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Building Melts Car 151

eionmac writes "A new London skyscraper dubbed the 'Walkie Talkie' has been blamed for reflecting light which melted parts of a car parked on a nearby street."
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Building Melts Car

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  • by kervin ( 64171 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:51AM (#44743289) Homepage

    What a world... what a world...

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:54AM (#44743307) Homepage Journal

    The Disney Concert Hall actually had to be "brushed". It was originally too shiny, and focused the sunlight in places. They had to give it a brushed finish after the fact to avoid this. []

    • by Anonymous Coward

      At least at Disney Concert hall the developers claimed that they had anticipated the problem but that the finished building was a little different then designed*. Am wondering if they did mean to aim it at the sky or if they tried to make the focual point of the "mirror" somewhere in the air.

      *BTW, Am tried of CAD "engineers" who never gotten grease under their figure nails, because they don't know how to put in proper tolerances for real life.

      Catcha: Shameful

    • by Tarlus ( 1000874 )

      There were many legitimate concerns about the Disney Concert Hall's reflectiveness, though I don't believe car-melting was one of them.

    • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @07:18AM (#44744937)

      Locally, I worked in a building that had an IBM mainframe on the 9th floor. A large building erected across the river had an an angled base and reflective sides and about 4 in the afternoon, the focal point was right on us. Had to install solar film to keep from overheating.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      There's also the "death ray" [] in Las Vegas caused by a concave building with lots of reflective glass.

      • by bmk67 ( 971394 )

        Conveniently, both are designed by the same architect.

        No, the architect was not Dr. Evil.

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          But I can't help picturing a lavish architect's office with a shark tank in the background.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:57AM (#44743331)

    If you say "Building melts car," I expect to see a photo of an entire car melted. Seriously.

  • Firies will tell you (Score:3, Informative)

    by mynamestolen ( 2566945 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @12:59AM (#44743343)
    that it's not uncommon for plastic bottles of water to cause fires when the sun's rays are focussed through them. Don't leave your bottles in the sun.
  • From TFA: "...they looked into the matter...".
  • No! (Score:5, Funny)

    by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @01:04AM (#44743373) Journal
    Dammit, I told them to angle the mirrored glass like I said! Parliament should be in flames and now the authorities have been alerted. They've failed me for the last time!
  • This has been a problem with other big convex glass buildings. A hotel in Vegas had this problem.

    Another no-no is building tall buildings where the ground floor level is mostly columns with a small enclosed lobby. Some of the air hitting the building face is forced through the columned area. In a windy area this can produce high wind speeds. MIT's Green Building had this problem until more buildings were built around it.

    • I'm pretty sure you meant "big concave glass buildings".

    • This has been a problem with other big convex glass buildings.

      The problem with biconvex buildings is that they roll away. (I think you meant 'concave []')

    • by ab8ten ( 551673 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @03:00AM (#44743963)
      Yep. That hotel in Vegas, The Vdara, was designed by Rafael Vinoly. The London building was designed by..... Yep. Rafael Vinoly. No joke.
      • I actually stayed at this place and happened to be sitting in the wrong spot on the pool deck soon after it opened. I quickly found another spot. Hard to believe the same guy would screw up the SAME WAY again.

        • I actually stayed at this place and happened to be sitting in the wrong spot on the pool deck soon after it opened. I quickly found another spot. Hard to believe the same guy would screw up the SAME WAY again.

          Hey, if you can't be right, you can at least be consistent.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Seriously? Oh my.

        This guy just wants to watch the world burn. Literally.

      • by Malc ( 1751 )

        He must have thought it wouldn't be a problem in London, what with all the pea soupers and drizzle.

        • by Bogis ( 3026207 )
          Pea Soupers??? Welcome back from the 1950s bro. You and HG Wells must have just missed each other. :)
          • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

            Kids these days. No respect for your elders. Now, get the hell off his lawn.

          • by Malc ( 1751 )

            As a Londoner myself, I think I'm allowed to take the piss out of Americans who habitually bring up that stereotype, even though it's blatantly not true. As somebody who's lived in a few places around the world, my chief complaints about the weather are that it doesn't get hot enough in summer and the winters are pretty mild and boring too! It doesn't stop the locals whinging like a bunch of babies.

      • Maybe he's the world's most sophisticated and patient pyromaniac?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A better statement of the problem is: if you're going to hire a architect from the southern hemisphere to build a building with a big convex glass exterior, make sure he realizes that north of the equator the concave side should face north.

      • Yeah, because the sun never shines from the north up here! It's complete misconceptions like this that cause these issues.

