'Walkie Talkie' is the nickname Londoners have given to the City skyline's latest addition, the almost-finished skyscraper near Saint Paul's Cathedral designed by Uruguayan top architect Rafael Viñoly. Due to be completed by March 2014, the trapezoidal building has already ended up under the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
Few days ago, Martin Lindsay, the unlucky owner of a flashy Jaguar, made the mistake of parking his vehicle near the Walkie-Talkie, which resulted in an incredible incident. In the matter of a couple of hours, some of the car's metal parts were completely melted by the light reflecting on the skyscraper.
Mr. Lindsay, after reporting the issue to the authorities, received £1,000 to get the parts fixed, as well as an apology from the project's developers. At the moment, as a precautionary measure to avoid similar incidents, the City of London has agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area while investigating the situation further.
They better hurry up, as the Jaguar incident doesn't seem to be the only damage caused by the skyscraper. A barber has reported that his shop's carpet was set on fire by the reflected light, London news site City A.M. have complained that tiles on their doorstep had shattered because of the heat, and many others have been moaning about their vehicle's paint coming off after parking near the building.
James Keaveney from the University of Durham's Atomic and Molecular Physics department has explained that the problem lays in the building's design: "It's a concave shape, so it's going to have a focusing effect on the light that is reflected from it. There's a power station in Spain that works on this principle: they have an array of mirrors that focuses light into a central pillar — if it's 60 degrees Celsius, you could get solar panels and get some energy out of it."