London’s newest skyscraper, commonly known as the Walkie Talkie for its shape, is an excellent addition to the city’s skyline, but it’s causing plenty of problems down on the street level. Specifically, sunlight is being reflected from the building’s curved glass exterior down to the sidewalk, and the resulting heat is extreme enough to melt cars in its path.
The BBC reports that last Thursday, a London man parked his Jaguar in front of the Walkie Talkie building and returned two hours later to find that the mirror and panels had melted in the furnace created by the building’s reflection. As a result, the City of London has banned parking in the building’s vicinity as it attempts to find a solution to the problem.
"We are aware of concerns regarding the light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch St. and are looking into the matter,” developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf said in a joint statement. "As a precautionary measure, the City of London has agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area which may be affected while we investigate the situation further."
The 37-story building, which is still under construction at 20 Fenchurch, is features a large curved glass exterior that, during a certain time of day, reflects and amplifies the sunlight, sending a wave of extreme heat down to the street level. The BBC claims that temperatures in the building’s reflection can reach up to 196 degrees Fahrenheit, more than enough to soften and melt various plastics. According to the Daily Mail, the extreme heat lasts for two hours every day and can be expected to continue for at least two more weeks as the sun changes positions in the sky.
â€” BBC London Newsroom (@BBCLondonNews) September 2, 2013
But it isn’t just cars that have been affected by the Walkie Talkie building. The Daily Mail reports that bicycles have been damaged by the heat ray, residents of nearby buildings described damage to interior carpets and tiling, and pedestrians in the area have complained to multiple news outlets about the uncomfortable heart. James Graham, who works at a recruiting firm near the building, told Bloomberg that walking through the beam of light was “like walking through a wall of heat.”
Reporters at London’s City AM even fried an egg in the building’s heat ray, and promptly ate it on a roll as part of a publicity stunt to showcase the Walkie Talkie building’s destructive reflective properties.
â€” Tara Mulholland (@tara_mulholland) September 3, 2013