Walkie-Talkie Skyscraper To Get Sunshade

A City of London skyscraper which was blamed for small fires and melted cars and tiles in a nearby street is to be given a shade to act as a permanent sun block.

The unusual design of 20 Fenchurch Street - nicknamed the Walkie Talkie because of its distinctive shape - reflected the sun's rays into the street, causing damage to people's cars and businesses.

On one occasion when heat on the tiles of the building hit more than 92F, a journalist even managed to fry an egg.

Now, developer Land Securities says it has been given planning permission for a "brise soleil" sunshade to replace a temporary system put in place last summer - work on the shade will start this month.

The developer was bullish in brushing off concerns about the effects such a problem would have on rentals.

In its financial results for 2013, the company 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 ... will not interfere with the customer fit-out or occupation. The cost involved has not altered our original estimated total cost of the building."

The 37-storey building was still being erected in September when angry business owners in Eastcheap blamed the £200m project, deigned by Rafael Vinoly, for blistering paintwork, causing tiles to smash and singeing 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's doormat.

Developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf agreed to pay for repair work and built a large screen to cut the risk of further damage to businesses from reflected sunlight.