Walkie Talkie Skyscraper Has Set Fire To Its last Victim

Le "Talkie-Walkie" et son dangereux effet loupe

A skyscraper which hit the headlines after its unusual design was blamed for starting fires and causing damage by reflecting the sun's rays is to get a permanent fix.

The Walkie Talkie - officially 20 Fenchurch Street - became known as the Walkie Scorchie because of its apparent ability to bounce heat from the sun on to buildings in the next street in the City of London.

But developer Land Security said today that it had received planning permission for a "brise soleil" sunshade to be attached to the building to replace a temporary system erected last summer, with work due to start this month.

In its financial results for 2013, it said: "A solar glare issue drew attention to the building for the wrong reasons, but did nothing to deter lettings, with 200,000 sq ft taken up in the months after the problem materialised.

"Our brise soleil solution has gained planning approval and installation will start shortly. It will not interfere with the customer fit-out or occupation. The cost involved has not altered our original estimated total cost of the building."

In September angry business owners in Eastcheap said the £200 million project, deigned by Rafael Vinoly, had blistered paintwork, caused tiles to smash and singed fabric.

A local barber said the position of the sun at a certain time of the day caused a searing bolt of sunlight to start a small fire and burn a hole in his company doormat.

Developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf said at the time they agreed to foot the bill for the repair work, and built the large temporary screen to reduce the chance of further damage to businesses in the path of the reflected sunlight.

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