Dallas Tower Glare Blinds Arts District

Image credit: The Dallas Morning News

Neighbors near a new downtown Dallas tower say they've been blindsided by the harsh glare reflecting off the mirrored glass of the building.

One of the first residents to complain was Petey Parker, 72, a business consultant who lives in One Arts Plaza, which is only a few blocks from the just-completed 42-story Museum Tower.

"It affects the entire art district, which has great value to us," said Parker. "Also, the glare will continue to be destructive to the Nasher Sculpture Center. It could really affect the nearby park as well."

The first complaint came from the Nasher Sculpture Center, which houses many important pieces of art. They requested that the reflection be dimmed to protect their art, which is being hit by the powerful rays.

According to D Magazine, The Nasher's roof was designed to optimize viewing quality for museum guests and protect the artwork, but the new building's rays are cutting through that.

The roof is comprised of a two-part system: a barrel-vaulted roof-cum-ceiling made of 3-inch-thick, 1,200-pound glass panels and, suspended above the glass, a sunscreen of millions of tiny aluminum oculi. The roof was designed with the exact longitude and latitude of the Nasher, and is able to protect the exhibit during every hour of Earth's orbit around the sun.

But that complex system is no match for the intensity of the rays reflecting off the new tower and some paintings, including a canvas by Picasso, "Nude Man and Woman," had to be quickly removed.

Parker said she was meeting with the Art Plaza's homeowners association and will introduce her "Stop the Glare" petition. She says that once she has the support she will present the petition to the developer of the new tower.

"There are minor glares throughout the day, but the major glare lasts anywhere from 15-30 minutes," said Parker. "I'm worried about the light damaging our artwork and furniture."

Paula Blackmon, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawling's chief of staff, said that they have placed a mediator to work through the issues. They say that they have also talked to the board members of the new tower, which is completely residential, and expressed that they want them to do everything in their power to sustain the Nasher Center, which they described as a "treasure."

The initial meetings between the two groups began several weeks ago and the mayor is urging them to find a solution as quickly as possible.

But some still think that the people involved aren't acting quickly enough.

"The decision, which is under a cone of silence, will affect the entire arts district. Not just us, it affects everyone around us," said Parker. "It seems like there is a great desire to find a solution, but they are not in a hurry to implement the solution."

Although this may seem like an unusual situation, this is not the first time that a building's mirrored sides have posed significant risk to the public.

In 2010, guests at the Vdara hotel were exposed to dangerous beams of light because of an architectural flaw on the glass skyscraper. The design of the hotel caused the sun's rays to become magnified and reflected onto an area of the hotel's pool, causing severe burns.

The heat was so severe that plastic bags and plastic cups melted when left out in the pool area.

Some hotel guests even felt like they were suffering from severe burns when they would enter the pool area.

"I'm sitting there in the chair and all of the sudden my hair and the top of my head are burning," Bill Pintas, a hotel guest, told ABC News. "I'm rubbing my head and it felt like a chemical burn."