London Tower Too Hot for Neighborhood

London Tower Too Hot for Neighborhood

Commercial News » Europe Commercial News Edition | By WPJ Staff | September 3, 2013 11:51 AM ET

Developers of one of London's most identifiable new skyscrapers are contemplating changes to the design after light reflected from the façade apparently melted cars parked in front of the building.

Several car owners have complained of damages. Martin Lindsay said light bouncing off the building, widely known as the "Walkie Talkie," warped the panels of his Jaguar.

"We are taking the issue of light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street seriously, and are looking into the matter as a priority," Land Securities and Canary Wharf said in a joint statement.

The hazard of reflections off skyscrapers is not a new issue. The developers of Museum Tower in Dallas are in a long-running dispute with neighbors, including the Nasher Sculpture Center, who have complained about glare from the skyscraper.

In 2010, visitors to the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas complained of a "death ray" reflecting from the tower that was strong enough to melt plastic bags.

The Walkie Talkie, designed by Rafael Viñoly, features a glass façade and a distinctive top-heavy form, which reflects sunlight downward.

"The phenomenon is caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky," Land Securities and Canary Wharf said "It currently lasts for approximately two hours per day, with initial modelling suggesting that it will be present for approximately two to three weeks."

The developers said they have suspended parking in several areas while they investigate the problem. Possible solutions include a coating for the windows to reduce glare.

"As responsible developers we are making every effort to keep local businesses informed and we have communicated with them regularly since the issue first appeared," the developers said.

In July, the developers announced the building is half-leased.

Video: Skyscraper Melting Cars

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