Bid to block car-melting beam from London's 'Fryscraper'

Sunlight is reflected from the Walkie Talkie tower in central London. The skyscraper reflects sunlight at such intense levels that it warped panels and melted mirrors on a parked car.
Sunlight is reflected from the Walkie Talkie tower in central London. The skyscraper reflects sunlight at such intense levels that it warped panels and melted mirrors on a parked car. Photo: Reuters

The owners of the 37-storey skyscraper in the City of London financial district known as the Walkie Talkie are seeking permission to mount sun-shading gear to block a car-melting light beam cast by the tower.

Land Securities Group and Canary Wharf Group submitted a planning application to the City of London to install shades called "brise soleil" between storeys three and 34 on the 20 Fenchurch Street tower, the companies said a statement.

The fix will cost in the "single digit millions" of pounds and take about six months to install, according to the companies.

The 'walkie talkie' skyscraper in London.
The 'walkie talkie' skyscraper in London. Photo: AFP

The beam caused by the curved skyscraper concentrating the sun's rays was measured at more than 110 degrees Celsius in September and melted parts of parked cars. The spot turned into an overnight tourist attraction, with one man trying to fry an egg in it when city temperatures hit 29 Celsius. The effect lasted for several weeks.

Local media re-nicknamed the building "Fryscraper" and "Walkie Scorchie." The owners draped a black curtain over the top third of one side of the building as a temporary solution.

The spot turned into an overnight tourist attraction, with one man trying to fry an egg in it when city temperatures hit 29 Celsius.

The building, which benefits from its proximity to the Lloyds of London insurance market, is 64 per cent leased, according to the statement. Deals for another 23 per cent are awaiting legal confirmation.

Tenants that have signed leases include RSA Insurance Group and units of Liberty Mutual Insurance, according to Land Securities' website.

The 155-metre building, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, is due to be completed in June. The higher floors are larger than those below, creating more space on less land. The curved glass slants down toward the street and creates the magnifying effect, which was also blamed for setting fire to a doormat at a nearby barber shop.

Bloomberg

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