Melting Cars: The “Walkie Scorchie” Building

The 525-foot skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street
in London, England earned the nickname “Walkie Talkie” thanks to its unique design. Slim at the bottom and wider at the top, locals
could not help noticing its similarities to a handheld, two-way radio. However the Walkie Talkie also has another
nickname- Walkie Scorchie. Construction began on the skyscraper in 2011
amidst controversy surrounding its appearance; it was complete enough for its first tenant
to take up residence in May of 2014. Construction finished in August of that same
year. However, long before completion, in September
of 2013, the director of Moderna Contracts, Martin Lindsay, parked his car across the
street from the south side of the Walkie Talkie building. His Jaguar XJ was in a parking space there
for an hour or two before he returned to find the plastic mirror, Jaguar emblem, and other
parts of his car had been melted by sunlight reflected from the Walkie Talkie. Lindasy told the BBC about his experience
returning to his car that day: “I was walking down the road and saw a photographer taking
photos and asked, ‘what’s happening?’ The photographer asked me ‘have you seen
that car? The owner won’t be happy.’ I said ‘I am the owner. Crikey, that’s awful.’” Fortunately for Lindsay, the construction
company owned up to the damage and left a note on his windshield asking for him to give
them a call. They paid for the repairs, costing £946,
or about $1,400. But Lindsay’s luxury Jaguar was not the
only casualty of the Walkie Talkie’s so-called ‘death ray.’ A van owned by heating and air conditioning
engineer Eddie Cannon received similar treatment. He stated of the inside of his van“… every bit of plastic on the left hand side
and everything on the dashboard has melted, including a bottle… that looks like it has
been baked.” Certain businesses on the southern side of
the skyscraper also sustained heat damage, including cracked tiles and singed carpets. One business owner even
fried an egg and toasted a baguette in the light from the building. So what’s going on here? The south side of the Walkie Talkie curves
into a concave shape, resulting in light reflected from a large area being concentrated into
a small one. Architect Rafael Viñoly designed the building,
knowing that the concave on the south side would have this problem. (In fact, another building he designed in
Las Vegas has a very similar problem scorching hotel guests, more on this in the Bonus Facts
below.) But he and his team did not expect the building
to produce nearly as much heat as it does at certain times on sunny days. Viñoly told the Guardian: “When it [the
problem] was spotted on a second design iteration, we judged the temperature was going to be
about 36 degrees [Celsius]… But it’s turned out to be more like 72 degrees
[Celsius].” (That would be about 161 degrees Fahrenheit.) After paying to fix the damages done by their
building, the owners of the Walkie Talkie installed a temporary sunshade in early 2014. This device consisted of a dark screen that
prevented the reflected sunlight from causing damage. The permanent fix consisted of installing
horizontal aluminum fins throughout the offending south side, which diminished the view a bit
from inside the building, but also killed the “death ray”. As mentioned, this isn’t the only time world
renowned architect Rafael Viñoly has dealt with the consequences of the Sun reflecting
off one of his buildings. He designed the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas which
similarly has a so-called “death ray” due to the concave shape. In this case, different areas on the pool
deck get affected throughout the day. In one reported instance, hotel guest Bill
Pintas had his hair singed while he was lounging by the pool and the “death ray” moved
over him. He ran from the area as it began burning him
and when he got back after the heat ray had moved on, a plastic bag holding a newspaper
next to where he’d been sitting had partially melted, which he took a picture of for documentation. He was told by hotel workers nearby that they’d
even seen disposable drink containers melt under the power of
this reflection.

100 thoughts on “Melting Cars: The “Walkie Scorchie” Building

  1. "Freedom Units" hahahaha!!! He's just put out that the United States is MORE TRADITIONAL than BRITAIN!!

  2. Any company hiring that person for a glas-facade building that results in such problems should be fined a heavy sum for their stupidity and he too should be fined for repeated and intentional heavy property damage and destruction of public property. (it is his job after all to take into consideration the impact his design has on the surrounding environment)

  3. I watch your videos as much for the content as I do for your exceptional speaking voice, and if you will permit them to filming you laugh a bit more frequently, I’ll subscribe. Sounds weird, I know, but there it is. Cheers!

  4. There are two kinds of countries in the world. Those who use metric & the 1 that put men on the moon.

  5. When i visited London i only viewed it from the broadside. That it was a giant window ice scraper.

  6. Say "TWENTY-eleven" instead; it's less syllables, just like years from previous centuries and "NINETEEN- _______ " or "EIGHTEEN- __________ ," etc.

  7. Fair Dinkum you wouldn't be able to have a building like that in Australia. Our roads melt in our hot climate as it is.

  8. That building designer definitely did that on purpose. He expected it to kill hundreds of people a day in the hopes of discovering the unbreakable superhero who would survive

  9. I wonder how much electricity you could generate if you had a solar panel in the line of the beam I know that some solar Farms use lots of mirrors to balance the sunlight to one spot that generates all the electricity

  10. So, no solution? IT's still just burning shit all the damn time? Nobody's started shooting windows out yet? Surprising.

  11. Why don't we harness that for energy for something ? Like beam it at some water to boil it and turn a turbine o.o…

  12. Freedom units? That's what the metric system is, it's just American business people are too dumb to realize they should join EVERY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH (God forbid they have to learn something).

  13. This can be used as evidence to support that global warming is the result of solar changes, and not man made after all. im sure their math worked out with the figures of solar output they were given, and yet its much higher, by twice their projections.

  14. Giant death ray building with movable glass focuses light onto solar panel across the street. Climate solved.

  15. So you "accidentally" built a heat ray…twice…and the second one was more powerful than the first. Uh-huh…We're on to you, Rafael…

  16. Can you find out why in the UK people in the armed forces pronounce the rank “leftenant” instead of lieutenant?

  17. "Trust me. I'm an idiot engineer that designs cartoon buildings that doubles as a death ray…
    Who let this joker build that monstrosity?

  18. all these over-egoed architects are rushing to create strange shapes and leaning towers so they'll maybe go down in history as "the Next Frank Lloyd Wright" or "the new Mies Van Der Rohe", but we end up with jokes in the sky.

  19. pffft should have just setup a zone for cooking using the sun, i mean, hey, a nice sun grilled steak for lunch… (solar ovens in that kinda concentrated heat..holy shit..)

  20. It would seem to me that a cleaver person would find away to use this phenomena to produce some power to be used for the local area.

  21. You see, a great troll dedicate his whole life to it.

    Rafael Viñoly is a great troll.

    Also he avenged every frickin' ant who died by that sadistic child.

  22. I hope the architects laughed like lunatics, because that's the done thing when you build a death ray…. you have to have a good megalomeniacle chuckle…

  23. I worked in a building that did something similar, but not anywhere near this badly. When approaching the building from the front, there was always this one area in the walkway that was about 95 degrees F.

  24. One might be able to place heat accumulators in front of these buildings and collect some free energy….

  25. “Freedom Units!” ? As an American who likes the metric system, I’m so going to use that from now on.

  26. Architect: This is going to Look Great!!
    Engineer: Hey you Probably shouldn't do it that way.
    Architect: It'll Look GREAT I thought I already told you?

  27. Ooh when do we bring him to Toronto! Canada loves investing big money in obviously retarded ideas like this! Can't wait!

  28. Worst thing is that this is the ugliest tall building in London. It's like some sort of ingrowing toenail…….nasty.

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