Is This London Skyscraper A Death Ray, Or Merely Poorly Designed?

By Nick Venable | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

walkie talkie towerEvil villains, this one is for you. You no longer need to bother with trying to develop a death ray or conspiring with aliens for your death ray needs. All you need to do is buy some land and build yourself a skyscrraper to do your bidding for you. Such is the case with the still-unfinished 37-story building at 20 Fenchurch St. in London, which is responsible for melting cars and damaging nearby buildings, all with the power of its design.

Not the first victim of the intense sunlight reflecting off of the building, Martin Lindsay is the latest. He recently parked his car in the “danger zone,” and when he returned two hours later, he was stunned to find parts of his car, a Jaguar XJ, had melted in the heat. No one wants to come back and find that on their hooptie car, much less a nice one.

“I was walking down the road,” Lindsay said, “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.'” Not even a tad of over-exaggeration going on there. He continued, “On the windscreen, there was a note from the construction company saying, ‘Your car’s buckled. Could you give us a call?'” Below is a picture of his warped car door.


The skycraper’s developers, Land Securities and Canary Wharf, released a press statement saying, “We are aware of concerns regarding the light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch St. and are looking into the matter.” They have put three parking bays in the line of fire out of commission, and they agreed to pay for the car’s damages. They say the “phenomenon” is caused by the sun’s position in the sky for two hours a day, and is expected to last up to three weeks.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find any proof that Land Securities and Canary Wharf had initially intended to build a gigantic magnifying glass, but this design, which has earned the building comparisons to a walkie-talkie, is a fine substitute.

If you can imagine, more people have also been affected by the building’s glare. Ali Akay, who works at Re Style barbers, said that beams of light reflected off of the building have started a small fire on his doormat. “Customers are not going to come in if there is a fire in the front of the door,” he said. There is something so amazing in the matter-of-factness about that statement. At the Viet Cafe next door, Diana Pham claims building tile had broken and that paint had “bobbled” in the heat.

The developers are “consulting with local businesses and the City to address the issue in the short-term, while also evaluating longer-term solutions to ensure the issue cannot recur in the future.”

What will they do? Construct a huge shade to put up at certain times of year? Paint over the windows? Or will they just declare a slow war and build a bunch of different buildings designed the same way, perilously close to important buildings? Hopefully they’ll get the MythBusters involved.

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