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Tuesday22 August 2017

Screen solution for Walkie Talkie sunburn

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Developers act after building blame for starting fires and melting cars

The developers behind the Walkie Talkie are putting up a temporary screen to protect cars, shops and people from the rays of the sun reflected off the building.

The 37-storey tower in the City of London designed by Rafael Viñoly is being blamed for melting people’s cars, bicycle seats and causing fires at nearby businesses.

Pedestrians have even stopped off to see if they can fry an egg in the heat spot on Eastcheap which the developers claim is being caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky.

“It currently lasts for approximately two hours per day with initial modelling suggesting that it will be present for approximately 2-3 weeks,” a statement from Land Securities and Canary Wharf said.

To combat the problem, the developer said it would complete work on a temporary screen today.

“This solution should minimise the impact on the local area over the next 2-3 weeks, after which time the phenomenon is expected to have disappeared.”

It said three parking bays suspended earlier in the week would remain out of action. “We are also evaluating longer-term solutions to ensure the issue cannot recur in the future.”

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Readers' comments (9)

  • corbs glasses

    because the phenomenon wont reappear next year when the sun is in the same position in the sky?

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  • Christopher  Harvey AIA

    This is a fairly complex problem, without an easy solution. If you recall, the troublesome facade panels were not installed in the springtime, and there was no mention of this issue. It is possible that we might have an annual recurrence of this phenomenon twice a year, in the spring and autumn. The screen is a temporary solution, as placing film on the panels may not be sufficient (see the architect's project in Las Vegas). Most tall buildings are required to do wind tunnel testing to assess ground level pedestrian issues, it is interesting that there is no mention of testing for day lighting issues that might arise from the geometry of the facade. It is also interesting that facade geometries of this type have been constructed before, but usually surrounded by other screening buildings (cluster) where such issues are minimized. It is interesting how the world's press have also covered the story as well. Some interesting precedents have been set here...

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  • I've just had a stroll down to Eastcheap, and that glare is quite something.

    The screen, such as it is, is completely inadequate: a few feet of scaffolding to 1st floor height with some netting draped over it. Perhaps they'll have something more substantial in place by the end of the day, but there doesn't appear to be much activity currently being directed toward that end.

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  • Here is a solution:
    there must be some sort of window washing gantry, modify this to be a moving, programmed screen on the facade. It would only need to set to the sun's azimuth. A couple of million would do it, plus my fee.

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  • while this is a problem in this location for about 2 weeks, won’t the “hotspot” just move somewhere else? Like into someone else’s office / shop window?! Maybe they didn’t expect it to be so sunny in London…

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  • Actually, considering the many ill effects of autos on the built environment and its occupants, I'd like to see *more* buildings attack cars. It's about time one fought back in self-defense.

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  • What an awful building...!

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  • A quick thought!

    What about commissioning a new cool (heat-resistant) form of [self-financing and temporarily acting] advertisement banner installation, which inventively/passively illuminates the advertisements over the particular fortnight that causes the problem or on all 3 seasonal fortnights as predicted by Christopher above - as installed on however many of the foreground Victorian buildings’ attics it takes to foil the ray.

    Look at this here on Google Streetview: http://goo.gl/maps/VSq1s

    The potential host buildings at street level are crying out to advertise. Let’s kill ‘two birds (or more) with one stone’, i.e. let the street advertise in mid-air and the stakeholders below agree to banish the street level bill-posting for good, et viola, a beautiful street once again.

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  • And let RV rightly design it!

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