Walkie-Talkie Skyscraper: Shield To Stop Rays
A temporary screen is being put up at street level to try to stop a skyscraper apparently burning and blistering property below by concentrating the sun's rays on a nearby street.
The 37-storey tower in the City of London was originally dubbed the "Walkie Talkie" due to its distinctive look but is now being called the "Walkie Scorchie" and the "Fryscraper".
It is wider at the top than the bottom and the concave shape effectively makes it like a curved mirror.
Angry business owners in Eastcheap say the £200m project has blistered paintwork, caused tiles to smash and singed fabric, and a motorist said the intense heat melted part of his Jaguar.
But a screen measuring about four metres high and 15 metres long will now be set up to shield the public and nearby businesses, said Colette O'Shea, head of Land Securities, the building's co-developer.
She told Sky's Jeff Randall it was a "very strange phenomenon and certainly not something we were expecting to happen" but the developers "will not have to fundamentally change" the structure.
Ms O'Shea added: "We did all the testing, the computer analysis and this has just occurred. We knew there would be some sort of reflection but never did we anticipate this."
She went on: "The glass is designed to reflect heat outwards to stop heat inside the building so it's a really efficient green building."
She said they were looking at a couple of solutions - they may use shading or a chemical film on the outside of the glass that will effectively diffuse the rays of the sun.
For a couple of hours a day, the angle of the sun is such that when the rays hit the building the light is reflected and concentrated into a hotspot below.
So even on a day when the temperatures are in the low 20s - the reflected light can be hot enough apparently to melt a car's bodywork.
Local businessman Martin Lindsay said his high-spec Jaguar XJ, parked on Eastcheap on Thursday afternoon, had warped panels along one side.
The wing mirror and badge had also melted from the heat of the reflection, he claimed.
He told Sky News it was "absolutely startling" and "ridiculous" how hot it was in his car.
He said there was about £1,000 worth of damage and the developers have agreed to resolve the problem.
"The car is now in the garage being repaired," he said.
Ali Akay, of Re Style barber's, said the position of the sun at a certain time of the day caused a searing bolt of sunlight to burn a hole in his shop's doormat.
He said: "We were working and just saw the smoke coming out of the carpet. We tried to cut the fire down, there were customers in at the time and they were obviously not happy.
"Customers are not going to come in if there is a fire in the front of the door."
Land Securities and co-developers Canary Wharf said the problem was caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky with the issue expected to last for around two to three weeks.
Three parking bays have been suspended in an attempt to lessen the impact of the problem.
The tower is due to open early next year and Ms O'Shea said she was confident the controversy would not delay it.