The official website of 20 Fenchurch Street, a newly opened, 160-metre skyscraper in London, describes the building as “visually distinctive, and designed for maximum efficiency”. Last week, Londoners decided to publicly disagree. They, along with architecture experts, voted it as the winner of the 2015 Carbuncle Cup.
The Carbuncle is not a cup of joy. It is like what the Razzies are to the Oscars, or the Ig Nobel to the Nobel. Intended as the contemptible counterpart of the Stirling Prize for architecture, the cup is given by the magazine Building Design to “the ugliest building in the UK completed in the last 12 months”.
It was an easy win for 20 Fenchurch Street. The building is not only an eyesore, but also melts cars. On sunny days, it acts as a concave mirror and focuses light onto the streets. Temperatures as high as 117 degrees Celsius have been recorded at street level. The fryscraper, so to speak, has melted bodyworks of parked vehicles and burned doormats of nearby shops.
“It is a challenge finding anyone who has something positive to say about this building,” said Thomas Lane, the chairman of the Carbuncle Cup jury. It would also be challenge to actually hand over the cup to the architect who designed the building: Rafael Viñoly, who has washed his hands of the mess by blaming global warming.