London’s highest roof garden has opened on the 35th floor of Rafael Vinoly’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper – but to a less than enthusiastic reception
The Sky Garden was billed as the UK capital’s newest public park and was one of the reasons why the vast office block was allowed to be built on the edge of a conservation area.
But city planners have admitted that the hotly-anticipated open space is not “quite what it was meant to be”.
Critics who have taken to social media claim the development its three exclusive restaurants, isn’t actually a garden at all, but “an observation deck with a few trees”.
Another tweeted: “Imagine it. You’ve climbed to the top of the greasy pole and it’s not even as good as Center Parcs.” There has also been criticism of the “public space”, after it emerged that only paying customers would be allowed in after 6pm.
Speaking after the opening, a source close to the planning department told a British newspaper: “It’s still very much a live issue here. Let’s say it isn’t necessarily quite what it was meant to be.”
Peter Rees, the City’s former chief planner, added: “I can’t say that nothing has been compromised. Every building is a prototype, and things have to change as they go along. But it isn’t a garden.”
Last year, the 37-storey building was dubbed the Walkie Scorchie when it was found that the building was channeling the sun’s rays into a concentrated beam, melting vehicles parked below.