In September 2013, a flaw in the design of London’s Walkie-Talkie building, a uniquely designed 525 foot skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street, damaged several cars by concentrating reflected sunlight into a beam generating temperatures close to 72 degrees C.
The problem with London’s Walkie-Talkie building
The beam, dubbed the ‘death ray’, was generated by the building’s south-side curve, a concave shape that resulted in concentration of reflected light from a large into a small area.
Admitting that he and his team were aware of the problem, architect Rafael Viñoly, who designed London’s Walkie-Talkie building, stated that on noticing the problem during the design stage, it was judged wrongly that temperatures would not exceed 36 degrees C.
Fixing the issue
After paying for the damages to the vehicles, London’s Walkie-Talkie building’s owners had horizontal aluminium fins installed to the building’s south side, which terminated the ‘death ray’.
Although the building no longer sets fires or melts cars, it still presents passers-by with a problem, as gusts of wind near its base are occasionally sufficiently strong to knock unsuspecting pedestrians over.
Vdara Hotel, Las Vegas
London’s Walkie-Talkie building was not the first of Viñoly’s buildings to have ‘death ray’ problems. The concave shape of the Vdara Hotel, Las Vegas, generates a ray that affects different areas of the hotel’s pool deck as the sun moves throughout the day.
In this case, the offending ray did not melt cars, but has been reported to melt plastic bags and disposable drink containers, as well as causing burn injuries to a guest.
Designers, builders and owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their buildings do not represent a risk to the health and safety of anyone within or close to them. This includes assessing all potential risks and taking the necessary steps to prevent building-related accidents like those above, as well as slips, trips and falls or fires and explosions, for instance.
Your right to claim
If you should have the misfortune to be injured by falling after being knocked over by the gusts of wind generated at the base of the London’s Walkie-Talkie building or have a slip, trip or fall there, or in any other building, for that matter, you could be eligible to claim for personal injury compensation.
Accident Advice Helpline
Our combined experience of more than 15 years in the injury claim sector means we can help you get your compensation quickly. Discover how by giving us a call on 0800 689 0500, or on 0333 500 0993 from your mobile, today.
Date Published: August 1, 2016
Author: Accident Advice