London Under Attack by Car-Melting SkyscraperPosted: September 3, 2013
New skyscraper in London’s financial district is casting light beams so intense it’s melting parked cars
The owners of the 37-story tower known as the Walkie Talkie in the City of London financial district are investigating a light beam cast by the building that’s so intense it melted parked cars.
Land Securities Group Plc and Canary Wharf Group Plc are examining the phenomenon and, along with the City of London, have blocked three parking spaces around the building at 20 Fenchurch Street that may be affected, the companies said in a statement after the market closed Monday. The glare from the skyscraper, whose nickname derives from its tapering rectangular design that is also responsible for the beam, has melted parts of vehicles, City AM newspaper reported Monday.
The 37-storey skyscraper, right, which is still under construction, is seen near Tower Bridge in the City of London. The building is popular with tenants from the insurance industry because it’s close to the Lloyds of London building. Developers say they are investigating the way the building reflects bright sunlight after claims that the intense glare melted parts of a car parked nearby.
“We are taking the issue of light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street seriously and are looking into the matter as a priority,” Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group said in the statement.
City AM reported that Martin Lindsay parked his Jaguar XJ below the building and an hour later there was a smell of burning plastic and some panels were warped beyond repair.
He said: “They’re going to have to think of something. I’m gutted. How can they let this continue?”
Here’s a photo of the Jaguar that the building allegedly melted.
City AM’s reported that temperatures in the bright spot hit 70 celsius, which is 158 Fahrenheit. Enough to fry an egg, as City AM’s Jim Waterson demonstrates on the nearby Viet Cafe, below.
The light beam, which depends on the sun’s elevation in the sky, lasts about two hours a day at this time of the year, the companies said. Preliminary modeling indicates it will be present for two to three weeks.
“We are consulting with local businesses and the City to address the issue in the short term while also evaluating longer-term solutions to ensure the issue cannot recur,” the companies said.
City workers walk through the shaft of intense sunlight reflected from the glass windows of the new “Walkie Talkie” tower in central London.
The developers may have to apply a finish to the outside of the glass that diffuses light rather than reflecting it at full intensity, said Koen Steemers, head of Cambridge University’s department of architecture.
“It probably wouldn’t affect the transparency of the glass, but would slightly scatter the reflected solar radiation,” he said.
The Walkie Talkie, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, is due to be completed next year. Tenants have signed up to occupy 52% of the building and contracts for a further 4% of the space are awaiting legal confirmation, Land Securities said on July 17.
The building is popular with tenants from the insurance industry because it’s close to the Lloyds of London building. Markel Corp., Ascot Underwriting Inc and Kiln Group Ltd. have signed deals as tenants.Financial Post – “New skyscraper in London’s financial district is casting light beams so intense it’s melting parked cars“
- London Walkie Talkie Owners Probe Tower’s Car-Melting Ray – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- New skyscraper in London’s financial district is casting light beams so intense it’s melting parked cars (business.financialpost.com)
- Towering new skyscraper in London blamed for melting cars, setting fires (grindtv.com)
- London skyscraper accused of melting Jaguar (sfgate.com)
- London skyscraper accused of melting Jaguar (kansascity.com)
- ‘Walkie-Talkie’ skyscraper melts car (bbc.co.uk)
- London driver says ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper reflections melted his car (abc.net.au)
- Glare from Walkie-Talkie skyscraper ‘melts Jaguar’ (itv.com)
- Walkie-Talkie tower ‘sun spot’ melts businessman’s Jaguar (standard.co.uk)