from the urls-we-dig-up dept
When architects design a new building or bridge, they really need to think through a lot of little details because these things usually last a long time (and take a long time to build). There are some famous design mistakes like the (original) Tacoma Narrows bridge which serves as a physics lesson for high school kids and a cautionary tale for any engineering/architecture students. Here are a few more potential physics lessons (in optics) involving buildings that demonstrate the real-word effect of "the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection."
- Architect Rafael Vinoly has designed a London building that isn't quite finished yet, but sunlight reflected off its curved glass panels focuses on the ground and gets hot enough to melt cars. The skyscraper was previously called the "Walkie Talkie" for its overall shape, but now some folks are referring to it as the "fryscaper" after its death ray problem. [url]
- The shiny stainless steel exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall created a nice warm glow for residents across the street when the building was new in 2004. The architects had actually tried to take into account the glare of the building, but during construction some panels were placed at a slightly different angle than were in the plans. [url]
- In 2010, the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas featured its own death ray, magnifying the desert sun onto a swimming pool area where guests weren't pleasantly greeted by temperatures that could cook a steak. This hotel was also designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, so perhaps he should lay off of the parabolic window for a while.... [url]