Gallery: Glare from ‘Walkie Talkie’ Skyscraper Melts Parked Cars in Lon...


Developers of the unusually-shaped 525-foot, £200 million skyscraper under construction at 20 Fenchurch Street, London, are scrambling to find a solution after it was determined that glare from the building is causing cars to melt. Rafael Viñoly’s distinctively curved ‘Walkie Talkie’ building creates a beam of concentrated sunlight that is not only uncomfortable for pedestrians below – it left one man’s Jaguar XJ with warped side panels and a “smell of burning plastic” after the car was parked within the beam’s reach for just one hour.

Image (cc) [Duncan] on Flickr

Architect Rafael Viñoly, who appears to have learned nothing from the errors of Frank Gehry, designed the landmark ‘Walkie Talkie’ structure “to respect the city’s historic character, following the contour of the river… while further contributing to the evolution of the high-rise building type.” And in doing so, he created a structure that curves elegantly upwards and outwards, with a publicly accessible skygarden planned for the rooftop.

While the east and west facades of the building feature vertical louvers that shutter the sunlight, and subsequently reduce the chance of aggressive reflections, the north and south elevations feature extensive glazing intended to maximize skyline views. However, these concave, glazed facades act “like a huge lens,” explained David Banks to the Independent, after experiencing the force of the intense beam, “It is magnifying the sunbeam. It’s like trying to fry ants with a magnifying glass.”

Joint developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf are currently working to find a solution to the building’s scorching problem. As a “precautionary measure” three parking spots have been blocked off in an effort to prevent any other unsuspecting drivers from incurring a melted vehicle.

20 Fenchurch Street, now nicknamed “Walkie Scorchie,” is due for completion in May 2014.

Via The Independent

Lead Image (cc) [Duncan], Other images (cc) STUART_BURNS1, Jon Dickens


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  1. Derek Lessard September 3, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    just put some kind of solar generator in place of the 3 parking spaces. Now the architect can say it was his plan all along to create green energy

  2. ygogolak September 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    \”…who appears to have learned nothing from the errors of Frank Gehry,\”

    He didn\’t even have to look that far. It happened at the Vdara hotel in Vegas that they designed.

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