Critics hit the roof garden. Controversy is raging over London’s new ‘Walkie Talkie’ building at 20 Fenchurch Street. Although City planning permission required a ‘publicly accessible’ roof garden, it turns out the roof is a little less than garden, and a lot less public.
The new building designed by Rafael Viñoly, which features an unusual flare towards its top and fine grid-like covering, earning its nickname of the ‘Walkie Talkie’, was subject to strict planning permissions because of its proximity to London’s conservation area and views of St Paul’s. Public access is not easy though, as you can only book a 90 minute slot three days ahead. After 6pm only paying patrons of the restaurants have access.
The so-called roof garden on the 35th floor, covered by an arcing glass dome, is also not exactly a garden but more like a run of restaurants with a few areas of planting. Designed by landscape architects Gillespies, the rooftop has room for 400 diners and was supposed to feature full-sized trees and towering bamboo.
“an observation deck with a few trees”.
or for another
“like being in an airport terminal, jacked up in the air.”
Visitors must bring photo ID and cannot consume any food in the ‘park’ so no lunchtime picnics!
The curved top of the building also caused a stir before it opened when it was revealed in mid 2013 that the way it concentrated and reflected the sun’s rays had actually melted part of a Jaguar XJ parked in the Eastcheap streets below.
For photos of the reality of the roof garden at 20 Fenchurch St, visit dezeen magazine