        • And also for morning sun, bedrooms should face east, rather than west as in the Southern Hemisphere.

          Had you going for a second?

        • ....It doesn't. That's why moss tends grows on the north side of trees here in the northern hemisphere.

    • Missed opportunity for solar power collection, if you ask me. Instead of not building curved structures, curve away but do so in a manner that's actually useful and shows some foresight. It's not like we haven't given you ray-tracing technology to make pretty print outs of the damn designs anyway; Use it to map the paths of the sun too you damn dirty apes.

  • Worst headline ever.

  • This is what happens when someone takes the concept of an Ice Cream Truck too literally.

  • by danceswithtrees ( 968154 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @01:22AM (#44743471)

    Reminded me of this article a couple years back: []

    • by ab8ten ( 551673 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @03:01AM (#44743971)
      Same architect as the London tower :-D
      • You'd think that they'd either smack the guy and transfer him to designing solar-thermal power systems, or smack the guy and have IT quietly remove all shiny materials from the materials library of his CAD program of choice... Especially after two "Hey, let's build a bloody gigantic concave parabolic reflector in the middle of a crowded area" incidents.
  • Cringe! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This building looks exactly like the facetted mirrors for solar power plants. Some idiot probably considered it cute to evoke that image. What's next? Evoking the toppling tower of Pisa in Kyoto?

    How can one be an architect and not recognize the cases where optical similarities imply physical ones?

    • Because they are so up their own arse that they think the derisory nicknames given to these monstrosities of glass and steel, such as Gherkin, Shard, Walkie Talkie, etc., are actually affectionate and we want London to look like Dubai, seeing as most of the prime estate is owned by sheiks.

      So far this bullshit hasn't spread across the pond, but they're trying and what is worse, US councilmen are wowed by the opportunity to have a new building designed by dickheads such as Lord Foster (knighted for services t

      • What's wrong with the Gherkin []? I can see why some people object to having an old city's skyline marred by skyscrapers, but if we're going to erect tall buildings anyway, I much prefer this over the next rectangular glass-and-steel slab.
    • by hughk ( 248126 )

      This is the point. Making big curved mirrors is expensive, so they use lots of straight pieces of glass to make a nice downwards focussing concave effect. So you take a new building with refelctive film on the windows, and you have a pretty good concentrator. Luckily not a very good one because there is a structure in Spain that gets to 4 figure temperatures.

  • by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @01:59AM (#44743665)

    Can't be. This is supposed to have happened in the UK, where there are only vague rumours that there's such an entity as the sun.

    In the UK, the Sun is flat, made of paper and ink, and would definitely melt people's character if it gets a chance.

  • We have had incidents in which parts melted in summer in Florida from time to time. I recall a ford Pinto steering wheel having melted and slumped off of the wheel. We also see windows burst in cars with good door and window seals every now and then.

    • I've lived in Florida (Central) for thirteen years and never heard anything like either of those anecdotes.

      Though I do remember the woman with the can of, what was it, Pillsbury rolls? that burst and she thought she'd been shot.
  • For severe bodywork damage on a modern Jag? In London? Bullshit!
  • They should re-aim the building to a no parking spot.

    Or focus it on a spot that can handle it. Perhaps a salt container. Use the molten salt to make steam and use that to make power (as has been done before).

    Practical execution of re-aiming a building is left as an exercise to the reader because I have no idea how to do that.
  • by CuteSteveJobs ( 1343851 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @04:19AM (#44744343)
    I am the architect of that building. Sorry, but I really hated that car.
  • by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @05:07AM (#44744503)

    You have to admire the owner's restraint on finding his car's been melted.

    "'I am the owner. Crikey, that's awful."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Decades ago, my parents were on a trip with us children in England. It was a seminal drive where my sister terminally established "I get a window seat because I'm getting sick otherwise": we brothers just managed to hand her through to the next window before she exploded barf all over the side of the car and the outside. A few hundred yards onwards my father stopped the car and we started cleaning it up, reverting to sage and other grasses and herbs on the side.

      That's when a pair of British pedestrians st

  • As many corners that had to be cut, thank Tata for such a lower-quality car. At least Ford kept it British.

  • by Paul James ( 3039579 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2013 @07:30AM (#44744997)
    (London) Shards with frickin lazors
  • Still really annoying but somewhat less impressive than if it actually buckled the car, or the heat set the thing on fire.
  • The guy's car could have been smashed by a large chunk of rotting whale carcass.

    Link to the video in case you don't get the reference: []

  • Someone should dress up in an ant costume and walk into the beam.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson