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Tuesday22 July 2014

Rafael Viñoly: ‘Superabundance of consultants’ to blame for ‘death ray’

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Walkie Scorchie architect finally speaks out about mistakes

The architect of 20 Fenchurch Street today blamed the excessive use consultants for the ‘solar death ray’ reflecting off the building which has melted cars, bicycle seats and caused fires.

Speaking at the International Herald Tribune’s Visionary Cities event Rafael Viñoly admitted that the solar reflection had been spotted early in the design process “but the calculations said it was only going to be 36 degrees, but in fact it’s 72”.

He added: “One of the problems that happens in this town [London] is the superabundance of consultants and sub consultants that dilute the responsibility of the designers until you don’t know where you are.”

Viñoly, who promised that the problem would be rectified, also blamed the wider state of the architectural profession in the UK for handing over control of projects.

“Architects aren’t architects anymore,” he said. “You need consultants for everything. In this country there’s a specialist to tell you if something reflects. It’s the fault of the architectural discipline which has cast itself into a completely secondary thing.”

Meanwhile, Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities have put up a temporary screen to protect objects and people from the rays of the sun reflecting off the building.

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Readers' comments (45)

  • Take responsibility rafael. You are head of the design team. No wriggling.

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  • What a crock o' crap. Classical pass the buck syndrome. If you have any backbone you would admit the problem, address it, aim to rectify it with the support of your fellow professionals rather than apportioning blame! Maybe he's right, maybe he's not; but unsavoury comments like that show the measure of the man!

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  • Am I missing something here? Rafael lambasts the UK architectural profession for handing over control of projects to consultants and sub-consultants, i.e delegating responsibility (and therefore potential blame) to others. Isn't this exactly what Rafa himself is doing in accusing the UK architectural profession for not dealing with something even the year out students in his office (if he has any) might easily have predicted. C'mon big man - take this on your broad shoulders and accept that the building's an absolute (hot) dog.

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  • It seems to me that the architect of record can't delegate responsibility for the form of the building, which I find gratuitous and, frankly, rather ugly. Bad function ("scorchiness") follows bad form....

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  • I've encountered exactly what Vinoly talks about. I'm the professional, identify an issue up front, and the way it will be dealt with. But no, someone else has to come and do yet another bit of paper. Which then leads to another bit of paper. The 'service industry' syndrome. With every bit of new legislation comes a raft of so called specialists. The renewables, so called, a prime example.

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  • Actually, one of the problems that happens in this town [London] is the superabundance of idiots who wouldn't know the difference between an ugly building and the back of a bus.

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  • Having worked directly with the firm, and individuals in this persons company (albeit here in London) we recognise the lack of scruples all too well. The guys who are in the firing line (actually they are largely fully qualified architects, grown men and women, but paid and treated like a year out student) are too scared to press the point that there may be an issue, and issue now addmitteded to recognised at an early stage... instead we get this f**l making comments and accustaions such as this!

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  • Well at least it's raining today.....

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  • Arnie Jacobskracher

    My Dear Rafael
    It's a sad business and no mistake and I am with you 100% on this. What you need now is specialist help and I can recommend a very good Crisis Management Consultant: Passminster Buckfuller. They have helped me on many of my cock-ups, I mean buildings. Let me know how you get on.
    Arnie x

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  • Professional Liability – Question 1:
    Designer accidentally designs Solar Furnace – who’s to blame?

    http://www.strangebuildings.com/solar-furnace-odeillo-france/

    A half-wit designer who believes a "consultant" who says that the temperatures were going to be 36 degrees when the ambient air temperature regularly exceed that is a designer who should familiarise himself with his responsibilities before shooting his mouth off in such a curiously random fashion.

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