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posted: 9/3/2013 6:12 PM

London skyscraper may be terror to parked cars

Did building concentrate sunlight, melt part of a Jaguar?

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESSThis 37-story skyscraper still under construction in London may concentrate sunlight on the road below so well that it melted parts of a car parked there. Scaffolding has been constructed along the street to protect vehicles while a more permanent fix is investigated.

      ASSOCIATED PRESSThis 37-story skyscraper still under construction in London may concentrate sunlight on the road below so well that it melted parts of a car parked there. Scaffolding has been constructed along the street to protect vehicles while a more permanent fix is investigated.

 
Associated Press

LONDON -- Motorists may want to think twice about parking in front of the half-built London skyscraper known as the Walkie-Talkie.

That's because the glare off the skin of the new building is so intense that at least one Jaguar owner says it caused part of his vehicle to melt.

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And that's not all: Locals say the building's heat also burned a hole in the welcome mat of a barber shop across the street.

"We were working and just saw the smoke coming out of the carpet," said shop owner Ali Akay. "This is a health and safety issue. They should have looked into this before they built it."

Similar problems have plagued other modern buildings, including in Los Angeles, when neighbors of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall reported heat buildups that required corrective measures.

In a joint statement, developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf said they are taking the complaints seriously and looking into how the building reflects and possibly concentrates sunlight.

The 37-story tower -- one of the most distinctively shaped skyscrapers in London's financial district -- is expected to be completed in 2014.

The apparent problem came to public attention when businessman Martin Lindsay told reporters that his Jaguar's mirror, panels and hood ornament had all melted from the concentrated sunlight reflected from the building.

"It was parked for a couple hours in the city ... and it's completely warped," he said. "It's absolutely ruined."

The problem lasts about two hours a day and is expected to continue for another two to three weeks, developers said in a statement.

"The phenomenon is caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky," they explained.

In the meantime, the companies said they will erect a temporary scaffold screen at street level to minimize the problem. They said they have also asked city authorities to suspend parking in three spaces.

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