London's Death Ray Skyscraper To Get Protective Screen

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London's Death Ray Skyscraper To Get Protective Screen

The Walkie Scorchie can fry an egg, or ruin hair products. It's very versatile.

Spare a thought for architect Rafael Viñoly, whose not-quite-finished skyscraper, 20 Fenchurch Street - aka the Walkie Talkie, for its distinctive look - has been setting London ablaze this week. Glare from the sun, reflected off of its glass frontage, has been burning up the City. Jaguars have melted, hair products have been ruined, and some have successfully fried eggs in the reflected rays of the Scorchie. Though the developers claim this is a temporary setback - "the current elevation of the sun in the sky," rather than the building's design, is to blame - a six meter high scaffold with green and black wire netting has been erected, to save London from the worst of the Walkie Scorchie's effect. It's believed that covering the glass in non-reflective film will solve the problem for good.

"I could smell burning, so I thought some of our equipment had malfunctioned and set on fire," said one witness to the Scorchie's rays. "But then a customer pointed out that our carpet was smoking and a chair was beginning to wrinkle in the heat, caused by the concentrated sun coming through the window." This isn't the first Viñoly building to have death ray associations; his Vdara Hotel, in Las Vegas, is reported to have set newspapers - and a lawyer's hair - aflame. In the case of the Scorchie, it may not be all Viñoly's doing. The original design called for a series of balconies along the frontage which would have mitigated the mirror effect, but those balconies were cut from the plans at an early stage of development.

In the meantime, imagine the joy of those developers, now faced with the prospect of covering 57 stories worth of glass in non-reflective screen. Still, it could have been worse. "When I once described Rafael Viñoly as a menace to London," George Ferguson, former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Tweeted, "I didn't think he was going to burn it."

Source: Guardian

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Pffft.
First they turn down the planning permission for my Giant Death Ray, now this.
Damn you Boris Johnson, and your untameable hair too!
image

Karloff:
Though the developers claim this is a temporary setback - "the current elevation of the sun in the sky," rather than the building's design, is to blame

Yes, let's blame the one thing that we've successfully been able to chart the motion of for thousands of years.

When will architects learn that shiney concave surfaces are not a good idea for somewhere in direct sunlight...

Of course it's the designer's fault. When you design your building with a concave reflective surface, well... that focused light has to end up somewhere. Considering his obvious lack of common sense, I'm now worried about the whole structure's integrity as well. Who knows what other idiotic choices he made for the aesthetics' sake?

Morti:

When will architects learn that shiney concave surfaces are not a good idea for somewhere in direct sunlight...

When will architects learn that there are designs other than than some geometric shape covered in glass and steel? I'd like to see someone make a 100+ story skyscraper in Gothic Revival or Neoclassical design...

Granted theres not usually this much sun in London, but who the hell designs a conclave glass skyscraper which gets wider at the top, and then doesnt stick non-reflective glass on it?

To be fair to the architect he probably wasn't expecting much if any sunlight in London that would turn the building into a giant heat ray. But that's architects for you, design a building to look nice then worry if it's practical :P

Dr.Awkward:

Morti:

When will architects learn that shiney concave surfaces are not a good idea for somewhere in direct sunlight...

When will architects learn that there are designs other than than some geometric shape covered in glass and steel? I'd like to see someone make a 100+ story skyscraper in Gothic Revival or Neoclassical design...

It wouldn't look very good, actually. The buildings are huge enough for any details to just blend in when looked at from afar. So, you may add details, but they still need to look good when homogenized by distance. For example, the world trade center buildings had pretty interesting detailing on their facades, especially on the lower floors. It looked somewhat gothic, actually. But when viewed from a distance it all blended in a striped texture.

The Artificially Prolonged:
To be fair to the architect he probably wasn't expecting much if any sunlight in London that would turn the building into a giant heat ray. But that's architects for you, design a building to look nice then worry if it's practical :P

That's the so-called "star" architects. Normal architects, who work on much smaller buildings (and get paid much smaller wages/fees) don't have the luxury of letting their ego get so bad that they would rather make a pretty unusable building than any kind of compromise.
P.S. I'm the third kind of architect- the one who doesn't practice his profession because of the almost complete lack of jobs.

