Doctors, lawyers, scientists and architects are all people we assume at least sort of know what they're doing. And for good reason: If a barista gets a job that he or she is patently unqualified for, you might get too much mocha syrup in your frappe. But if, say, an architect has an off day, your apartment could fold in on itself the next time you close your bedroom and kitchen windows at the same time. But just because we expect perfection from them, that doesn't mean they always live up to it. Even architects, foremen and chief engineers come in to work hungover once in a while, and that's when we get failures like these.
Lotus Riverside Collapses Because of Rain
The Lotus Riverside building complex in Shanghai was a complex of 11 buildings by the side of a river. Imagine that. By June of 2009, the project was nearing completion, with most of the flats already sold off. Then the workers showed up one morning to find that one of the buildings had fallen flat over on its side, completely intact. It was like a giant toddler came by and just smacked it over for the simple thrill of the destruction.
If it had happened in Japan, we would have totally believed that and moved on.
The Embarrassing Failure:
It was all due to an underground parking garage, some rain and a terminal case of made in China.
The building itself was OK -- in fact, considering how well it held together after it "collapsed," we'll go out on a limb and say that it was pretty great -- but problems were all around and, more specifically, beneath it. When workers began construction on an underground parking garage next to the structure, they piled all the dirt from that into a landfill beside a nearby creek. Then they all turned on their jackhammers when a bevy of other engineers came by and repeatedly ignored their warnings about how bad of an idea it is to dam up a river right next to a new construction project. To the surprise of, like, maybe one guy who never got to play in mud puddles as a kid, the creek's banks collapsed and flooded the area. So when it rained soon afterward, the building was basically toast. Its foundations gave way, narrowly missing the neighboring structures, and just barely avoiding kicking off the world's most terrifying domino display.
"OK, so maybe we'll have to knock off the deposit."