When architecture attacks: The Las Vegas death ray

The curved glass facade of the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas promises a world of climate-controlled luxury. Except if you are poolside, where sunlight reflected and intensified by the building's shape has been melting plastic and burning people's hair.

According to BLDG BLOG:

The surface of the building acts like a parabolic reflector, concentrating solar heat into a specific target area. It's the future of urban thermal warfare, perhaps: hotels armed against other hotels in a robust defense posture defined by pure heat.


Apparently the building's designers knew this could be a problem, and coated the windows on the south side of the hotel with a film intended to scatter the light more evenly. It didn't work.

Hotel workers call it the "death ray," but a public affairs rep at the hotel said it should be referred to as a "solar convergence phenomenon." Apparently the plan is to fix the problem by providing more shaded areas poolside - perhaps some trees, which hopefully won't catch fire when they're exposed to the solar convergence phenomenon.

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