This has to be the 5th building I've heard about that turns into a death ray at the right time of the year. Why don't architects know about the tilt of the Earth and the different positions of the sun throughout the year? This could have been fixed in the design stages if each individual window was tilted up slightly and aimed the rays back into space. Now they got to fix it and deal with potential lawsuits. That non-reflective is just gonna make the rooms facing the sun hotter, increasing the HVAC costs. Money well spent, right?

Well, it looks like the Myth Busters have a lot of explaining to do.

Hairless Mammoth:
Why don't architects know about the tilt of the Earth and the different positions of the sun throughout the year?

Because Architects are myopic weirdos who care nothing for your childish notions of common sense.

At the same time planning are a heady combination of massively overworked, massively underfunded, constantly undermined by their own government and the first and last line of defence against these nutters.

The result of this heady mixture? Death Rays!

Vinoly knew exactly what he was doing, it's probably part of his creative vision that the building channel God's divine rays down onto the street below, anointing the chosen with it's holy light (or something). He's done it before, if anyone else is dumb enough to hire him he'll do it again, the man loves parabolic mirrors and he's going to build parabolic mirrors damnit!

Morti:

Karloff:
Though the developers claim this is a temporary setback - "the current elevation of the sun in the sky," rather than the building's design, is to blame

Yes, let's blame the one thing that we've successfully been able to chart the motion of for thousands of years.

When will architects learn that shiney concave surfaces are not a good idea for somewhere in direct sunlight...

Modern artists like glass. They care more about being modern and trendy and having good things said about them during cocktail parties than personal safety, property damage and any appeal from someone who dares to shatter their fragile ego.

BrownGaijin:
Well, it looks like the Myth Busters have a lot of explaining to do.

And their explanation will result in multiple explosions. Hopefully.

DonTsetsi:

The Artificially Prolonged:
To be fair to the architect he probably wasn't expecting much if any sunlight in London that would turn the building into a giant heat ray. But that's architects for you, design a building to look nice then worry if it's practical :P

That's the so-called "star" architects. Normal architects, who work on much smaller buildings (and get paid much smaller wages/fees) don't have the luxury of letting their ego get so bad that they would rather make a pretty unusable building than any kind of compromise.
P.S. I'm the third kind of architect- the one who doesn't practice his profession because of the almost complete lack of jobs.

Oh I know that. Just that I studied Surveying in University, where I found out there is some divide between surveyors and architects which I find quite assuming. Just some friendly jib. :P

Haha, current elevation of the sun is to blame. That's hilarious PR bullshit.

That's like a criminal saying that him pulling the trigger wasn't to blame. It was the direction the gun powder projected the bullet in relation to where the individual killed was standing.

DonTsetsi:

Dr.Awkward:

I'd like to see someone make a 100+ story skyscraper in Gothic Revival or Neoclassical design...

It wouldn't look very good, actually. The buildings are huge enough for any details to just blend in when looked at from afar. So, you may add details, but they still need to look good when homogenized by distance.

You have no idea what you are talking about, a Gothic tower in the middle of London would look awesome. As for your theoretical details problem; Saroun's tower or any number of evil towers in fiction disagree with you they all look good massive.

Of course the Sun is to blame, how could the architect have possibly known that there would be sunlight in England?

I am emailing that one to Bad Call TV, would sure enjoy seeing them make an episode out of it.

BrownGaijin:
Well, it looks like the Myth Busters have a lot of explaining to do.

Well, I am pretty sure that even Archimedes could have figured out that only 57 stories' worth of reflective glass would get the job done...

Angelous Wang:

DonTsetsi:

Dr.Awkward:

I'd like to see someone make a 100+ story skyscraper in Gothic Revival or Neoclassical design...

It wouldn't look very good, actually. The buildings are huge enough for any details to just blend in when looked at from afar. So, you may add details, but they still need to look good when homogenized by distance.

You have no idea what you are talking about, a Gothic tower in the middle of London would look awesome. As for your theoretical details problem; Saroun's tower or any number of evil towers in fiction disagree with you they all look good massive.

Unfortunately, to look that good at that scale, they are massively inneficient space-wise and hence, unprofitable.

What's wrong with good old-fashioned straight lines and 90 degree angles? Having curved and angled surfaces is entirely impractical. First, they look like something a 3-year-old would design while trying to draw a regular skyscraper. Second, they're a pain to engineer for no real benefit. Third, they're nearly impossible to clean, and since they insist on shiny surfaces, they need to be cleaned often. Which means they have to engineer a window-cleaning method that is specific to that building. It's just a whole lot cheaper and easier to build with right angles and straight lines. Depending on how creative you get, you can build something that looks ridiculously complex, and yet easy to maintain.

