London’s New Roof Garden

Despite it’s image as a smoky and concrete-heavy metropolis, London actually has a considerable amount of green space. In fact, it is one of the greenest cities of its size and scale on Earth.

While much of this greenery comes from the wide open spaces of Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath, Clapham Common and the like, many residents of the capital have become experts at cultivating their own bit of natural land.

With outdoor space at a premium in many inner city homes, roof gardens have become more and more popular, with carefully cultivated flower beds and herb or vegetable patches cropping up among the chimneys of London’s boroughs.

Sky Garden

At one of London’s newest skyscrapers however, the roof garden has been take to a whole new level. The Walkie-Talkie, the nickname of the 37-floor building recently constructed at 20 Fenchurch Street, has had a so-called “sky garden” built as part of its original plans.

Described quite audaciously as a “glorious drag queen of a building” by Bishopsgate councillor Tom Sleigh, the Walkie-Talkie is 680,000 sq ft of prime London office space, and its sky garden was designed to be the cherry on top of this 525 ft tall cake.

The huge glass-walled space offers the public fantastic views across The City financial district, including a southern balcony that looks onto the Walkie-Talkie’s fellow skyline botherer, the Shard.

Promising to be the capital’s “newest public park”, entrance to the sky garden is free (before 6pm), so long as a booking is made a couple of days in advance due to a maximum of 400 visitors allowed at one time.


However, despite its grandiose position on the banks of the Thames, 20 Fenchurch Street has not been without its critics, with a considerable percentage of the vitriol saved for the roof garden itself.

Some have described the garden as a glorified observation deck with a few trees dotted about that is “not as good as Centre Parcs”, and the lack distinct lack of foliage is emphasised by the abundance of cafe and restaurants spread across the space.

The need for green space was among the many stipulations for the construction plans being greenlit, what with the construction taking place right on the edge of conservationist land, and the loose interpretation of the term “garden” by the building’s owners has led to outrage in some quarters.

It’s not just the garden that has caused problems. The convex, southern-facing, glass-heavy facade has proven to be a bit of a hazard for the streets below, where reports of cars being melted by reflected sunlight have seen the Uruguayan architect responsible for the design admit that he “didn’t realise it was going to be so hot” once the building was complete. (The issue has since been rectified with the use of a non-reflective film being placed over the windows).
As the leading provider of roofing services across Wimbledon and the wider London area, Morgan Asphalte have decades of experience in providing roofing services for all customers. Our expert team work with a wide range of materials, including asphalt, felt, slate, tiled, lead, liquid and single ply roofing, with repairs carried out on all roof types.

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Posted on 05 February 2015 in Roofing.

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