Las Vegas Death Ray


This article on BLDGBLOG discusses the idea of heat in an architectural sense.  One issue is the negative externality that results from building projects that are just the right combination of solar exposure and curved, reflective surfaces to create microclimates of intense heat.

This has happened with the curving glass surface of the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas, where the “Vdara death ray” has been known to melt plastic drinks or bags.  Another well-known event was with Frank Gehry‘s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

This building’s stainless steel surfaces raised the temperature 15 degrees in neighboring condos, let alone on the block itself.

However, there have been some projects that have used heat to an advantage.  There has been a project proposed to pipe the heat underground in Reykjavik, Iceland, throughout the city to warm up the public realm in winter.  Minneapolis has reflector pavilions that melt the snow on the sidewalk and warm up the area around it.  These projects and others could help architects to think of things like heat in their designs.

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About Dave Munson
This blog is about architecture, cities, and myself.

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