Hyatt Regency Hotel Walkway:
This prestigious hotel was built in 1979 in Kansas City. In 1981, hanging walkways in the hotel, full of people watching a dance contest, collapsed concertina style, into the dance floor, killing over 100 people. Subsequent investigations into the collapse, found the small nuts holding up the steel walkways, were rated to take only 30% of the estimated load. The cause was decided to be insufficient communication between the structural engineer and the steel rod manufacturers following a change of design.
Fancy a daily climb up 27 floors of an apartment block?
At its inception in 2008 the Intemp Tower was described by the architects as a whole new concept for in-town planning in Benidorm, Spain. Originally planned as a twin tower 20 storey, state of the art residential block. As work got underway it was decided to increase the height to 47 floors.
The project was beset by structural and financial problems from the start. In one unfortunate incident a lift, carrying six workers crashed to the bottom. Major problems ensued when emergency vehicles couldn’t reach the scene of the accident. The vehicular access had been removed to save money.
In 2013, when the project was nearing completion, it was noticed something was missing. It was alleged that nobody thought to add a lift from floor 20 to 47. The only way to reach floor 21 and above, was stairs. It now appears that there is in fact a lift but the motor is not strong enough to reach the extra floors at anything like a reasonable speed. No-one connected to the project is happy and the saga continues ......
What’s that old saying about always build on solid foundations?
Whether you’re building a business, or a building, having solid foundations is an absolute must.
The Lotus Riverside Apartment Block, being built in Shanghai in 2009, was nearing completion. As workers excavated soil from under the block to construct an underground car park, they piled the soil next to the building. The additional weight caused a riverbed to collapse, and the foundations to become an unstable bed of mud. The block just fell over backwards.
Design your own Laser:
Okay, maybe not quite a laser, but unless architects are careful what they clad their buildings in, the results can have a similar effect. A large curved skyscraper going up in Canary Wharf, London, developed the ability to melt plastic bicycle seats, and paint and metal on cars.
Not a regular occurrence, the sun had to be in a certain position and car or cycle parked in the right place. None- the- less, engineers are working on solving the problem.
Most sun related problems are caused by the design of the building. Curved buildings with a facade of curved windows acting like mirrors are capable of concentrating the sun’s rays.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall:
The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles had a similar problem, although the cladding in this case was stainless steel panels. When the building opened in 2003 people complained of excessive heat in areas of the walkways.
Measurements indicated temperatures as high as 140F. Drivers complained of being dazzled by the sun, and residents maintained they had to increase air conditioning. Eventually the offending panels were singled out and sanded down to reduce the sun's effect.
And finally, back to swaying again, but this time buildings:
All tall buildings have to have an inbuilt ability to be able to sway in high winds. Normally the residents don’t even feel this movement. Not so with the John Hancock Tower skyscraper, a 60 storey building in Boston.
The sway of this building was so dramatic that residents on the upper floors would develop motion sickness. On top of that, its windows regularly fell out, and crashed to the street below.
Structural engineers decided the problem was down to ‘unanticipated, repeated thermal stresses’ to the windows and frames. Eventually all 10,000 window units were replaced at a cost of $5 million. The swaying problem was finally solved by William LeMessurier, a Cambridge engineer.