Saturday, March 14, 2009

These Window Washers are nuts

I came out of the Canary Wharf Tube station, at the usually indecent time of 6:45 AM.


For  some reason, looked up to notice what looked like a toothpick poking out on top of the building.


I tried to zoom in but was perhaps asking for too much from my dinky little phone camera. And then it became clear, its a window washer unit which has swung out from its normal resting place. Presumably one is being used to wash and clean the windows. This totally freaked me out.


Can you imagine being so high up on the air and cleaning the windows? Gives you the heeby jeebies.


There’s another one in the distance, I am sure it would be very difficult to clean these sky scrapers, but strangely enough, the windows are pretty clean, not dust streaked or anything. Mind you, given that London is generally drenched with rain most of the time and the weather outside is cloudy and grey, not much chance of watching the windows, is there?


here’s another building, I wondered how one would clean the corners, must be tough to navigate the rounded corners, no?


In the far building on the right, the still under construction KPMG building, one can see another window washer unit arm.


There is the main canary wharf tower. Its window washer unit was also poking out, but I suppose its hidden behind the twigs.


Here is another shot, but it got blurred, but still, if you have lots of faith, you can just about make out a blurred image of the window washer unit right at the top right of the picture.


Here’s the HSBC building. I work at one of the top floors.


And here’s the chaps actually cleaning the damn windows, 39 floors up. Scary or what? Can you see the chap just outside the window? with his left arm raised? The chaps just look so blasé about it all.

So what can you do? A half baked idea here. I quote:

This concept could only be applied to glass-faced buildings. Arrange a delivery system for copious amounts of water to be run down the glass panels of the structure on a regular basis (or more/less often, depending on the relative dustiness of the environment). This would wash grime and dust that has accumulated on the windows since the last purge. When the water reaches bottom, it would be collected in attractive water features, ready to be pumped to the top of the building when needed next.

Obvious practical jokes to be played on buildings fitted with this system would revolve around putting detergent into the water supply (thus guaranteeing a hilarious display of bubbles around the base of the skyscraper).

While there has been a film about the window cleaners, I am not sure how much fun it would be up there, with the howling wind, risk of accident and dangers inherent in this role. I suspect we will keep on needing these brave men and their squeegees to keep our windows clean.


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