Car-melting skyscraper architect: 'This death ray is phenomenal'

Rather than feeling embarrassed, the architect of the "Walkie Talkie" skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch street, London, seems completely flippant and amused by his car- and human-melting building. Check out this quote from an interview with The Guardian:

"When it was spotted on a second design iteration, we judged the temperature was going to be about 96.8 F (36 C). But it's turned out to be more like 161.6 F (72 C.) They are calling it the 'death ray', because if you go there you might die. It is phenomenal, this thing."

How neat is that? 'The death ray I made, it's phenomenal! Huh?' He then added that he "knew this was going to happen." Which is phenomenal too, because it's absolutely true: He had the same experience with his first people-burning hotel in Las Vegas.

This guy is not an architect. He's a frustrated supervillain.

Photo by Getty Images

"Death Ray" Architect Blames His Car-Melting Skyscraper on Sunny Days

London made headlines this week for a uniquely modern phenomenon; the city's newest skyscraper is reflecting the sun into an insanely powerful “death ray” that can start fires and fry eggs. Now, the building's architect has spoken out: "We made a lot of mistakes with this building, and we will take care of it."

Though it’s not the first case of this kind of epic miscalculation, it is the second for Rafael Viñoly. The Uruguay-born, NY-based architect’s Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas opened in 2010 with the same kind of incredible singeing strength.

In an interview with The Guardian’s Oliver Wainright, Viñoly expressed a comically/dangerously flippant attitude towards the misfire, though he is—and always was, apparently—aware of its inherent problems.

In Viñoly's own words:

  • "I knew this was going to happen," said Viñoly, speaking to the Guardian on Friday. "But there was a lack of tools or software that could be used to analyse the problem accurately."
  • "When it was spotted on a second design iteration, we judged the temperature was going to be about 36 degrees," he said. "But it's turned out to be more like 72 degrees. They are calling it the 'death ray', because if you go there you might die. It is phenomenal, this thing."
  • (re: the Vdara) "That was a completely different problem," said Viñoly, insisting he was following a masterplan that specified arc-shaped towers. "We pointed out that would be an issue too, but who cares if you fry somebody in Las Vegas, right?"
  • When I first came to London years ago, it wasn't like this," he said. "Now you have all these sunny days. So you should blame this thing on global warming too, right?"

According to the Guardian, Viñoly's got plans in the works for an as-yet-unbuilt bowl-like structure in China that will intentionally focus and harness energy from above. Or he could always give eye-blinding solar farms a try.

[The Guardian via Dezeen]

Lead image: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images.