After all, which one looks like some thought went into its design?

or...

Morti:

Angelous Wang:

DonTsetsi:

It wouldn't look very good, actually. The buildings are huge enough for any details to just blend in when looked at from afar. So, you may add details, but they still need to look good when homogenized by distance.

You have no idea what you are talking about, a Gothic tower in the middle of London would look awesome. As for your theoretical details problem; Saroun's tower or any number of evil towers in fiction disagree with you they all look good massive.

Unfortunately, to look that good at that scale, they are massively inneficient space-wise and hence, unprofitable.

I think your forgetting one thing, is that modern construction tech, can let us build similar looking structure without actually using their material and technique for the whole structure. Basically the masonry would simply be decorative cover over a modern infrastructure, or could build a similar looking architecture but out of modern material, I wouldn't mind aluminum gargoyle on building.

AdmiralCheez:
What's wrong with good old-fashioned straight lines and 90 degree angles? Having curved and angled surfaces is entirely impractical. First, they look like something a 3-year-old would design while trying to draw a regular skyscraper. Second, they're a pain to engineer for no real benefit. Third, they're nearly impossible to clean, and since they insist on shiny surfaces, they need to be cleaned often. Which means they have to engineer a window-cleaning method that is specific to that building. It's just a whole lot cheaper and easier to build with right angles and straight lines. Depending on how creative you get, you can build something that looks ridiculously complex, and yet easy to maintain.

After all, which one looks like some thought went into its design?

or...

Not sure between the Gherkin in the background of the first picture and the Chrysler Building. But yes the one in forefront of the first picture is a freaking stupid design.

AdmiralCheez:
What's wrong with good old-fashioned straight lines and 90 degree angles? Having curved and angled surfaces is entirely impractical. First, they look like something a 3-year-old would design while trying to draw a regular skyscraper. Second, they're a pain to engineer for no real benefit. Third, they're nearly impossible to clean, and since they insist on shiny surfaces, they need to be cleaned often. Which means they have to engineer a window-cleaning method that is specific to that building. It's just a whole lot cheaper and easier to build with right angles and straight lines. Depending on how creative you get, you can build something that looks ridiculously complex, and yet easy to maintain.

After all, which one looks like some thought went into its design?

Oh wow, I'm sorry but that is a fucking ugly building design. Surely the architect had better looking designs? Designs that were not filled with highly reflective glass and in a concave shape.

The Artificially Prolonged:
To be fair to the architect he probably wasn't expecting much if any sunlight in London that would turn the building into a giant heat ray. But that's architects for you, design a building to look nice then worry if it's practical :P

That might hold water, if he hadn't already made the same mistake in Vegas. I mean ok not anticipating that much direct sunlight in London? It could be an error. But he built one of these giant death rays in Vegas first! I mean really, Vegas! What was he doing, perfecting the technology before he unleashed it on the world like a James Bond villain?

faefrost:

The Artificially Prolonged:
To be fair to the architect he probably wasn't expecting much if any sunlight in London that would turn the building into a giant heat ray. But that's architects for you, design a building to look nice then worry if it's practical :P

That might hold water, if he hadn't already made the same mistake in Vegas. I mean ok not anticipating that much direct sunlight in London? It could be an error. But he built one of these giant death rays in Vegas first! I mean really, Vegas! What was he doing, perfecting the technology before he unleashed it on the world like a James Bond villain?

Seeing as his first prototype was in the economic power house that Sin City can be, I'd have to say he probably is a Bond Villain.

man, now architects dont't only build scrapers that look like erected cocks, now they build reflecting cocks in frozen full swing motion!

I'd just love to see that building in Dubai - what could it do with proper sunshine. Oh wait he did it already in Vegas...

PS:
For Akay too, it hasn't all been bad news. "It's nice to have some sun for a change," he says. "It's brought loads of sexy girls out to sunbathe in front of the shop."

So it's not all bad...

This reminds of me of a time I talked to a fellow tradesman about, why don't architects have to spend time building before they start designing. He offered some interesting insight as he was a former architect. He told me people with practice experience aren't welcome as they lack the imagination to see new designs.

called it.

