievable. He said:
“When I first came to London years ago, it wasn’t like this. Now you have all these sunny days. So you should blame this thing on global warming too, right?”
Wrong. ‘Now you have all these sunny days’? If Mr. Viñoly asked me about this (which I’m fairly confident is unlikely to happen) I would have to let him know that London has always had plenty of sunny days. Mr. Viñoly seems to subscribe to the stereotype theory that England is permanently grey and gloomy.
The building has two other problems. It creates a wind tunnel at street level and experts believe that the contractors did not fulfill their declared intentions of creating a ‘sky garden’ that would be a green public space. In fact, it is open to the public only if they book several days in advance and as for being a green space, it is described as ‘a couple of rockeries’ and is likened to an airport terminal. Must be global warming, then…
However, it’s said that the views are fantastic.