R. Bouwmeester & Associates, a civil engineering firm, provides specialized sun and shadow position modeling services related to traffic collision and crime scene reconstruction, and urban development, site planning and building design projects.
The stories below
highlight the immense power of the sun, especially when its rays are
concentrated and focussed inadvertently as a result of the design/shape of the building. These examples have been well-documented and
they have gained world-wide attention. Two are currently (Sep 2013) in the news
- Walkie Talkie and Museum Tower.
Could these problems
have been avoided? Certainly! With careful design of the building's shape and
orientation, and proper selection of exterior materials.
Think lighting fires
with a magnifying glass, or cooking with a solar cooker! Not what you want to
do with a building - unless of course you find a way to capture and re-use
the heat and energy.
Walkie Talkie, London,
The "Walkie Talkie" building, currently (Sep 2013) under
construction in London, England, has had its fair share of publicity lately.
And not all good! It's been nick-namedWalkieScorchie
and Wok-ie Talkie.
The 37-storey glass
tower has been accused of everything from melting car parts on a Jaguar, to
melting bicycle seats, to setting a door mat on fire, to frying an egg, to
setting a reporter's hair on fire (apparently while he too was trying to fry an
The reason: The
concave shape focusses the sun's rays onto a small area
- much like a magnifiying glass or a parabolic solar
The Museum Tower is a
42-storey condo tower currently (Sep 2013) under construction in Dallas,
Texas. It neighbours the Nasher
Sculpture Center which houses a gallery that depends on specially filtered
sunlight, a feature that was painstakingly designed into the building in
1993. Fast forward to 2013.
The glass walls of
the tower reflect sunlight onto the glass roof of the gallery during the
afternoons. The result: the museum’s art gets fried.
Now a 2-year battle
has resulted in City Council and the arts community demanding solutions and one
man losing his job.
Experts are currently
exploring options including re-designing the gallery’s special glass roof and
adding retractable shades to the tower. So far, neither side can
agree on the solution. Either way, the local sentiment seems to be
that the Museum Tower owes the gallery the quality of light it so much depends
on. Sadly, the cost would likely be borne by the City’s police and
firefighters because the Museum Tower is being developed by their pension
glare can be blinding, especially as we move into the fall. Extra care now
needed for driving
"school's open" time and there are lots of things to watch for.
tend to steer your car where your eyes are looking; look at the road or next
corner, not the tree on the side of the road.
On the many
two-lane roads in our area, keep in your lane, especially going around curves
with blind spots.
defensively. When you come into an intersection, anticipate the other guy in
the intersection will do something ill-advised and think ahead to how you'll
Sun glare can be
blinding, especially as we move into the fall. If it blocks your vision, slow
down. Use your sun visors for the front and the side windows and keep your
windshield clean to help keep you out of trouble.
to school driving safety: Early morning drive comes with bright, blinding sun.
Have visor and sunglasses ready
ABILENE, TX - Thousands
of youngsters are heading back to school Monday morning.
All Abilene and
Wylie School Districts will open up bright and early for the new school year.
With more cars on the road Monday morning and possibly more traffic jams in
school zones, Abilene police have tips for parents and guardians during the
morning and afternoon rush.
BOULDER, CO - A
bicyclist was killed this morning after being struck by a semi trailer,
according to the Colorado State Patrol. The accident occurred at 6379 Valmont
Road at around 6:50 a.m., according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Dennis
occurred at 6379 Valmont Road at around 6:50 a.m., according to Colorado State
Patrol Trooper Dennis Wilder.
Omaha, NE - Let's take a look at
some ways to reduce sun glare while driving and we will start with your visor.
Of course you flip it down when the glare gets bad, but try to push it
forward as high as you can while still blocking the sun. That's because you
need to be able to see signal lights up ahead just as much as the vehicles
in front of you.
Some visors have mini-visors that slide out from the inside. These are
designed to fill gaps that might occur if the sun is coming in from a different
There are many types of aftermarket visors that you can buy and they can
reduce a lot of glare without completely blocking your view. Most are
adjustable in a number of ways and you can still see through them because they
are made out of tinted “see through” plastic.
In Australia, every day - whether it is sunny or cloudy, and despite the
season - we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Most of the
time we don't even realize it, considering UV rays are invisible to the eye.
However, just as sun can damage your skin (burning, wrinkling, skin cancer and
premature aging) it can be just as nasty on your eyes.
@NeinsteinLaw: Why Saturday Is the Most Dangerous Day to Drive
ON - When most people think of dangerous and frustrating road situations, they
picture weekday traffic jams. Even though weekday streets may be crowded,
travelling on a Saturday morning may be even more dangerous. Here’s a look at
the types of Saturday drivers who can increase your chances of suffering an auto accident:
glare can make traffic lights hard to see. Be sure of the colour
- Police are investigating whether a Camas woman drove through a red light
Sunday evening when her SUV struck a pedestrian and her dog in Hillsboro, Ore.
crash occurred around 8:40 p.m., as the sun was setting behind the traffic
light, Roches said. Huntington said the light was green as she approached the
intersection, though the sun glare obscured her view. When she flipped down the
visor and saw Susbauer, she did not have time to stop.
glare to blame for morning’s collisions in Port Hope: OPP
PORT HOPE, ON -
For the second time this year, Northumberland County OPP is investigating
whether the sun played a factor in a multi-vehicle collision.
