Rafael Viñoly's Walkie Talkie
"melts cars"


Viñoly's Walkie Talkie "melts cars"

News: Rafael Viñoly's Walkie Talkie skyscraper in London is reflecting a beam of light intense enough to melt cars, according to a series of recent reports. Update: a CGI artist predicted the effect a year ago - read more in our latest story.

Claims surfaced over the weekend that the glare from the curvaceous glass facade of the 37-storey tower - currently under construction at 20 Fenchurch Street - have caused vehicle paintwork to melt and bodywork to distort.

Engineer Eddie Cannon, who parked his Vauxhall Vevaro beneath the building, told local newspaper City AM: "The van looks a total mess – every bit of plastic on the left hand side and everything on the dashboard has melted, including a bottle of Lucozade that looks like it has been baked."

Tiling company director Martin Lindsay suffered a similar fate, claiming that the panels surrounding his Jaguar XJ had been warped. Attacking property developer Land Securities, he said: "They're going to have to think of something. I'm gutted. How can they let this continue?"

Viñoly's Walkie Talkie "melts cars"

Land Securities has acknowledged the claims and is promising to look into the matter. "As a precautionary measure, the City of London has agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area which may be affected while we investigate the situation further," said a spokesperson.

The skyscraper, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie due to its distinctive profile, is set to be the first London building completed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, who is based in New York. This recent controversy has prompted critics to rebrand the building "Walkie Scorchie".

The skyscraper is scheduled to complete in 2014 and will feature an elevated garden and observation deck that will be open to the public.

See more architecture by Rafael Viñoly »
See more skyscraper news »

Images of the Walkie Talkie are courtesy of Shutterstock.

  • phil kimby

    This is by far the ugliest and most insulting building to London’s skyline, architecturally reflecting the architects and developers huge ego. Just get rid of the thing and problems solved.

  • DL1119

    So you’re suggesting to melt this thing?

  • Daniel

    Now they just need a Bond villain to take over the lease…

  • generalpopulation

    Now if only someone could build a mirror big enough to melt this gigantic pile of crap and we’ll all be happy.

  • Modern_1

    As sung like Britney Spears, “oops he did it again”. You would think he might have done some studies for that after the first “death ray”…


  • dtf

    I can’t understand why this is a problem that continues to happen. Humans have a fairly advanced comprehension of the physics of light, we even build solar collectors in the dessert to produce exactly this phenomenon, yet we continue to build concave, reflective architecture that focuses dangerous amounts of solar energy on urban streets (see: Disney Concert Hall, Vdara Las Vegas, etc.). Why is this not something that is prevented by code, engineering studies, or at least common sense?

  • phoh

    They should just put a solar collector there and generate some energy. It’s a feature.

  • zetre1

    Obese Mies.

    • Kenny G

      A Mies-conception.

      • Sivad bop

        Just a giant Mies-understanding…

  • Genius

    Close the parking bays concerned and in their place install a solar collector to generate electricity.

  • dextro

    Walkie Talkie melting cars… a truly multifunctional tower.

  • Noel Batt

    Who approved this eyesore? Is there nobody on the council who is looking out for the aesthetics of our skyline?

  • Mark

    This may be my ignorance, but surely it’s a public safety risk if a building melts a car. Suspending 3 parking spaces seems like a bit of a medieval solution.

  • Years of studying/practising architecture to create one of these…. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Four-solaire-odeillo-02.jpg Well done! *slow hand clap*

  • JF

    This building looks ridiculous.

  • VVvvvVV
  • Terry

    aka the Butt Plug.

  • Nick

    Fair credit to Viñoly – not accounting for sunshine in London is an easy oversight to make.

  • anon

    Wasn’t the Vdara also Viñoly with a similar problem?

  • solarthermal

    I second phoh, this is an opportunity to put a solar oven at the focal point and make this building greener!

  • Earth to Matilda

    It could melt itself? We won’t be so lucky.

  • E

    This story made it all the way to NBC Nightly News last night! Now an even wider audience knows what an awful idea this building is.

  • fred

    If there is one thing this really demonstrates, it’s that
    architecture has become so formulaic it has lost touch with what it presumably represents. Currently it’s somewhere in limbo between the proverbial comedy and tragedy.

  • There has been some shockingly poor decision making (I’m refusing to call it ‘planning’) by the City of London in recent years. Poor shoddily built and conceived skyscrapers that bear no relation to the scale or context around them with the only goal being to compete with London’s Docklands. Since when did the Square Mile need to compete with anywhere?

  • Joe Bloggs

    Presumably the building’s concave surface could be used for eavesdropping. All it needs is a microphone on a long pole placed near the focal point. It wouldn’t be pointing at MI5 would it?

  • Dilmeet Grewal

    How soon before London looks like any other garbage modern city? Bye bye London, your time is up.