London's Walkie Talkie Is Sold to Hong Kong Soy Sauce Maker for 1.3 Billion Pounds

view from the south side of Thames

And why is this on TreeHugger? Because there are so many stories to tell about this buiding.

This TreeHugger has been obsessed with London’s Walkie Talkie building, properly known as 20 Fenchurch Street. I explained my reasoning previously:

So why is this on TreeHugger? Because we keep talking about the importance of cities, and how we have to make them better, and that a good pedestrian experience is critical. This building alternately fries the public, blows them off their feet and cheats them out of promised public amenities. And did I mention it's bloated, top-heavy and just plain ugly.
sky garden interior

Lloyd Alter/ Lower level sky garden/CC BY 2.0And as awful as it is, it has now been sold for a record-breaking 1.3 billion pounds, (US$ 1.715 billion).

north plaza

Lloyd Alter/ north plaza/CC BY 2.0

There are so many lessons to learn from this building, from the so-called public space that feels more like an airport lounge (including the security to get to it) to the way it meets the street (a sea of bollards surrounding nothing) and everything in between. But perhaps the biggest lesson is that no matter how bad a building is, there is probably a sucker out there to buy it. Or maybe the developer and architect Rafael Viñoly were right, that occupants really do want big floor plates with great views, and nobody cares if it is ugly.

view from window

Lloyd Alter/ view from my hotel room window/CC BY 2.0

In this case, the purchaser is Lee Kum Kee, the Hong Kong purveyor of fine Hoisin sauce that we use all the time. Perhaps they think that they fit in with all the other food-related buildings like the Gherkin and the Cheesegrater. Who knew that there was so much money in soy sauce.