How we all missed the blindingly obvious

What is not to love about the Walkie Scorchie story? An already funny name – the walkie talkie – transformed into an even better one. The kind of disaster that we can all enjoy almost guilt free – what could be more pleasurable in terms of hubris than the melting of a car, a rich man’s plaything, a disaster that causes no damage to health or general happiness. It is a summer story by definition, although it would be interesting to see an analysis of the impact of different sun angles at different times of day/ year. And it has all happened to a building that has inspired little affection and where, back to money again, the unusual shape was partly at least to maximise the valuable lettable space on the upper storeys.

What really struck me though was that although people have been pointed out how obvious it is that a concave mirror facing south would focus the sun, it was not obvious enough for anyone to notice at the design stage. The architectural press (I include myself – mea culpa) were all too interested in what it looked like and the planning rows that went on. The design team may have felt the same way and were too busy dealing with all the technical issues to ask a fundamental question. And all those people whose job it is to appraise buildings for permissions would have been too busy ticking boxes to think in a major way.

The light from the Walkie Scorchie may have been blinding, but the process seems to have blinded us all to an obvious truth. Unless of course it was a deliberate act of parking control, probably the most expensive ever. Fried egg, anyone?

PS Thanks to HAT Projects and Su Butcher for pointing out that the Skyscraper City blog had actually predicted this in 2010. Even less excuse for the rest of us, then. 

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