For the next three weeks, Londoners and tourists will have the chance to marvel at the city’s latest attraction: a beam of light so hot it melted parts of a Jaguar sports car and sparked a fire at a local barber shop.
Bloomberg News reports that on the hottest September day in seven years, office workers and tourists jostled for space yesterday on Eastcheap in the City of London financial district to see the curved 37-story Walkie Talkie skyscraper focus a ray of light that was measured at more than 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit).
One man tried to fry an egg in the beam while others, including Bent, 51, carried thermometers to record the temperature on bicycle seats in the tower’s glare.
His reached 107 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, while Martin Kicks’ hit 117 degrees Celsius yesterday. Water boils at 100 Celsius. Local media have re-nicknamed the building 'Fryscraper' and 'Walkie Scorchie'.
Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group earlier this week said they were examining the phenomenon and, along with the City of London, blocked three parking spaces around the building to avoid further damaging vehicles.
Shop workers said they didn’t know when the scaffolding will be taken down and they’re discussing it with the building’s manager.
The Walkie Talkie, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, is due to be completed next year. The higher floors are larger than those below, creating more space on less land.
The curved glass slants down toward the street and creates the magnifying effect.
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image: © Ben Sutherland