Architecture

London skyscraper reportedly "melts" parked Jaguar

London skyscraper reportedly "...
Light reflected from an 37-story skyscraper under-construction in London could be to blame for melting parts of a Jaguar parked nearby (Photo: Duncan via Flickr)
Light reflected from an 37-story skyscraper under-construction in London could be to blame for melting parts of a Jaguar parked nearby (Photo: Duncan via Flickr)
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The 20 Fenchurch Street skyscraper, dubbed Walkie-Talkie (Photo: David Holt via Flickr)
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The 20 Fenchurch Street skyscraper, dubbed Walkie-Talkie (Photo: David Holt via Flickr)
Light reflected from an 37-story skyscraper under-construction in London could be to blame for melting parts of a Jaguar parked nearby (Photo: Duncan via Flickr)
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Light reflected from an 37-story skyscraper under-construction in London could be to blame for melting parts of a Jaguar parked nearby (Photo: Duncan via Flickr)

Here's a side of modern architecture we don't see every day. According to a report by the BBC, light reflected from an 37-story skyscraper under-construction in London could be responsible for melting parts of a Jaguar parked nearby.

The case of the melting Jaguar took place in London last week when Mr Martin Lindsay discovered minor damage to his car, which had been parked for two hours in the vicinity of the curved glass facade of 20 Fenchurch Street (aka the "Walkie-Talkie" skyscraper) in the City of London.

Several sections of the car, including the wing mirror and badge, appear to have been melted by sunlight reflecting off the building, and the vehicle is said to have required a total of £946 (U$1,468) in repairs.

The 20 Fenchurch Street skyscraper, dubbed Walkie-Talkie (Photo: David Holt via Flickr)
The 20 Fenchurch Street skyscraper, dubbed Walkie-Talkie (Photo: David Holt via Flickr)

The building developers, Land Securities and Canary Wharf, have duly agreed to pay the bill.

The BBC also quotes the following joint statement from the developers:

"We are aware of concerns regarding the light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street and are looking into the matter. 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."

Source: BBC

17 comments
Leif Knutsen
What about people or birds that might encounter the moving, because of sun movement across the sky, focal point? At different tomes of the year that focal point will have a wide coverage. Apartment or store windows. Other parking places. Hither and yon.
Slowburn
This is in London it is going to be a problem what 3 or 4 days a year. ;-) But seriously. It looks like a stupid design to me and is ugly to boot. But do to the available energy from sunlight varies during the day it is conceivable that the problem areas are fairly small and putting up a solar thermal collector would turn a liability into an asset.
Bob Anderson
The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas has a similar problem due to its parabolic curved design. It imposes a "Death Ray" upon sunbathers at the pool, melting plastic cups and cooking human flesh.
Dave B13
Ditto Knutsen, Slowburn, Bob Anderson. Developer: Design me a building with a giant reflective concave surface facing south, it came to me in a dream. Architect: You betcha. SOLUTION: A. HAVE BOTH THESE STUPID HAZARDS TORN DOWN AT THE OWNERS EXPENSE AS A HEALTH HAZARD. B. PUT SOMETHING IN THE BUILDING CODEs SO YET ANOTHER STUPID THING TO DO WILL NOT GET APPROVED.
Heather Bowman
This seems to be the real cause of global warming. The city is always much hotter everywhere.
SciFi9000
errr... isn't light reflection from tall buildings part of the checklist items for the approval process??? It does'nt require a genius.. just someone to consider it... but anyway, now that the hazard is there, it's time to go into damage control and start putting up strategic shade sails/whatever (that won't themselves overheat)
John D Mc
You would think with all the computer simulation available these days they would have picked this up at the design stage,Just on my little house build they had summer and winter 3d pics of the shadows.
RexJ
I'm waiting for the scientific community to comment. Reflective light melts Jaguar?? Prove it happened - not may/could/hmm/might possibly have happened, but actually happened. prove that reflected light from that building melted car parts. Lock off and area and put another Jaguar, same model, in the same spot and leave it there until the exact same weather pattern causes the same light reflection to occur, and we'll all see.
Sheldon Cooper
As optical engineering is part of my job I suppose it's easy for me to criticise but the architect responsible clearly didn't have A level Physics or even GCSE! Every inquisitive child that's ever played with a shaving mirror would be aware of this effect. p.s. I don't know if 'slowburn' was being facetious but a solar collector at the focal point would have to be mobile in 2 dimensions to accommodate the movement of the sun or it would have to be a massive fixed structure to always cover the focal point: either of these alternatives might be just a little inconvenient for other people in the vicinity.
duh3000
Also sounds like Jaguar needs to upgrade their plastics :-)