Urban explorers climb London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ building
An urban explorer dangles his legs from the roof of London’s iconic Walkie-Talkie building – after dodging security and climbing a crane
Housemates Antoine Dutilh, 22, Danny Lowe, 24, and Ricky Winspear, 23, decided to scale the under-construction London skyscraper after spying it from the roof of another building earlier in the day.
The trio are far from experienced urban explorers, spending only 10 minutes scouting out the building before hopping a fence and taking the stairs to the summit.
“The views from the top were just incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Ricky, from Paddington, London.
“When you’re peering over the edge just looking down with nothing between you and the floor, 180m above the ground, it’s mind-blowing.”
20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie building due to its distinctive shape, hit the headlines in September last year after its reflective exterior bounced rays of sunlight onto nearby parked cars, causing parts of them to melt.
Once at the summit the explorers climbed some scaffolding to reach a crane.
They began to climb the machine but were forced to descend when it began to whir into life.
“We were going up one of the cranes, we got halfway up, but I wanted to go all the way to the top to get the highest view I could get, but the crane started moving and we realised there was someone operating the crane,” said Antoine, an illustrator and artist.
“We weren’t sure if he saw us, but as soon as that happened we just thought we should head down and go to another part of the building.”
The trio were keen to stress that they caused no damage to the site, and believe they did not put themselves at any risk during their explorations.
Danny, a fashion photographer, said: “The climb itself wasn’t dangerous because it’s designed for builders to work there on a day-to-day basis. The building was safe, it wasn’t like we were hanging off any ledges.”
The friends spent time on the roof taking photographs and drinking in the panoramic views, although their plans to stay overnight and watch the sunrise were scuppered when they heard workmen milling around the site and decided to make a quick exit.
“It felt very peaceful, almost surreal, it’s a different perspective of London. It’s something that’s not linked to London as a busy place, it’s completely different, you can see everything, it’s brilliant. A really really cool feeling,” said Antoine.
“I just wanted to go to a place that I’ve never been before. It was an adventure and a challenge,” added Danny, who used to have a fear of heights.
He added: “What I can take away from climbing the Walkie Talkie? It’s not that I’m a bigger man because I’d done this thing, it just makes you balance things out, you realise that the little things that bother you on a day-to-day basis are so unimportant, there’s bigger things that mean more.”
“In the future when we go past and it’s actually been built, there’s not many people can say they’d stood on the top of the roof of the Walkie-Talkie building. It’s remarkable that we’ve done it.”
Urban explorers moved up many floors,
Climbing like human flies.
They climbed a new building,
Which has no real gilding,
A hundred and eighty meters high.
Urban explorers just live for the climb,
They do it to touch the sky.
They climbed Walkie-Talki,
Perhaps being cocky,
It’s thrilling; Do give it a try.
While up there they took in a bird’s eye view,
There wasn’t much else they could do,
Their time was cut short,
If you read the report,
It was time to climb something new.
© 2013 Ronald J. Yarosh
All rights reserved.