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Famous Architectural Mistakes

Famous Architectural MistakesThe interesting thing about architecture is that it can be incredibly subjective. That means that no matter how something is designed and or constructed if the person behind it stands with his or her design, you don’t really have room to critique. Granted, there have always been and will continue to be standards for building – otherwise, we’d all live in houses that are frequently falling down, but to the vast majority of those working in the industry, architecture is art. The Taylor Fencing team works with a slightly different business acumen because we are stringent about ensuring that our fence and gate products work perfectly and will do so for years to come. It just happens to be a bonus that our fences and gates are easy on the eyes as well. That said, we have to attribute our success to decades and generations of learning. And as pretty much every professional will tell you, mistakes are one of the best ways to learn. While the following list of architectural mistakes wasn’t created by the Taylor Fencing team, they’re famous for a reason. Read on for more information:

We have to start with the one that we’re sure will be no stranger to anyone. Whether you’ve made the pilgrimage to Pisa or now, we’re guessing that the Leaning Tower of Pisa rings a bell. The emphasis should be on the word “leaning”, but not that many ask how the symbol of Italian history and heritage got its name. If you are unfamiliar, it’s a freestanding bell tower that was built in conjunction with the Cathedral of Pisa. It’s the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral square. So, how did the “leaning” get added to its name? It was pretty much right after its inception, as the tower began to tilt right when construction kicked off. This is thanks to both inadequate foundation planning and poor planning when it came to unsuitable grounds underneath the structure. Instead of halting building, the team forged ahead. Heavy weights were added in recent years to save the building, but it does continue to sink about 1 mm every year.

Some of the examples on this list (and we’re guessing in future posts of the same vein) are still around, but others simply couldn’t withstand whatever damage occurred. That’s certainly the case with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, found in the far top left corner of the United States. It’s a beautiful area, full of nature, and this bridge – in 1940, the longest suspension bridge in the world – was supposed to support this, with quick and beautiful access to several different vistas. Alas, it closed four months after its opening, when it collapsed without warning. In this case, the engineering failure occurred because cheap girders were chosen – an important lesson that you can’t always pick the less expensive materials as you’re making a serious trade-off. Fun fact? The team should have known well in advance. Even during construction, it would sway dangerously side to side, so much so, that the team nicknamed it “Galloping Gertie”.

Shanghai is famous for many things, including spectacular architecture. This is in large part due to its history and diverse heritage that has been built over thousands of years. That doesn’t mean that a mistake hasn’t been made every now and then and the Lotus Riverside Complex is a good example. Unfortunately, in June of 2009, one of its buildings collapsed, killing one worker that was onsite. In this case, the reason was low-quality construction techniques and a rush to finish the project. It must be said that you’ll never have to worry about that with the Taylor Fencing team. Though we’re known to be speedy, we’re also known to check our work repeatedly and never cut corners. This building was almost complete – 15 storeys of the apartment block. Here’s the kicker – most of them had been promised and sold to future owners, at more than $60,000 each. The government was not pleased and neither were the prospective owners, who understandably asked for their money back. The catastrophe resulted in the arrests of nine officials and the convictions of six for “causing a serious accident”.

When we reference the Olympics, (which unfortunately will not be taking place this year, fingers crossed for some time soon!) how many of you can say where they originated? There’s no shame here, but your fun fact for this location is that they originated at the Olympic Stadium in Olympia, Greece. It’s a beautiful location, full of history, you can even run on the track when it’s open and available. The Olympics came home in 2004, bringing things full circle. In preparation, the planning team built a series of Olympic Stadia, whose purpose was to house the different events throughout the Games. Since it was the summer Olympics, we’re talking about all sorts of events, ranging from field hockey and kayaking to table tennis, baseball and judo. Bonus points if you look up how well Australia did in all of these different events. The Stadia aren’t necessarily an architectural failure – they stand still today, however they’re under lock and key and without much use, despite a massive investment, one that some have attributed to a few of the country’s financial woes. Olympics are never inexpensive for a country to host; in this case, they cost Greece more than $11 billion dollars.

We’ll round out today’s list with a more lighthearted example of doing your homework in designing and constructing any sort of structure. They say, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. Well… not in this case. The Vdara Hotel & Spa opened more than 10 years ago in 2009 and immediately architecture buffs were drawn to it because it featured a fairly unique, curved design. That doesn’t sound all that interesting, does it? Well… Las Vegas can get pretty hot. That’s an understatement, Las Vegas can get record hot and if you’re swimming in such a structure, where the design’s purpose is that of a giant solar collector, you may get burnt. Or in one case, burn your hair and melt a plastic bag that you’ve brought along.

All of the above are great lessons and motivators as to why the Taylor Fencing team takes our time and gets the job done right. Questions? Let us know!