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Heatwave: A look back at the building that melted cars and fried eggs

Britain has been baking this week with scorching temperatures recorded all over the country and a new record high of 36.7oc measured at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday.

In fact temperatures have been so good it has been hotter than Rio De Janeiro in the UK this week, and it's not often we can say that!

The heatwave has brought back memories of another spell of good weather in 2013 where a skyscraper located at 20 Fenchurch Street in London reflected the sun's rays melting cars, setting fire to door mats and frying eggs.

The building know as the Walkie Talkie because of its distinctive curvy phone like shape, was renamed the Walkie Scorchie by workers in the area and the phrase was soon picked up by the national press.

The concave design and mirrored glass of the £200 million Rafael Viñoly designed building coupled with the location of the sun at a certain time of the day caused a reflection of powerful focused rays onto the street below.

The intense rays caused numerous problems including melting cars parked in the street. Several car and van owners complained of damage to their vehicles, but at first were not sure how it had happened.

Specialists in Construction Insurance

One owner of a Jaguar returned to his car after an hour to find the door panels and wing mirror on one side of the vehicle had been melted. The car had buckled in the intense heat and there was a smell of burning plastic.

Another man who parked in the same street a day earlier reported even more severe damage to his van. The dashboard had melted inside the vehicle, plus every plastic element on the side of the van facing the building had been melted too.

Other strange effects were seen in the street and some shop owners reported damage. A barber shop located opposite the Walkie Talkie said that an intense ray of light reflected into the shop at a certain time of the day. This concentrated on the company doormat, burning a hole through it and causing it to catch alight.

Joint developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf investigated the issue and decided to suspend parking in three bays in the area where vehicles had been affected.

As the press gathered to report on the story, one journalist successfully attempted to fry an egg in the concentrated sun rays.

Anyone looking to make use of free cooking facilities this week however will be disappointed because the building was fitted with type of sunshade know as a brise soleil to provide a permanent solution to the problem. The brise soleil is an architectural feature which is usually positioned on the sun facing facade of a building to deflect sunlight and reduce heat gain.

Car owners were given up to £1,000 compensation by the developers for the damage inflicted by the 525ft building.

 

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