Skyscraper Melting Cars: 'Walkie Talkie' Sunlight Reflections too Strong

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 06:24 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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A skyscraper, nicknamed "Walkie Talkie," is reportedly melting cars in London and blinding residents because of strong reflections of sunlight off the structure.

On Tuesday, a British property developer said it was investigating allegations that the glass facade of 20 Fenchurch Street was responsible for melting the side of a businessman's luxury Jaguar car, the Associated Press reported.

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Londoners have been shielding their eyes from the blinding beams of sunlight reflected off the skyscraper, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie because of its flared shape, while several drivers have complained that the beam has melted parts of their vehicles.

Local businessman Martin Lindsay said he was distraught when he returned to his parked Jaguar XJ near the tower in London's financial district to find the car's panels had warped along one side, while the wing mirror and Jaguar emblem on the front of the car had melted.

"On the windscreen, there was a note from the construction company saying 'your car's buckled, could you give us a call?'" Lindsay told the BBC.

He "could not believe" the extent of the damage, he added.

Developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group have apologised and paid for the damage, while three car parking spaces near the tower have been taken out of use.

Eddie Cannon, a heating and air conditioning engineer, said the so-called "death ray" had melted parts of his van.

"The van looks a total mess -- every bit of plastic on the left hand side and everything on the dashboard has melted, including a bottle of Lucozade that looks like it has been baked," he told the City A.M. newspaper.

The skyscraper developers said in a statement: "We are taking the issue of light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street seriously, and are looking into the matter as a priority."

The companies are "evaluating longer-term solutions" while consulting with local businesses to address the issue in the meantime, they added.

Physicists have suggested that the concave shape of the "walkie-talkie" is responsible for the problem, focusing sunlight into a concentrated beam.

The Times newspaper said that temperatures near the tower exceeded 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) on Monday.

The skyscraper developers said the phenomenon was caused by "the current elevation of the sun in the sky", and that as temperatures cool when autumn begins the problem should disappear.

"It currently lasts for approximately two hours per day, with initial modeling suggesting that it will be present for approximately two to three weeks," they said.

The skyscraper – a 37-floor office block that should be completed by March 2014 – has been met with mixed reactions in London due to its design, which some have characterized as a squat shape that distorts the city skyline.

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