Architects have to take into account a lot of factors when designing a building. Form, functionality, strength and cost are 4 factors that if not carefully balanced can lead to disaster.
Here are 10 Unbelievable Architectural Failures.
Designed by Rafael Viñoly and costing over 200 million pounds. the building won the carbuncle cup in 2015. its concave design although aesthetically pleasing causes problems when the sun shines directly onto it, concentrating the beams like a magnifying glass. spot readings have reached 117 degrees centigrade, burning doormats, damaging parked cars and one news reporter cooked and egg in a pan on the sidewalk.
2. John Hancock Tower
A 60 storey building in Boston finished in 1976 has been praised for its minimalist design but it also has its fair share of problems. thermal expansion and contraction wasn’t taken into account for the facade and glass windows started falling out, also failure to stabilise wind movement meant people on the higher floors were suffering from sea sickness.
3. Kemper Arena
In 1979 in Kansas City the Kemper Arena suffered a catastrophic roof failure after a storm. The roof had been designed to gradually release rainwater because of the limited sewer system causing ponding on the roof, the 70 mph winds caused the roof to start swaying sheering off bolts and once one went the rest followed.
4. Ray and Maria Stata Centre
A 67,000 m2 academic complex in Cambridge Massachusetts, this building was designed by Frank Gehry. Its design although eye catching also causes a lot of problems. Drainage backing up and causing leaks, cracking masonry and the formation of dangerous falling icicles in winter.
5. Citigroup Center
Built in 1977 in New York City. The Citigroup Centre was built on four huge stilts to allow the building to cantilever over St Peters Lutheran church because the church didn’t want to relocate. The steel frame was originally bolted together but it was later found out that if a 70 mph wind blew from a quarterly direction this would cause the bolts to sheer off and the building to fall. construction crews worked secretly at night for 3 months welding up the bolted joints to fix the problem.
6. Walt Disney Concert Hall
Built in 2003 in Los Angeles. The concert hall was designed by Frank Gehry and while its curves and smooth stainless steel exterior are aesthetically pleasing, they are also highly reflective and the solar glare at certain times of day caused an increase in car accidents, pedestrians being dazzled and nearby apartments to become uncomfortably warm.
7. Lotus Riverside
An 11 block, 13 storey apartment complex in Shanghai China. In 2009 disaster struck as the entire block 7 toppled over. This is reported to have been caused by the undermining of the foundations to build a car park and a leak from a nearby creek causing the ground to become soft.
8.Hotel New World
built in 1971 in Singapore this building suffered catastrophic failure in 1986 where it completely disintegrated in less than a minute. Later investigations would reveal that although the architect had calculated the weight the building would have to carry he hadn’t included the weight of the building itself, meaning that structural failure was only a matter of time.
9. Vdara “death ray” Hotel
Built in Las Vegas in 2009 its concave shiny exterior may remind you of the Walkie Talkie skyscraper in London as it was designed by the same man, Raphael Viñoly. It also has a very similar problem, nicknamed “The Death Ray” it focuses sunlight onto the swimming pool area causing sunbathing clients to get a very quick tan!
10. Katowice Trade Hall
In 2006 in Poland after a period of intense cold and heavy snow. The roof of the Katowice Trade Hall collapsed due to the weight of accumulated snow. In latter investigations it was discovered that the roof had not been built to withstand such weight, the building’s owner was charged with gross negligence for having not removed the build up of snow.