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Walkie Talkie
(2009-14), Rafael Viñoly

Sited at the edge of a conservation area, the Walkie Talkie is perhaps the most controversial member of the City Cluster of skyscrapers in London’s historic banking centre. Though its free rooftop ‘Sky Garden’ eased planners' concerns, the British public still went on to nominate it for the Carbuncle Cup as 2015’s worst new building. Previously, during construction in the summer of 2013, its concave façade was found to act like a magnifying glass by focusing light onto the streets below. After it caused £1000 of damage to a parked Jaguar, journalists demonstrated the power of the ‘deathray’ by frying an egg in its focal point at street level.

Old Billingsgate Market (1875), Horace Jones

Though a fish market has existed here since the 16th century, by the time it was housed in this elegant edifice, Billingsgate was the largest in the world. Traders used to boast they sold “every fish that swims, except the whale and goldfish”. Jones’ design sought to sanitise this vital yet unsightly part of urban life by introducing a fashionable French influence with a steeply pitched mansard roof, and decorating its pavilions and their weathervanes with gilded dolphins. Following the market’s relocation in 1982, his building was sensitively converted by Rogers Stirk Harbour to an events space where exhibitions and awards dinners grace the former market floor.

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