Mistakes Immediately Discovered After the Building was Constructed
Wind tunnels toppling over pedestrians, broken windows causing glass to fall from the sky, solar rays creating unbearable heat, and sinking foundation are just a few of the mishaps that occur with buildings after being made. In this article we highlight buildings that have become infamous due to their post construction mishaps.
20 Fenchurch Street (aka Walkie Talkie Building)
20 Fenchurch Street is perhaps the most unfortunate building on this list. It has become known for its multiple mishaps such as the scorching of cars and a wind tunnel that topples pedestrians over. The building also won the Carbuncle Cup in 2015, which is an annual award for the ugliest building of the year presented by architecture magazine Building Design.
Vdara Hotel & Spa
Similar to the Walkie Talkie building (20 Fenchurch Street), the architect of the Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas had miscalculated the reflective power of the sun. The curved structure of the building caused a solar beam that allegedly singed the hair of guests and made the hotel swimming pool area unusable.
While initially designed to signify prosperity through Spain's economic tumult, the InTempo skyscraper has instead become known as a building plagued with mishaps - with some untrue stories.
Circling around the internet in July 2013 was an article written for El Pais that had presented inaccurate information. The article stated that despite workers trudging up 23 flights of steps to complete work on higher levels, the building was almost completed before it was realized that it was missing something integral - the elevator.
Less than a month after the original story was posted, Rafael Ballesta, the sales manager for the Edificio Intempo residential towers, explained to Dezeen that the building had included elevators in the initial drawings and had them functioning. In fact, the plans reveal that the towers feature six 'latest generation' elevators.
While cladding has been in the spotlight recently because of the Grenfell tragedy, in 1973 the Aon Center gathered ample attention for it's experimental use with Italian Carrara cladding. Of course at the time of construction, it wasn't deemed as being experimental.
While the cladding provided the building with a stunning exterior, it unfortunately only lasted a year before proving to be a poor choice. Since Carrara marble is thinner than traditional cladding, it resulted in cracking and bowing all over the exterior as well as one of the slabs detaching and crashing into a neighboring roof. This resulted in the entire building needing to be sheathed again.
John Hancock Tower
In a prior article we uncovered the plausibility of getting motion sickness while working in a skyscraper and provided ways to combat it. Unfortunately, it seems like we were a little too late with releasing the article since the John Hancock Tower not only had forgot to adequately brace for swaying but also for thermal stresses to window panels. This caused tenants to get motion sickness and hundreds of windows to pop out and fall into the street below.
333 South Wabash (Formerly CNA Plaza)
Similar to the John Hancock tower, 333 South Wabash had miscalculated thermal expansion which resulted in approximately 40 cracked windows over the span of 20+ years. Additionally, one window cracked to the point of popping loose and falling to the street causing a fatality. This resulted in the replacement of 3,000 windows in the building as well as mandatory yearly checks of all the windows.
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
The W.E.B. Du Bois Library is still known for being the tallest library in the U.S. despite structural problems causing it to sink. According to the Boston Globe, students continue to say that the building is sinking due to it's volume of books. This has not been proven, however, and there has been no official known cause for the phenomenon known as spalling -which is an occurrence where the building begins shedding brick chips. As an attempt to slow the process, 60,000 books were moved out of the building before it was discovered that the building was likely sinking due to being built on pond-saturated ground.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The inability to predict the affects of the sun on a building seems to be one of the most common mishaps. Even The Walt Disney Concert Hall once proved that architect Frank Gehry isn't exempt from it. When first introduced, the outer metallic coating of the building proved to be a little too reflective - heating up nearby condos, increasing the heat on the sidewalk, and blinding drivers stopped at nearby lights. Luckily, the building has since been fixed with the glare being reduced.
The Citigroup Center
The Citigroup Center built in the early 1970's by William LeMessurier, is an impressive feat as it was one of the first skyscrapers built above an existing structure - in this case a church. The structure towers over the New York streets at 915 feet, however, it was quickly made unimpressive due to reports that the building was susceptible to difficulties with quartering winds and toppling over. According to The New York Times, in 2002 the building underwent structural repairs to prevent it from toppling.
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