This could make for an interesting torts lawsuit. A new hotel, The Vdara, is a modern glass structure with a curved design. The striking architectural design has one other novel feature: a “death ray” that cooks people in the pool.
Guests have been complaining that the curvature of the building produces a “death ray” that literally melts plastic and causes severe burns in the pool area. During some parts of the day, the design appears to focus the sun. The result is like a kid with a giant magnifying glass — with swimmers acting like terrified ants. One lawyer complained that he actually lost some hair after being fried in the pool.
A reporter from the Las Vegas Review-Journal found that the design produced a fry zone of roughly 10-feet by 15-feet that increased the temperature by 20 degrees during certain periods.
The new hotel is owned by MGM MIrage and Gordon Absher acknowledged that the curved, concave shape produces such pockets of high temperatures. However, the management does not really like calling it a “death ray” (the name given by guests) but rather prefers “solar convergence phenomenon.” That really does not work quite as well. I mean, when this is made into a horror film, it is a real scene killer for people to be running in panic screaming “Look out for the solar convergence phenomenon.”
One telltale sign of a problem is when the pool staff brings you corn kernels when you order popcorn and just tell you to “be patient . . . it will be ready in a few minutes.” Then there is the recommendation of a sun lotion with SPF +400.
The hotel is working on the problem, but it will be interesting if it seeks damages from the architectual firm. Then there is the potential for lawsuits from guests and condo owners as both invitees and licensees. There is a duty to warn and make safe in such a circumstance. At a minimum, a sign should be posted saying “Warning: Death Ray Directed At Pool Guests During Certain Hours.”
This is a film of how the death ray works for people lounging at the pool as the sun moves into place: