The 20 Fenchurch Street building, designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, hit the headlines last summer when it its shiny cladding and curved profile deflect the sun’s rays onto the streets below with dangerous intensity. Cars were melted by its rays, including the Jaguar XJ of tiling contractor N&C Moderna Contracts director Martin Linsday.
Already nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie building because of its unusual shape, the 37-storey structure now became the Walkie-Scorchie.
Joint developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf put a scaffold screen as a temporary fix. Work will now begin this month on a permanent solution – a brise soleil to diffuse the sun rays. A series of aluminium fins will be installed horizontally across the south-facing side of the building between the third and 34th floors. The work is expected to take six months to carry out.
“A solar glare issue drew attention to the building for the wrong reasons, but did nothing to deter lettings,” Land Securities said today. “Our brise soleil solution has gained planning approval and installation will start shortly. It will not interfere with the customer fit-out or occupation.”
The cost of the retrofit is marginal in the context of the overall £200m budget for the development. “The cost involved has not altered our original estimated total cost of the building,” Land Securities said.
News of progress on the solution was contained within Land Securities financial results statement this morning. It announced pre-tax profits for the year to 31 March 2014 of £1,109m, more than double the previous year’s £533m.
Yesterday British Land reported almost identical pre-tax profits of £1,110m for the year.