It's All Melty: Why Innovative Building Structure Matters To Brits

Innovative building design sounds like a great idea, melding art with structure and beautifying the surroundings. London's skyscraper-in-progress, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie building, is just that structure. Designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, the building stands 525 feet tall and is clad in highly-reflective glass.  

It sounds like the start of a bad joke: A man parks his Jaguar outside a skyscraper...

In this case, the man was Londoner Martin Lindsay and he parked outside the Walkie Talkie building in Central London's Eastcheap recently. The Jaguar sat parked for approximately one hour, and Lindsay returned to the smell of burning plastic and damaged parts.

Walkie Talkie Building Under ConstructionWalkie Talkie Building Under Construction

 Image: Harry Wood

The £200 million building, still under construction, reflects light from its concave glass surface, melting plastic from dozens of stories in the sky. London, not known for days of blazing sunshine, rarely melts anything.

The BBC first reported the story. The black luxury car’s side mirror, side panels, and the iconic Jaguar badge were warped from the sun. Mr. Lindsay discovered the damage when he saw someone photographing the car.

The photographer stated to Lindsay, "Have you seen that car? The owner won’t be happy."

Lindsay wasn’t. Someone for the construction company working on the Walkie Talkie building had left a note on the windshield, fingering the innovative building design as the vandal.

Unmelted Jaguar XJUnmelted Jaguar XJ

 Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Walkie Talkie building, renamed "Walkie Scorchie" by locals, boasts a design that creates more width towards the top of the building than at the bottom. The City of London closed three parking stalls in the area that seem particularly affected by the blast of sun.

Developers Land Security and Canary Wharf admit the building has an unfortunate tendency to focus sunlight. The companies think the building behaves this way for about two hours per day, two or three weeks per year. At least, that is their best guess.

The company paid to repair Mr. Lindsay’s car, but still needs to find a solution to the building’s penchant for cooking cars. There are also concerns about the impact of the focused light on exposed skin.  

Vauxhall Vivaro VanVauxhall Vivaro Van

 Image: Wikimedia Commons

Eddie Cannon, an HVAC engineer, had his Vauxhall Vivaro van suffer a similar fate the day prior. Cannon reported every bit of plastic on the left side and everything on the dashboard inside had melted.

"It just looks baked," Cannon stated.

Source: BBC News