September 3, 2013
In Philip Kerr’s 1995 novel Gridiron, a smart building which is programmed to function as its own facilities manager goes rogue and starts bumping off its occupants in a number of interesting and spectacularly violent ways. This might sound like the perfect wish fulfilment fantasy of your average FM, but looks prescient with the news that one of the new tranche of landmark buildings in London has become its own death ray. The Walkie Talkie in Fenchurch Street has been blamed for reflecting and magnifying light from the sun, (literally) glaring at the neighbours and melting parts of a car parked in a nearby street.
The owner had parked his Jaguar for two hours and returned to find that some parts of it including side panels and a wing mirror had melted. Developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf have paid for repairs and issued a statement saying: “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.”