New York by Gehry’s Insanely Shiny Facade Sets Fire to Local Buildings

by , 04/01/11
filed under: Architecture

New York By Gehry Ignites Nearby Local Buildings, 8 Spruce Street, Beekman Towers, Gehry buildings, shiny gehry buildings, titanium skin, gehry skin, gehry building sets fire

Critics raved when Frank Gehry’s soaring residential tower at 8 Spruce Street opened in February, but they may want to rethink their praise for the glimmering steel facade. The ‘New York by Gehry’ building is so incredibly reflective that it has set fire on more than one occasion to surrounding buildings. The New York Fire Department reported that the concentrated reflections from the shiny stainless steel are so hot that they caused fires on the roofs of several nearby buildings over the course of the last few weeks, including the Verizon Tower (shown below), Pace University and New York Downtown Hospital. Fortunately, no one was injured during any of the incidents.

New York By Gehry Ignites Nearby Local Buildings, 8 Spruce Street, Beekman Towers, Gehry buildings, shiny gehry buildings, titanium skin, gehry skin, gehry building sets fire

At a press conference yesterday, the NYC Fire Commissioner told reporters that a vinyl picnic table umbrella on a roof deck at Pace started to melt from the heat, and ultimately set fire to the deck. Students quickly noticed the wilting umbrella and called 911. A custodian used a fire extinguisher to small blaze, and the damage was contained to the deck area, which is now closed until further notice. The Verizon building suffered a larger fire, as there were no humans in the building to detect early signs.

At the press conference, local residents, Pace students, and Verizon employees all expressed concern over the building’s glare. “It’s really quite dangerous,” said Christina Black, a junior at Pace. “I used to study on that deck all the time, but the heat from the Gehry building, even in the winter, has made it really uncomfortable. I’m glad I wasn’t up there when it caught fire!”

This isn’t the first time that one of Gehry’s shiny steel buildings has had this problem. His Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles has a similar metal clad exterior, and it created reflections in a manner similar to a parabolic mirror. And predictably, similar problems were also reported by neighbors of his shimmering, titanium-clad McMansion in Los Angeles.The resulting heat made surrounding buildings so unbearably hot that the building had to be sandblasted to reduce glare. Now, some concerned citizens in NY are calling for the Gehry residence to get the same treatment. The Fire Chief said that the property managers were looking into a solution.



  1. mgoldberg December 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm
    Gehry is a bunch of incompetent door men, management, and a total failure. I moved in during the Summer, was promised amenities, only to find out you have to shell out $300 per person to access the amenities. The amenities were supposed to be opened by July 1st, they finally decided to open August and it was still under construction. Then you get the weed smokers who incessantly stay up all hours of night, 3AM-5AM is the prime time for weed smokers in the building, seeping through the cracks of the apartment. Made several complaints to management to no avail. Management is unavailable and at best, they will contact you after three weeks. Loud, drunkards throwing up on elevators, the smell of puke mixed in with some Lysol or other...NOT PLEASANT! A big huge surprise when I was home and heard a loud crash of glass on the ground! It turned out to be a few glass bottles dropped from one of the units onto the kids playground! Can you believe that! A week later they decide to install cameras around the perimeter of the building to find out who dropped glass bottles outside of their window(You'd think they would already have enough money to install a few cameras before an incident occurs). Basically, they are rotten to the core, money greedy( Mind you, you pay $3,000 a month for rent plus the $300 cost of amenities, for a whole lot of issues). The woman that lives upstairs, I here her high heels every morning, walls are paper thin! They also have great pet owners who allow their pets to take dumps inside the common areas, and they pee all over the place, watch where you step! These people who live here are so classy that they allow their dogs to relieve themselves everywhere within the building, and then drop glass bottles outside their windows (purposely, I heard it from my apartment three of them!)..The nerve! Management turns a blind eye even to illegal sub-letting. And there are illegal sub-letters, posing a danger!!!
  2. jstaahl April 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    @Ortopio its 10 years ago man! We should never ever mention a building burning again.
  3. Ortopio April 2, 2011 at 1:01 am
    Idiotic joke after 9/11
  4. Jessica Dailey April 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm
    @emgee and @umbrian it was indeed an April Fool's joke! We are quite proud of our Photoshopping skills!
  5. Umbrian April 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm
    @emgee - I foolishly thought it was an April Fools joke in poor taste. But now that I see that the NYC Fire Commissioner took it seriously enough to give a press conference about it (which, oddly, only Inhabitat was invited), I can see that the joke is on me.
  6. emgee April 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm
    @Umbrian, then why did bring it up? Also: no humans in the Verizon building. Win.
  7. Umbrian April 1, 2011 at 3:40 am
    'Fortunately, no one was injured during any of the incidents.' Nothing at all like 9/11 then. Sheesh.
  8. jstnmlr April 1, 2011 at 3:10 am
    Photoshopped photos of the fires don't lend credibility to the story...
  9. katepleban April 1, 2011 at 2:17 am
    Good one April fool!