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Architectural Blunders: The Brains Behind These Bogus Buildings

Ooops! Architectural Masterpieces Gone Wrong.

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The average person thinks of architects as being pretty smart people. After all, the vast majority of them hold advanced NJIT masters degrees in civil engineering or related fields. Unfortunately, even the best and the brightest can sometimes make mistakes. Whether due to poor planning, unforeseen events, a less than solid foundation, or any other problem, big architectural blunders can and do happen. Take a look at these embarrassing and sometimes deadly architectural flops!

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Located in Los Angeles, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by architect Frank Gehry, should have been pretty impressive. Indeed, the large hall, which features dramatic curves, and dizzying heights, is definitely a sight to behold. Unfortunately, appearances aren't always what they seem. While most of the structure is pretty soundly built, the Founder's Room and the Children's Amphitheater have a serious problem in common.

These two rooms, which weren't given the matte finish of the others, were highly reflective on the outside, so reflective in fact, that they had some pretty disastrous effects. Those effects included the creation of dangerous blind spots for passing drivers, not to mention causing hot spots to appear on sidewalks and sending some major heat waves to the nearby condos. Once owners of the condos threatened to sue, and the architect's firm made the smart decision to sand down the too-bright surfaces, remedying the problem.

The Lian Yak Building

Unfortunately, not all architectural mistakes can be fixed so easily. Some even have truly disastrous consequences. Take, for instant, the Lian Yak Building, erected in Singapore in 1986. The six story building housed a hotel, a bank, and even a nightclub, all establishments packed with people. Unfortunately, the architect who designed the building hadn't taken the time to determine the building's dead load, meaning how much the building itself weighed. Unprepared for, and unable to support its weight, the building collapsed the same year it was built, killing 33 people.

The Lotus Riverside

While it might seem like such serious oversights couldn't happen today, the Lotus Riverside, which was in the process of being built in 2009, suffered a similar but not quite as devastating fate. The building, nestled near the river and designed to house eleven separate buildings, seemed to be coming along nicely. Then, without warning, one full building separated from the rest and fell over.

The fallen building managed to stay whole, which is pretty impressive, but the problems that caused the collapse were not so impressive. Construction workers who were building an underground parking structure nearby made the error of damming up the river by the construction site. Not surprisingly, rain caused the creeks' banks to collapse, leading to a flood, which destroyed the foundation of the first building.

Obviously, a lot of things can go wrong with architectural projects. Fortunately, though, things rarely go as wrong as they did in these examples. It really just goes to show that careful planning and a lot of skill and knowledge absolutely have to go into even the simplest design projects if they are going to be successful.

The Emp Museum

Sometimes, architectural failures are only failures because the resulting design is just, well... not attractive. Frank Gehry, the man behind the Walt Disney Music Hall disaster, said he sought inspiration from the shape and feel of various instruments when building Seattle's Emp Museum. While that may have been his intention, the result was strange to say the least. The oddly shaped building looks so bad and unwieldy that Seattle natives refer to it as The Blob. While business seems to be going okay for the museum, there's no denying that it's definitely not the prettiest structure on the block, and it's a bit of a laughing stock of Seattle dwellers and visitors alike.

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