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Sad architectural failures

sad-architectural-failures

Humans have an inherent capacity for mistakes. That’s how we learn after all, a vital part of growth and evolution and what not. We commit an error in a process, the results seem dubious, and we look it over and rectify the error and vow and effectively forget to never do it again. Except, perhaps a teacher accidentally giving you an A ranks differently on a scale of screw-ups than a doctor giving you rectal relief medications instead of eye-drops, or an architect miscalculating the weight of your ceiling and only realising it when it crushes you in your sleep. Such are the sad architectural failures with tragic results;

  • Cocoanut Grove, Boston

 Smoke_rises_Cocoanut_Grove

Sometime around the 1940s, Cocoanut Grove was the place to be. The Club, located in Boston and was once a speakeasy, had been converted from a garage and warehouse complex into a winding complex with dining rooms, bars and lounges. The club had dining and dancing, artificial palm trees and a foldable roof. The owner, Barnet “Barney” Welansky not only was chummy with the mafia but was also a tough captain who believed in running a tight ship. So tight in fact, that he had locked several exits and concealed others, and bricked one of them up. But that isn’t the only reason the deadliest nightclub fire incident of November 1942 reached the level that it had. When the fire started all patrons had only two exits; a revolving door and a set of doors that opened inwards. Both of which were basically useless against the throng of people trying to escape a live roasting.

Cocoanut_Grove_Memorial

  • Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA

It’s a well-known fact that Disney has an unhealthy obsession for all things shiny and sparkly. So when one Frank Gehry combined his own penchant for out of the box architectural designs, no seriously there’s a distinct lack of boxes, with Disney’s insatiable love for the sparkles there were bound to be some problems when the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA was designed. Presumably of the villainous kind. Just involving more heat rays than poison apples. Some rooms of the hall were designed with extra, extra polished mirror panels for that Disney feel, because it slipped everyone’s minds that sun lights is a thing. A hot thing. The sad architectural failures result was that while some nearby residents suffered a mildly threatening glare and an occasional scowl caused by the reflected sunlight causing air-conditioning costs to skyrocket, the sidewalks gained certain hotspots were you could stand and get fried like an ant under a magnifying-glass. Most troubling were the traffic accidents due to the reflecting light blinding the drivers. However, after much thinking and no known princess involvement, the solution applied in 2005 was to sand the offending panels and reduce the glare.

Lotus Riverside is 11 buildings of 13 stories residential apartment complex in Shanghai, which found itself one building short on the 27th of June 2009. What’s fortunate is that while the project was almost complete and many flats were already sold, it wasn’t occupied at the time. What isn’t so fortunate is that is that one worker lost his life when the building tumbled over like a well put stack of Legos that somehow disappointed God. And it was pretty well put, considering the building kind of face planted all in one piece. Just the oversight that resulted in this example of sad architectural failures was when the work on the underground garage began the earth removed was dumped next to a nearby creek, causing the riverbank to collapse and allowing water to seep into the ground. The effect was the large structure equivalent of a banana peel.

 


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