Friday, October 01, 2010

When Architecture Goes Bad

One of the on going assignments in Jake's Foundation of Engineering class is to bring in an article each week that features engineering. So far he has brought in articles about building green houses, ultra efficient cars, and so on. As a result I have found myself being a bit more aware of such articles.

One such article that has been spotted all over the place concerns the Vdara Hotel at CityCenter in Las Vegas (this particular link was featured over a amcgltd). It's a tall gleaming tower of glass that features a concave side facing south with a pool area centered on the southern wall and built on a low three story building. Which sounds lovely, but in reality the building is like a large mirror that focuses the sun energy on the pool area below.

The designers anticipated such a problem and placed a special film that would scatter 70% of the sunlight. However this is proving to not be terribly effective. People are getting burned and there has been at least one case of a plastic bag melting under the intense glare. Amusingly enough the employees are calling the phenomenon the "Vdara Death Ray."

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