The latest architecture of modern cities evokes different feelings, from aesthetic pleasure to bewilderment and frustration. Admiring the modern design and architectural masterpieces, sometimes the question arises “what was this architect thinking when he created this design.” For example, one day probably while grating cheese he suddenly came up with the idea of ”why not design a building that looks like a grater?” And he did … The second tallest building in the city of London (225 meters) is called “The Cheesegrater”.
“Obsolete” architectural styles of classic baroque renaissance or gothic are being replaced by post-modern high-tech designs. Cubism and Surrealist ideas were only shown on the canvases of artists but now we can see a lot of these styles in architecture. The combination of digital design and new building materials allows us to create new architectural forms, which would have been impossible before. In addition, cities are increasingly rising up, skyscraper developers are in constant competition to build the highest and the unusual.
In the city of London, the Mary-Aix skyscraper known as the Gherkin is 180 meters high and won the Stirling Prize in 2004 awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects for its high architectural standards and contribution to the development of design. “The Gherking” is recognizable at first sight; it is the business card for the financial centre in the city of London. Triangular mirror panels create optical patterns; they shine and reflect everything, creating a complex mirage of colours and shades. The panorama of ancient London has changed greatly and skyscrapers are now growing like cucumbers, both literally and figuratively. The tallest building in London, and the fifth tallest in Europe, “The Shard” soars into the sky with a height of 310 meters.
A commercial 160-meter-tall skyscraper on Fenchurch Street, the sixth tallest in the City, was named “The Walkie Talkie” because of its resemblance to the first models of mobile phones. Uruguayan architect Rafael Vynoly decided to stun the world not only with an unusual design, but also a non-standard solution to the problem of placing the maximum business space on to a small area. He designed post-modern style building, which expands upwards: the building soars up expanding space. The outer shell, which is made of aluminium alloy fitted with double and triple glazing and curved mirror walls, seems to hang over the street.
This design created problems: on a clear day, the sun’s rays reflected from the mirror walls creating the effect of the concave mirror and focused on the street, due to this optical effect at the intersection points of the rays, the temperature can rise to 100 degrees and above. In 2013, the bumper melted on one of the cars parked below the building. And a reporter of the metropolitan newspaper fried eggs in a frying pan placed on the ground to create a greater resonance. Now the building is protected by screens, glass is covered with a non-reflective film, and the southern side of the structure is ventilated from the outside.
Public opinion acknowledged that the new skyscraper disfigures the panorama of London. In 2015, “The Walkie Talkie” got the Carbuncle Cup as the worst building of the year. “Carbuncle Cup“, as an alternative to the Cup of Sterling, is awarded to the buildings that spoiled the architecture of the city by Designs magazine. Modernist stylists compared the new project of the extension of the National Picture Gallery’s comment by Prince Charles, “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.”
Nevertheless, “The Walkie Talkie” contributed to the development of architectural design. In addition, from most upper floors you can admire the beautiful panorama of the city and on the roof of the building a unique three-level Sky Garden was created, the highest park in London, with observation platforms, terraces, bar and restaurants.