London's car-melting 'death ray' skyscraper has been named Britain's worst building

Its owners and developers know it as 20 Fenchurch St, but to everyone else, it’s the “Death Ray” building, or “Walkie-Scorchie”.

Now, it’s also “Britain’s Ugliest Building”, after the £200 million, 27-story tower was named winner of the 2015 Carbuncle Cup.

The Carbuncle Cup celebrates outstanding ugliness in architecture. Previous winners have included the Liverpool Ferry Terminal:

Picture: John Bradley/Wikimedia Commons

And the Radisson SAS Waterfront:

Picture: Man vyi/Wikimedia Commons

So it’s not the list you want your £200 million development on, at all, but the new Carbuncle Cup owners are used to making the news for the wrong reasons.

During the building’s first summer in London, its concave surfaces reflected sunlight so intensively from double and triple-glazed aluminium cladding to the street below, it melted car windscreens, door mats and bike seats.

Matt Dunham / APSmoke rises from a bike seat as it melts in the sunlight reflecting off the skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street.

UK reporter Jim Waterson made the effort to fry an egg out on the street.

Last year, after admitting there was a problem, developers fitted the Walkie-Talkie with a sunshade to cool things down, but not its architect Rafael Viñoly delivered this classic quote to The Guardian, suggesting global warming was at fault:

“[I] didn’t realise it was going to be so hot.

When I first came to London years ago, it wasn’t like this … Now you have all these sunny days.”

Then came the wind. The down-draughts it generated were knocking people over.

Even in its construction stage, the building was being howled down for the impact its height would have the nearby St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower of London, so it was reduced down.

Now, with the crowning glory of a Carbuncle, London’s planning officials may have learnt a harsh lesson.

“It is a challenge finding anyone who has something positive to say about this building”, Carbuncle Cup chairman Thomas Lane said last night.

A town planner at the Royal Town Planning Institute was reported to have described the building as “a daily reminder never to let such a planning disaster ever happen again”.

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