New Meaning To The Words “Towering Inferno”
September 8, 2013

New Meaning To The Words “Towering Inferno”

Every one knows that the heat of the sun reflecting off metal or glass can be down right hot to the touch. On a bright sunny day, you open your car door and feel the heat blast in your face. You sit on the seats and, ouch, almost burns your butt.

Well, recently the sun went a step further in London. While parked outside of a glass skyscraper, a Jaguar XJ owned by Martin Lindsay suffered damage to parts of the car from the reflecting sun’s rays. Body panels were warped, while the wing mirror and emblem were melted.

Mr. Lindsay is the director of a tiling company and parked his Jaguar near the building. It had only been there for an hour when he returned. People in the immediate area said they could smell burning plastic. Not only Mr. Lindsay’s car had been damaged, but a bicycle and a van had also been affected by the reflected sun’s rays from this 37-story building.

After the incident, a property developer was investigating the situation from the sun melting the side of the Jaguar. People walking nearby have complained about the blinding glare that reflects off the building at 20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie. Several other drivers have also complained about melted parts to their vehicles when they park near the building.

A combination of the location, height and shape of the Walkie Talkie building has created some unrest amongst pedestrians, as well as people who park their cars on an adjacent block. The intense sunlight creates an enormous amount of heat on this block, which in turn, has resulted in vehicle body parts becoming melted or damaged.

In a statement from the developers, Land Securities and Canary Wharf, “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.” They also have apologized to Mr. Lindsay and have agreed to repair his Jaguar.

The building itself is only half completed and already new unofficial nicknames are popping up; like “Walkie Scorchie,” and “fry scraper.” Journalists and photographers crowded outside the building, and one reporter put an egg in a frying pan, placed it in the direct sunlight, where it actually cooked.

Even local shop owners have complained that the “death ray” from the reflected sun has damaged their paintwork, singed their doormats, and their tiles are being smashed.

The developers have also stated, “We are taking the issue of light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street seriously, and are looking into the matter as a priority.” A temporary scaffold screen would be placed on the building within 24 hours. They added, “We are also continuing to evaluate longer-term solutions to ensure this issue does not recur in future.”

Physicists have suggested the shape of the building is the root cause for the problem. It focuses the sun’s rays into a concentrated beam. The developers say the problem only lasts two hours a day and once autumn approaches in two or three weeks, the problem will disappear completely.

Image Credit: Martin Lindsay

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