Categories ArchitecturePosted on

Sky Garden

Located on the top floors of number 20, Fenchurch Street (better known as the Walkie-Talkie building), is the Sky Garden, a unique space that captivates hundreds of visitors every day. The building, designed in 2004 by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, replaced an old and obsolete office block in the heart of the city with a new, sustainable construction that breaks with classical rules of architecture.

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Located on the top floors of number 20, Fenchurch Street (better known as the Walkie-Talkie building), is the Sky Garden, a unique space that captivates hundreds of visitors every day. The building, designed in 2004 by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, replaced an old and obsolete office block in the heart of the city with a new, sustainable construction that breaks with classical rules of architecture. The higher floors of the building cover a larger surface area than the lower, freeing up public space at street level.

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The Walkie-Talkie building has a double height lobby, 32 floors of office space and 3 additional floors that enhance the top of the building with public gardens in the sky. Access to the Sky Garden is free but should be booked in advance on the website. Once you have your tickets for the selected time and date, the Sky Garden can be accessed through a separate lobby that takes visitors on an express lift straight to the 35th floor, where sliding glass doors reveal spectacular views over the city.

The Sky Garden offers a 360º view of the city. The first thing that can be seen to the south is The Shard, framed by the metal structure that supports the façade’s curtain wall. Visitors can also access the south-facing, glass covered terrace, which is some 150 metres above ground level – about half the height of The Shard – giving the impression that its glass surface is almost flat.

If we turn to the left, we can see Norman Foster’s City Hall south of the river, Tower Bridge spanning the Thames and the fortress of the Tower of London almost at our feet from a curious, almost axonometric perspective. Looking to the horizon, the towers on Canary Wharf seem tiny in the distance if we compare them with the Leadenhall Building (the Cheesegrater) or The Gherkin on 30, St Mary Axe, both of which can be observed closely from the north. Looking to the west of the city reveals a beautiful view of Saint Paul’s Cathedral connected to Tate Modern via the Millennium Bridge, with the giant ferris wheel of the London Eye as the backdrop.

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The Sky Garden not only offers unique views of the city, but also the possibility to enjoy exquisitely landscaped gardens and leisure spaces. Designed by the landscape architecture team, Gillespies, the gardens have a wide variety of planted terraces with drought-resistant species from the Mediterranean and South Africa. The design of the planted terrace also includes spaces where visitors can sit, talk and enjoy the views. The curved glass roof of the building provides a continuous supply of natural light, contributing to the healthy upkeep of the plants despite them growing in a covered space. The perfect structure of the roof also includes south-facing solar panels, which provide maximum energy efficiency.

Within the triple-height space that comprises the Sky Garden, there are also places to eat and drink: the Sky Pod Bar offers the best views towards the terrace and the Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Restaurant can be found on the upper levels.

This innovative project has managed to combine stunning public spaces and ubiquitous offices, giving people the chance to behold some incredible views of the city by creating a new landmark.

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skygarden.london
Sky Garden
20 Fenchurch St
London EC3M 8AF
020 7337 2344

Credits

  • Text Silvia Romero Jarque
  • Photography SKYGARDEN

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