We tend to think of architects as highly intelligent, extremely well educated individuals that can afford to make no mistakes when designing their buildings. Unfortunately, architects are just as much human as the rest of us, and prone to human mistakes. And while an architect does have to try and cover every possible danger that could be presented, sometimes they miss something that ends up causing a serious problem.
The idea of learning about these kinds of mistakes is not to call out the architects that made them, but rather for future architects to learn from them and make more informed choices. With that in mind, these are some of modern history’s biggest architectural blunders.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
For many years, parents that took their children to Brooklyn Bridge Park had grown into the habit of touching the swings before letting their children on them. This is especially important on days where the sun had been out, as many of the playground sets had been made out of steel, meaning that after a few hours in the sun, they were often too hot to touch, let alone play on. It was an oversight made when the designers were trying to make something that would last for many years but ended up being a danger to the children that wanted to play. Fortunately, it was a mistake that would be rectified some years later, in 2010.
John Hancock Tower
When it was first revealed, the John Hancock Tower was praised by other architects thanks to its minimalist and modern design. But it quickly became apparent that a few aspects of the building had been ignored, leading to serious issues within the first year. Perhaps the most famous was these was the windows that would sometimes fall out of the building and come crashing to the ground.
It was determined that the frames of the windows were not able to tolerate the frequent changes in temperature, causing the panes to become loose every so often. It would eventually mean having to change all the windows in the building at a cost of $5 million, the kind of money usually reserved for winning slot NZ games.
This was a complex of residential apartments that were built in Shanghai and was made up of stories that reached 13 stories. At the end of June 2009, one of these buildings fell over, and just missed one of the buildings that sat adjacent to it. It’s believed that it had hit the other building, it would have created a domino effect that saw all of the others topple over, too. The cause of the collapse is attributed to an underground garage that was being built at the base of the building.
Built in Chicago in 1973, the Aon Centre was an architectural marvel, at first. The interior of the building was made out of an expensive but thin marble, which eventually led to a slab coming down on a neighbouring building. It would cost $80 million to fix the damage and replace the marble with granite.