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‘DEATH RAY’ BUILDING DEBATE ON DESIGN ANALYSIS

Modelling suggests heating effect may last for “two to three weeks”

The Chartered Institute of Building magazine, Construction Manager (CM), has reported on the so called ‘death ray’ effect of the Walkie Talkie building in London which damaged a car parked on the street below.

CM state that façade engineers commenting on a Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) discussion forum on the subject claim the issue could have been avoided entirely if “solar reflection had been analysed properly during design”.

A director at a major engineering consultant told CM:

“You’d like to think that if a problem has already been found with one building by the same architect [Uruguay’s Rafael Viñoly] steps would be taken to ensure it is not repeated.”

The Walkie Talkie is due to be completed in 2014 and is designed so that its floor plates widen at the top of building to create enough space on the roof for a publicly-accessible garden observation deck.

In a joint statement, Land Securities and Canary Wharf told CM the problem (which resulted in temperatures approaching 70oC) was caused by:

“the current elevation of the sun in the sky, which currently lasts for approximately two hours per day, with initial modelling suggesting that it will be present for approximately two to three weeks”.

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