Walkie Talkie skyscraper: Faulty tower given sunscreen to stop it frying neighbourhood

Glass facade of the unfortunate curved building to be covered up as temperatures set to soar to 29C in the capital

It has been dubbed the “Walkie Scorchie”, the new addition to London's skyline which is inadvertently creating a dangerous heat ray threatening shops and businesses in the heart of the city.

And with temperatures set to soar to 29C in the capital on Thursday, the glass facade of the unfortunate curved building at 20 Fenchurch Street is to be covered up as an emergency measure.

In a statement last night, joint developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf said: "Following approval from the City of London, we will be erecting a temporary scaffold screen at street level on Eastcheap within the next 24 hours. This solution should minimise the impact on the local area over the next 2-3 weeks, after which time the phenomenon is expected to have disappeared."

They added: "We are also continuing to evaluate longer-term solutions to ensure this issue does not recur in future."

The solution was reached after crisis talks between council officials and developers, prompted by a spate of incidents of fire and damage from the heat ray, which has reached temperatures approaching 70C.

A man reacts to a shaft of intense sunlight reflected from the glass windows of the new A man reacts to a shaft of intense sunlight reflected from the glass windows of the new "Walkie Talkie" tower in central London

The glare created by the glass of the £200m building, previously nicknamed the "Walkie Talkie" because of its shape, has already melted the bodywork of vehicles in the street, set a bicycle seat smouldering and made pavements hot enough to fry an egg.

The use of nearby parking spaces have been suspended to prevent further damage to cars. Recent sunny days have seen the force of the heat cause a small fire in a local barber shop, and crack the slate tiles at the entrance to a local café.

Ali Akay, of Re Style barbers, said: "We were working and just saw the smoke coming out of the carpet. We tried to cut the fire down, there were customers in at the time and they were obviously not happy." And Diana Pham, 25, at the Viet Cafe, commented: "We thought something was burning in the restaurant but it wasn't, we searched everywhere ... a tile suddenly broke, the paint has bobbled too."

The tower has been designed by architect Rafael Viñoly. It is not the first time that one of his buildings has caused controversy – the glare reflected off the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas prompted a series of complaints from guests in 2010.

Last night experts claimed that safeguards to prevent such problems in London were dropped from early designs. Dr Philip Oldfield, an expert in tall buildings at the University of Nottingham's Department of Architecture, said: "It seems the original design included small horizontal balconies on the south façade rather than the continuous glass facade as built now. This would have surely mitigated any significant glare like we are seeing at the moment."

There are various options which could deal with the problem, including adding small "fins" to the building to provide shade, or even special coating to reduce the amount of sun reflected by the glass, he added.

Workers feel the heat as they walk through an area lit by reflecting sun glaring down from a new office building in the financial district Workers feel the heat as they walk through an area lit by reflecting sun glaring down from a new office building in the financial district

Crowds gather as a television crew try to fry an egg as the sun glares down from a new office building in the financial district Crowds gather as a television crew try to fry an egg as the sun glares down from a new office building in the financial district

Click here to see more images

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor