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Owners look into car-melting beam from London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ building

The owners of the 37-story tower known as the Walkie Talkie in London’s financial district are investigating a light beam cast by the building that’s so intense it melted parked cars.

Land Securities Group and Canary Wharf Group are examining the phenomenon and, along with the city of London, have blocked three parking spaces around the building at 20 Fenchurch St. that may be affected, the companies said in a statement after the market closed Monday. The glare from the skyscraper, whose nickname derives from its tapering rectangular design that is also responsible for the beam, has melted parts of vehicles, City AM newspaper reported Monday.

“We are taking the issue of light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street seriously and are looking into the matter as a priority,” Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group said in the statement.

The light beam, which depends on the sun’s elevation in the sky, lasts about two hours a day at this time of the year, the companies said. Preliminary modeling indicates it will be present for two to three weeks.

“We are consulting with local businesses and the City to address the issue in the short term while also evaluating longer-term solutions to ensure the issue cannot recur,” the companies said.

The developers may have to apply a finish to the outside of the glass that diffuses light rather than reflecting it at full intensity, said Koen Steemers, head of Cambridge University’s department of architecture.

“It probably wouldn’t affect the transparency of the glass, but would slightly scatter the reflected solar radiation,” he said.

The Walkie Talkie, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly, is due to be completed next year. Tenants have signed up to occupy 52 percent of the building and contracts for a further 4 percent of the space are awaiting legal confirmation, Land Securities said July 17.

The building is popular with tenants from the insurance industry because it’s close to the Lloyds of London building. Markel Corp., Ascot Underwriting Inc and Kiln Group Ltd. have signed deals as tenants.

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