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REVEALED: Walkie-Talkie Architect Named For GEIC

Controversial Rafael Viñoly Architects to design the University's new £60m Graphene Centre

Written by . Published on January 20th 2015.

REVEALED: Walkie-Talkie Architect Named For GEIC

THE ARCHITECTS behind London's controversial Walkie-Talkie building (20 Fenchurch Street) will design Manchester University's new £60m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at the former Faraday building site on Sackville Street.

Rafael Viñoly is also a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, American Architects and Japanese Architects. The Uruguayan carries some serious credentials.

Rafael Viñoly Architects came under fire in September 2013 when 'death rays' reflected from the concave design of the new 500ft 37-storey tower (pictured) began melting cars and blistering pavement on the streets below.

Nationals soon renamed the Walkie Talkie the 'Walkie Scorchie' after a reporter from London's City A.M. newspaper managed to fry an egg in rays reportedly reaching temperatures of 90 Celsius.

Walkie ScorchieWalkie Scorchie

Everyone got terribly excited, police suspended parking spaces while scaffolding and protective netting were erected. Eventually developers Land Securities fitted a 'brise soleil' sunshade to the building late in 2014.

What was most peculiar about the design flaw was that Rafael Viñoly Architects had dealt with this very same issue before in 2010 with their Vdara hotel in Las Vegas.

Still, let's not get bogged down in controversy, this is great news for Manchester.

Aside from melting bankers' Jaguars (comeuppance?), New York-based Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly is a world-renowned 'superstar architect' behind projects like New York's new 432 Park Avenue (the second tallest building in New York), Seoul's Jongno Tower and Oxford University's impressive new Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford, as well as Manchester City's new state-of-the-art £200m academy.

Viñoly is also a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, American Architects and Japanese Architects. The Uruguayan carries some serious credentials.

VinolayRafael Viñoly

432 Park Avenue432 Park Avenue

The new Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) - announced by Chancellor George Osborne in September 2014 - is due to open on the former-UMIST site in summer 2017, and has been designed to complement the National Graphene Institute (NGI), currently under construction and due to open at the University of Manchester in Spring 2015.

The GEIC will be partially funded by £15m from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), £5m from Innovate UK and £30m from Masdar, an Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company owned by Mubadala - an investment vehicle of the Government of Abu Dhabi.

A spokesperson for the Manchester University said: "Together, the two facilities will reinforce Manchester’s position as a globally leading knowledge base in graphene research and commercialisation."

Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Colin Bailey, said:

“Research and development in graphene and 2-D material applications will transform the world. The world-leading knowledge base is here in Manchester and to harvest this knowledge, for the benefit of the economy and society more widely, urgent infrastructure facilities are required.

"The GEIC, supported by part funding from the UKRPIF, TSB and Masdar, is essential to maintain the UK’s international leadership position in this area and ensure effective commercialisation of a UK discovery.”

Follow @David8Blake on twitter.

See here for more projects by Rafael Viñoly Architects.


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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Poster BoyJanuary 20th 2015.

At last.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 20th 2015.

He also designed MCFC's new academy. Hope the integrity of the current UMIST campus is not harmed too much.

EditorialJanuary 20th 2015.

Great point Anon, we've added that in.

AnonymousJanuary 20th 2015.

The faraday building is not the one in the above image - that is the faraday tower.

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialJanuary 20th 2015.

You're right. Changed. Thanks.

PaulJanuary 20th 2015.

I think the streets of Manchester will be safe on the egg frying front.

AnonymousJanuary 20th 2015.

The University is still in the process of removing the asbestos in that and some other buildings. The area would make a great office park once the University relocates fully to South Campus.

SteveJanuary 21st 2015.

Hallelujah!! At last, an innovative and exciting architect for a change. I look forward to seeing the proposed designs.

David SmithJanuary 21st 2015.

No Ian Simpson??!!.....some diversity in design from a world renowned architect.......madness!!.......Or should I say BRILLIANT!

rinkydinkJanuary 21st 2015.

Hope they make it tall. Very tall!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 21st 2015.

You make no sense. Why should a Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre be in a very tall building?

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

Nice idea but the budget is £60m, so it won't get that tall (sadly!).

Peter BrockwellJanuary 22nd 2015.

He does actually, tho' obv too obscure for you www.space.com/27225-space-elevator-technology.html…

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

Good grief man! What next? Star Wars technology from the Reagan era?

Paul WildJanuary 22nd 2015.

Let us hope it is a signature building. The National Graphene institute is as dull as ditch water. I just don't know why it is in this city we are incapable of any building worth looking twice at. That Home cultural Quarter is another uninspiring pile of non-entity horrors.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

Paul...they're still building it!

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

Paul you mess.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2015.

Graphene Institute is a great looking building.

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