MIT famously sued Frank Gehry back in '07, as the undulating surfaces he'd designed for their Stata Center turned out to be perfect for harboring mold. Now comes news of an architecture gaffe with an even more dramatic problem. The so-called "Walkie Talkie" building in London, a 25-story curved glass structure designed by Rafael Vinoly, is capable of focusing the sun's rays into powerful beams that can start fires!
Still under construction, the building's glass panels are nevertheless able to harness the sun in such a way that they recently damaged a man's Jaguar parked nearby, melting the side mirror and distorting panels and the Jaguar badge. Reflections from the building also reportedly set the doormat of a nearby barber shop on fire, and distorted the paint and de-adhered wall tiles on a nearby restaurant.
The announced temporary solution will be to erect street-level scaffolding to shield nearby businesses, though there's no word as to what the permanent fix will be for the £200 million structure. In the meantime, the building's acquired a second nickname: "The Walkie-Scorchie."
Here's a solar physicist explaining the problem: