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Thu June 24 2021

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Sun block to be erected in front of Walkie Talkie

4 Sep 13 Developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf Contractors are to construct a scaffold screen in front of the Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street in London to prevent its intense reflection causing damage.

Over the last few days newspapers have been full of reports of cars and bicycles melting and fires combusting spontaneously. These incidents have been attributed to the convex curvature of the building's facade acting like a parabolic mirror, concentrating the sun's rays – like a schoolboy using a magnifying glass to burn insects.

The 37-storey building in the City of London, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael  Viñoly, is still under construction.

Land Securities and Canary Wharf Contractors said that the scaffold screen would be erected at street level and should be enough to “minimise the impact on the local area over the next two to three weeks, after which time the phenomenon is expected to have disappeared" as the arc of the sun moves lower.

They added: "We are also continuing to evaluate longer-term solutions to ensure this issue does not recur in future."

Among those to be affected by the burning powers of the £200m Walkie Talkie were Martin Linsday, director of tiling contractor N&C Moderna Contracts, part of the Nicholls & Clarke Group. His black Jaguar XJ was melted and warped (below).

He had only left it for an hour for a quick client visit.

Mr Linsday said:  “It is just unbelievable, you don’t expect to come back to a melted car caused by a building, it’s quite surreal.”

The developers have apologised and agreed to pay for the damage to the car.

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