Shortly after 7
a.m. Thursday, Aug, 15, according to police, two tractor trailers and a pick-up
truck collided on Hwy. 401, and as a result of the rising morning sun near
Toronto Road in the eastbound lanes of the highway, a second collision occurred
at the same location involving a truck with a camper.
“The sun was
blinding,” said Marc Ouellette, a truck driver from St. Thomas at the scene.
Back in March,
police investigated sun glare as the possible cause of a fatal collision at
County Road 9 and County Road 28. The collision killed Port Hope residents
Danya Jiggins and Lisa Hoyt
Brenda Mine, BC - The sun's
glare can be blinding in a vehicle, in a plane it can be deadly. The Transport
Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released a report today on the float plane crash
near Brenda Mine on May 13, 2012; they list the sun's glare as one of the
factors in the crash.
involved a de Havilland DHC-2 (Beaver) that struck trees and collided with
terrain, close to the Okanagan Connector (Highway 97C).
On 13 May 2012,
a privately-operated de Havilland amphibious floatplane departed on wheels from
the Pitt Meadows Airport for a flight to Okanagan Lake, British Columbia, with
the pilot and three passengers on board. After 20 minutes on Okanagan Lake
where it dropped off one passenger, the aircraft departed toward Peachland.
While en route, the aircraft struck trees and collided with terrain close to
Highway 97C. Most of the aircraft was destroyed by a post-impact fire. The
three occupants were fatally injured - read original story here.
investigation determined that there was no indication of an aircraft system
malfunction, no drastic changes in the aircraft’s flight path, and no emergency
calls from the pilot to indicate that an in-flight emergency was experienced.
The constant ground speed and flight path suggested that the aircraft was under
the control of the pilot. Forward visibility was likely hindered because the aircraft
was heading towards the sun; therefore, the pilot was likely following the
highway looking out the left window. After turning northbound, the pilot’s
vision was probably still affected by glare. Being in a shadow, the tree tops
were likely not visible until contact was made.
sun blamed for fatal car crash in East Herrington, Sunderland, UK
East Herrington, UK - A pensioner
was knocked over and killed after blinding sun caused a driver to lose sight of
the road.William Hall, of East
Herrington, was on Silksworth Road when he was hit at a crossing.
An inquest at
the Civic Centre heard that Raymond Gilstin, driving a Ford Ranger at 30mph,
was distracted by the sun’s glare on December 7 last year and did not see the
92-year-old before hitting him.
sun glare on wet road after rain > Massive 41-car pileup injures a dozen
people in Virginia
LYNCHBURG, VA -
A 41-vehicle pileup on a Virginia highway brought traffic to a standstill for
hours and sent at least a dozen people to the hospital, officials said.
The accident on
Interstate 81 in western Virginia's Rockbridge County happened just before 5
p.m. and took about six hours to clear, WSET-TV, Lynchburg, Va., reported
roads from an earlier heavy rain were said to have led to the accident.
of course the rain and then the sun came out and the sun was so bright and no
one could see 50 feet in front of them," said Shay and Danielle Tippens of
North Carolina. "We were trying to do the best we could, and then people
just started going off the road."
crash near Peachland BC, killing all three people on board, likely due to sun
glare says TSB
RICHMOND, BC - A
Transportation Safety Board report says a floatplane crashed into a hillside
near Peachland, killing all three people on board, because the pilot's vision
was likely obscured by the sun's glare.
A report says
the de Havilland Beaver was facing the sun, and the glare probably prevented
the pilot from seeing the looming treetops after the plane took off from
Okanagan Lake in May 2012.
Brutal.RT @the_idb: A Pedestrian Is Killed in a
Traffic Crash in the U.S. Every 2 Hours
Washington, DC -
Traffic fatalities in the U.S. have been
on a steady decline for nearly a decade, the result of safer cars,
(hopefully) safer driver behavior, and laws that enforce seat belt use and
crack down on hazards like drunken driving. But even in the midst of that
big-picture trend, a small subset of this same data has lately been worrisome:
Since 2009, pedestrian fatalities have actually been rising.
example of sun glare and car turning left in front of motorcycle
MONROE TWP, OH -
A two-vehicle crash on Bethel-New Richmond Road July 29 left one woman fighting
for her life.
Cody Rose, a
21-year-old from New Richmond, turned his Dodge Neon into a private driveway
without yielding into the path of a motorcycle driven by Steven Chaney, 43, of
Cincinnati, said Trooper Sgt. Charles Jordan.
“The kid was coming westbound, it was about
6:40 (p.m.) and the sun was pretty high up - he was getting ready to turn into
a driveway,” Jordan said. “The motorcycle didn’t have a whole lot of time to
Rose said he
didn’t see the motorcycle because of the sun, Jordan said.