Sunlight reflection from London skyscraper melts a car

By Vishal Mathur | Updated 4 Sept 2013
Sunlight reflection from London skyscraper melts a car
  • The construction company has apologized and agreed to pay for the damage repair. The issue has been blamed on the convex glass side, and the company is considering the solutions.

An under-construction skyscraper in London is apparently to blame for a car that mysteriously melted, parked some distance away. The 37-story building at 20 Fenchurch Street is nicknamed the "Walkie Talkie", for its design. The building features one side, with a convex design, completely covered with glass, which had apparently been concentrating the sun’s rays. The car that was in the line of that fire was a Jaguar XJ. The intense heat being reflected on to the car managed to melt a sideview mirror, the plastic C-pillar cover and Jaguar emblem. The car is owned by Martin Lindsay, director of tiling company Moderna Contracts Ltd.


The building developers have apologized and paid for the repairs. Interesting to note that they themselves identified the issue and came forward to take responsibility. They reportedly left a note on the car, for the owner - "Your car's buckled, could you give us a call?"

In a joint statement, developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf said: "We are aware of concerns regarding the light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street and are looking into the matter. As a precautionary measure, the City of London has agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area which may be affected while we investigate the situation further."

BBC recollects the moments, as described by the owner, when he first saw what had happened.

Mr Lindsay, director of tiling company Moderna Contracts Ltd, said: "I was walking down the road and saw a photographer taking photos and asked, 'what's happening?'


"The photographer asked me 'have you seen that car? The owner won't be happy.'

"I said: 'I am the owner. Crikey, that's awful.'"


The skyscraper which reflected sunlight back down on to the unfortunate car (pic. right), melting some bodywork. 

However, this isn't the first building to cause an issue with reflections. The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, with its polished ribbons of stainless steel were blinding motorists and causing accidents, and also increasing the temperatures of nearby buildings with the reflected sunlight. All reflective surfaces on that building were later given a matte polish.

Vishal Mathur

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