Man Behind 'Ugliest Building' Will Design World's Largest Green Roof

The designer of London's infamous 'Walkie-Talkie' building goes to a California mall.

The Hills at Vallco

A California development is boasting its plans to have the world’s largest green roof, a massive 30-acre project expected to cost $300 million as part of the dramatic overhaul of a Cupertino shopping center, and they’ve picked an interesting man for the job.

The decline of the Vallco Shopping Mall is a familiar story: Another once-great symbol of American commerce and Cinnabon laid low. The overhaul to get the “social heart of Cupertino” beating again is being led by the Sand Hill Property Company based out of nearby Menlo, and designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly and landscape designers OLIN.

Viñoly’s an interesting choice to trust with a green project. He’s the controversial designer behind London’s so-called “Walkie Talkie” building, a design that notoriously reflected so much sun back to the street the accumulated heat was enough to melt a car. And this month it won Building Design magazine’s 2015 Carbuncle Cup, an honor only bestowed on the UK’s ugliest structure.

Here’s a 2013 report about the heat waves being reflected off the building:

But you know that’s the great thing about a green project. You can do a lot of things to mess up the architecture, but a tree’s gonna be a big beautiful tree no matter what you tell it.

Accompanied by chill guitar, here’s a slideshow of architectural renderings of the planned $3 billion development: