Why people call this London skyscraper the ‘death ray’

Tour Of New City Skyscraper The Cheesegrater
A security guard looks at the view south towards the River Thames and city skyscrapers 20 Fenchurch Street, also known as the Walkie-Talkie, center, and the Shard, center top, from the 51st floor of the Leadenhall Building, also known as the Cheesegrater, in the financial district of London, U.K., on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014.
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

London’s “Walkie Talkie” building, not-so-affectionately nicknamed “Walkie-Scorchie” or the “death ray,” is the most destructive thing to wreak havoc on the city since Jack the Ripper.

The 38-story building was built to expand towards the higher floors. While some find the design aesthetically pleasing, it effectively causes the structure to become a giant magnifying glass. Remember when you were a kid and reflected sunlight onto those poor little ants? That’s what this building is doing to everything that surrounds it.

People have complained that the light reflecting off the glass building has scorched their shoes, bicycle seats, and even their cars. Developers responded to complaints by fitting the building with a sunshade, Tech Insider reports.

But the Walkie Talkie building continues to cause problems even after the addition of the sunshade. As it turns out, this skyscraper doesn’t just burn; it also blows. Downdrafts occur when wind runs into a tall building and, when it can’t be diverted anywhere else, it gets pushed in all directions, creating a wind tunnel effect at the bottom of the building. The downdraft is so strong at the bottom of the Walkie Talkie skyscraper that it can blow people into the street and knock down signs from nearby buildings.

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