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3 March, 2005

LA disnae like death ray

The parabolic front face of the $274-million Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, USA happens to resemble the Solar Furnace in Odeillo, France.  As the name suggests, the latter can focus sunlight into a power density of 12 MW/cm², whereas the former is accidentally having a similar (but lesser!) effect, giving passers-by sunburn, heating the pavement (US: sidewalk) to 60°C and gently cooking residents in nearby buildings.

The LA Times reports that some of the more reflective panels are to be dulled (matching other parts of the building, incidentally), hopefully minimising the effect, contrary to the wishes of a non-resident who puts architecture ahead of humanity, suggesting locals should "get shades".
The big question is why the design firm of eminent architect Frank Gehry didn't spot the problem in the first place.

Pauline Saliga, director of the Society of Architectural Historians, said she doubts that the changes will drastically alter the hall's look, though she was surprised the original designs didn't consider glare as a possible problem. She pointed out that Gehry had to rework another landmark building, the library at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, after snow and ice slid off the curvy, stainless steel roof and crashed onto the sidewalk below.
"Even great architects make mistakes with materials and designs," she said. "I think you just have to admit it and you have to be pragmatic about it and alter that design if necessary. Architecture is a functional art form, so it really does have to function."

[Via Boing Boing.]

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