• ETC
  • Sep 3, 2013
A new skyscraper under construction in London is apparently to blame for some mysteriously melting car parts on the city's surrounding streets. The 37-story building at 20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the "Walkie Talkie" for how it looks, features a convex side of glass windows that apparently concentrates the sun's rays like a kid with a magnifying glass. Instead of smiting ants, however, the building was caught focusing its sun-sourced laser death beam on an innocent Jaguar XJ parked on Eastcheap street. The intense heat managed to melt a sideview mirror, plastic C-pillar cover and Jaguar emblem (scroll down for an image of the damage).

Fortunately, the construction company, Land Securities, had some scruples and reportedly left a note on the car for its owner reading "Your car's buckled, could you give us a call?" They've also since apologized and agreed to pay for the £946 done – about $1,500 – in damages by their blazing hot building. A joint statement with the Canary Wharf district in which the building's located was also released. In it, the developer acknowledges concerns about the reflected light and says it's looking into the matter. The city has also decided to close a few parking bays that could be in the building's line of fire, so to speak, until a solution can be engineered. Since news of the melting Jag broke, other vehicle owners have also come forward claiming the building, re-nicknamed the "Walkie Scorchie," has damaged their cars, as well.

This isn't the first shiny-new-building-attacks-cars story we've heard – architect Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles was built amidst concern that its polished ribbons of stainless steel were blinding motorists and causing accidents, along with raising the temperatures of nearby buildings with its reflected light. The building's surfaces were later given a matte polish.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      Carpinions
      • 1 Year Ago
      This happened in Las Vegas at the Aria when it opened a few years ago. People were getting horribly sunburned sitting on the pool deck for very short periods of time, and during cool seasons. Had to shut the deck down to coat all the hotel windows in a special film to prevent this from happening.
      GFB
      • 1 Year Ago
      London officials should place a solar collector in those parking spaces to augment the city's power supplies.
        johnb
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GFB
        actually, place them "over" the parking spaces, still have the spaces, and the solar. maybe run/help run an ev charging station with the power it generates.
      Jim R
      • 1 Year Ago
      Some people are saying it's the hottest piece of real estate in town... Thank you, I"ll be here all week.
      johnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is so much cooler than my little magnifying glass experiments as a kid.
      Patrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      Umm... Time for the skyscraper to pay for putting some bad-ass photovoltaic cells there?
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why in the world do building departments and architects ever accept convex, reflective shapes? The architect, not the contractor or even the building department is ultimately accountable to this mistake. Which direction does this convex wall face? A convex reflective shape would likely work without this problem on the north face. Any other direction, and you're asking for trouble. The only possible solution I see is to apply a film to the exterior of the glass that can cut the reflectivity. A perforated film product would probably work well.
        BipDBo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        *concave, not convex. Mindlessly repeated author's mistake.
      rmt_1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, when the next James Bond film gets made, the movie's production team will have a perfect building to use as the main villain's evil headquarters. After all, it already comes with its own "death ray" as standard equipment, at least on sunny days.
        KingTito
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rmt_1
        Ha! You are right. Although London only has 2 sunny days a year...
      brgtlm
      • 1 Year Ago
      The curved Vdara hotel and casino in Las Vegas had a similar problem - the converged rays would hit the pool. They added more and larger umbrellas to the pool are and put a high-tech finish on the glass so it would reduce the "Vdara death ray." I'm sure they will try to add something to the glass finish.
        graphikzking
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brgtlm
        I was going to post this - too quick for me!:) That hotel happened at least 6 years ago - so I can't believe that these architects don't realize this by now? How stupid are they? They should put a pool of covered water in front of the reflection to create a "pressured steam room" to generate the electric for the building. (at least some of it).
          creamwobbly
          • 1 Year Ago
          @graphikzking
          Architects aren't stupid. It publicises their work, and their responsibility and responsiveness pays off.
      rjs
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thanks to "brgtlm" who pointed out the "Vdara Death Ray" in Las Vegas, Nevada. It has a south-facing concave glass front designed by...wait for it...Rafael Viñoly. Isn't he the guy who designed the "London Death Ray"? Oh, yeah. So much from learning from one's mistakes.
      INCREDIBLE BOB
      • 1 Year Ago
      What idiot architect does not realize it when he draws up a solar oven?
      PT
      • 1 Year Ago
      Architects are stupid. That's a giant concave mirror.
      Juan
      • 1 Year Ago
      The power of the sun. I had a crystal hanging on my mirror. I began seeing streaks of burn marks all across my center console. Duh, I finally figured out it was the crystal.
        creamwobbly
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Juan
        This made me smile. Shame you couldn't find a healing crystal to undo the damage...
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