Saw this in london a few months back and was like, really? they're making a curved building? Which way is sunrise? Oh you are kidding! *gets popcorn* this gona be good! ^_^

OT: Physics is a compulsory subject for engineers, right? Like please tell me they cover optics? Not just material stricture. I only know whats covered in first year (had a friend in halls that did it, i did a 3 year Astrophysics course). Same with architecture, surely they should understand the repercussions of their designs in the real world? even on the small scale of their interaction with nearby buildings.

Whelp, won't be a problem for another 5 years or so. that's generally how long it takes for Britain to get a good summer!

Of course its the suns fault. how dare it come to London and shine at this angle. Lets tell it to go away!

Dr.Awkward:

Morti:

When will architects learn that shiney concave surfaces are not a good idea for somewhere in direct sunlight...

When will architects learn that there are designs other than than some geometric shape covered in glass and steel? I'd like to see someone make a 100+ story skyscraper in Gothic Revival or Neoclassical design...

Its really a space problem. to build a square skyscraper takes as much space as its ground - not much. to build a gothic design skyscraper woudl take way more land area at its footing. also it would be much more expensive.

Strazdas:
Of course its the suns fault. how dare it come to London and shine at this angle. Lets tell it to go away!

Dr.Awkward:

Morti:

When will architects learn that shiney concave surfaces are not a good idea for somewhere in direct sunlight...

When will architects learn that there are designs other than than some geometric shape covered in glass and steel? I'd like to see someone make a 100+ story skyscraper in Gothic Revival or Neoclassical design...

Its really a space problem. to build a square skyscraper takes as much space as its ground - not much. to build a gothic design skyscraper woudl take way more land area at its footing. also it would be much more expensive.

Yup, and for once we'd get a good looking building, so totally worth it.

Modern buildings are either boring as shit or butt ugly. There are exceptions but those all seem to be located in far away countries.

Dr.Awkward:

Morti:

When will architects learn that shiney concave surfaces are not a good idea for somewhere in direct sunlight...

When will architects learn that there are designs other than than some geometric shape covered in glass and steel? I'd like to see someone make a 100+ story skyscraper in Gothic Revival or Neoclassical design...

Problem is that gothic or classical design is a lot more difficult to sculpt in 3D rendering programs and a lot less impressive in screenshots than large boxy sweeping shapes, because the intricate details gets all pixelly. Large shiny glass and steel surfaces and minimal detail sweeping surfaces look really good, and simple curves or protruding regular shapes are easy to create in 3D software, which perfectly describes a depressingly large amount of our modern architecture.

Personally I wouldn't be surprised if the sole reason for the convex shape of the building was the architect just dicking about in Autocad and wonder what would happen if he used the bending tool on the front of the building.

hahaha oh wow, I mean you think you'd notice a thing like the sun

AdmiralCheez:
What's wrong with good old-fashioned straight lines and 90 degree angles? Having curved and angled surfaces is entirely impractical. First, they look like something a 3-year-old would design while trying to draw a regular skyscraper. Second, they're a pain to engineer for no real benefit. Third, they're nearly impossible to clean, and since they insist on shiny surfaces, they need to be cleaned often. Which means they have to engineer a window-cleaning method that is specific to that building. It's just a whole lot cheaper and easier to build with right angles and straight lines. Depending on how creative you get, you can build something that looks ridiculously complex, and yet easy to maintain.

After all, which one looks like some thought went into its design?

or...

Well, the first one. It's a far more impressive feat of engineering and design, and the interior will be far superior as well. It's also a far more efficient building. However, most importantly, there are a range of laws in the City (a specific part of London) that buildings of a certain height must adhere to - they most not obscure views of notable historical buildings, and must be of architectural significance. You couldn't just throw up an American art deco skyscraper in London, you wouldn't get permission.

OT: I live about 10 minutes walk away from this - the architect has done this in the past, it's clearly his fault. When there are a few projects like this in the area, this is the only one which is burning stuff. There was only one Jaguar though. In true London fashion, we shrugged and got on with it. Definitely seems to be a bigger deal in US and International news than it was over here.

schrodinger:

Oh wow, I'm sorry but that is a fucking ugly building design. Surely the architect had better looking designs? Designs that were not filled with highly reflective glass and in a concave shape.

It's not that bad, I walk past it every day. London already has some of (if not THE) best examples of architecture throughout the ages, in better condition than any other European city. The above is one of many new developments going up that will eventually look like this:

image

The skyscraper we're talking about is the one of the left near the river. These are all in varying levels of completion right now.

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