London pedestrians have reported that a newly-built skyscraper is melting cars and bicycles with light reflected from its windows. The 37-story building, nicknamed the “Walkie Talkie” for its undulating, phone-like design, is covered by flat mirrors that focus and reflect intense light and heat onto a short stretch of sidewalk.
Several residents have suffered property damage, including a Jaguar owner whose car had its mirrors and panels melted and its frame buckled, and several cyclists whose bike seats were ruined by the harsh rays. Construction companies Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group have already compensated affected residents for any damage, and are collaborating with London city officials to cut down on the glare problem.
The blinding light emanates from the building for several hours a day, when the sun is in a particular position in the sky. Drivers and pedestrians have complained about poor visibility in the area, which has experienced temperatures of more than 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Physicists from London’s Institute of Physics helped identify the source of the problem, and offered several solutions for the construction firms. The cheapest option would be to coat the windows in a non-reflective covering that would cut down on the amount of light bouncing off the building. Another, more expensive choice would entail adjusting the windows to a position that does not focus light in one spot.