London skyscraper reportedly "melts" parked Jaguar


September 3, 2013

Light reflected from an 37-story skyscraper under-construction in London could be to blame for melting parts of a Jaguar parked nearby (Photo: Duncan via Flickr)

Light reflected from an 37-story skyscraper under-construction in London could be to blame for melting parts of a Jaguar parked nearby (Photo: Duncan via Flickr)

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Here's a side of modern architecture we don't see every day. According to a report by the BBC, light reflected from an 37-story skyscraper under-construction in London could be responsible for melting parts of a Jaguar parked nearby.

The case of the melting Jaguar took place in London last week when Mr Martin Lindsay discovered minor damage to his car, which had been parked for two hours in the vicinity of the curved glass facade of 20 Fenchurch Street (aka the "Walkie-Talkie" skyscraper) in the City of London.

Several sections of the car, including the wing mirror and badge, appear to have been melted by sunlight reflecting off the building, and the vehicle is said to have required a total of £946 (U$1,468) in repairs.

The building developers, Land Securities and Canary Wharf, have duly agreed to pay the bill.

The BBC also quotes the following joint statement from the developers:

"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."

Source: BBC

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

What about people or birds that might encounter the moving, because of sun movement across the sky, focal point? At different tomes of the year that focal point will have a wide coverage. Apartment or store windows. Other parking places. Hither and yon.

Leif Knutsen

This is in London it is going to be a problem what 3 or 4 days a year. ;-)

But seriously. It looks like a stupid design to me and is ugly to boot. But do to the available energy from sunlight varies during the day it is conceivable that the problem areas are fairly small and putting up a solar thermal collector would turn a liability into an asset.


The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas has a similar problem due to its parabolic curved design. It imposes a "Death Ray" upon sunbathers at the pool, melting plastic cups and cooking human flesh.

Bob Anderson

Ditto Knutsen, Slowburn, Bob Anderson. Developer: Design me a building with a giant reflective concave surface facing south, it came to me in a dream. Architect: You betcha. SOLUTION: A. HAVE BOTH THESE STUPID HAZARDS TORN DOWN AT THE OWNERS EXPENSE AS A HEALTH HAZARD. B. PUT SOMETHING IN THE BUILDING CODEs SO YET ANOTHER STUPID THING TO DO WILL NOT GET APPROVED.

Dave B13

This seems to be the real cause of global warming. The city is always much hotter everywhere.

Heather Bowman

errr... isn't light reflection from tall buildings part of the checklist items for the approval process??? It does'nt require a genius.. just someone to consider it... but anyway, now that the hazard is there, it's time to go into damage control and start putting up strategic shade sails/whatever (that won't themselves overheat)


You would think with all the computer simulation available these days they would have picked this up at the design stage,Just on my little house build they had summer and winter 3d pics of the shadows.

John D Mc

I'm waiting for the scientific community to comment. Reflective light melts Jaguar?? Prove it happened - not may/could/hmm/might possibly have happened, but actually happened. prove that reflected light from that building melted car parts. Lock off and area and put another Jaguar, same model, in the same spot and leave it there until the exact same weather pattern causes the same light reflection to occur, and we'll all see.


As optical engineering is part of my job I suppose it's easy for me to criticise but the architect responsible clearly didn't have A level Physics or even GCSE! Every inquisitive child that's ever played with a shaving mirror would be aware of this effect.

p.s. I don't know if 'slowburn' was being facetious but a solar collector at the focal point would have to be mobile in 2 dimensions to accommodate the movement of the sun or it would have to be a massive fixed structure to always cover the focal point: either of these alternatives might be just a little inconvenient for other people in the vicinity.

Sheldon Cooper

Also sounds like Jaguar needs to upgrade their plastics :-)


If it can do this to a jag. Imagine the damage to a Kia.

John Snook

This is no 'reflection' (geddit!) on Jaguar - the plastic components would have been bought in from suppliers who probably make similar bits for many other manufacturers.

Sheldon Cooper

Archimedes knew it would happen thousand years ago

Martin Fierro

This is why engineers should consult with mechanics. "it looked good on paper" the engineer.

Jay Finke

@ Sheldon Cooper The wandering hotspot is one of the reasons for solar thermal. The idea is to cover the entire problem area with the solar collector. It does not matter if the collector is a single loop or multiple loops so long as the output is combined.


The concenrated light had also been heating up local shops during the previous weeks, there is a graphic and article in the daily mail. The melting Jaguar car was spotted by apologetic builders who were on the lookout for even more property damage.The fun and games with this buildings owners are only just beginning.


Yes, the cost for covering part of the building with mesh window guard will be in the millions. They should be so lucky that some opportunistic whoever doesn't claim loss of eyesight or this will cost them much more.

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