Melting Cars: The "Walkie Scorchie" Building | Summary and Q&A

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May 19, 2019
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Melting Cars: The "Walkie Scorchie" Building

TL;DR

The Walkie Talkie building in London, nicknamed "Walkie Scorchie," caused damage to cars, vans, and businesses due to its concave design reflecting sunlight, reaching temperatures of up to 161 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the Walkie Talkie building earn its nickname "Walkie Scorchie"?

The Walkie Talkie building earned the nickname "Walkie Scorchie" because its concave shape caused the reflection of sunlight to reach high temperatures, leading to damage to cars, vans, and businesses.

Q: What damage did the sunlight reflection from the Walkie Talkie building cause?

The sunlight reflection from the Walkie Talkie building caused melting of car parts, including plastic mirrors and emblems. It also damaged the interior of a van, melting plastic surfaces and even baking a bottle. Businesses experienced cracked tiles and singed carpets.

Q: How did the architect address the sunlight reflection issue?

After paying for the damages, the owners of the Walkie Talkie building installed a temporary sunshade to prevent further damage. The permanent solution involved installing horizontal aluminum fins on the concave side of the building, reducing the reflected sunlight's intensity.

Q: Has the architect, Rafael Viñoly, encountered similar issues with sunlight reflection in other buildings?

Yes, Rafael Viñoly also designed the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas, which experienced a similar "death ray" phenomenon due to its concave shape. Hotel guests reported instances of hair singeing and objects melting under the intense reflection.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Walkie Talkie building in London, known for its unique design, reflected sunlight in a concentrated area, causing damage to nearby cars and businesses.

  • Construction on the building started in 2011, and it was completed in 2014.

  • The architect, Rafael Viñoly, was aware of the potential sunlight reflection issue but underestimated the heat produced, leading to damage and the need for a permanent sunshade solution.

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