The Real Deal Miami

The most dramatic U.S. architectural failures?

August 26, 2011 04:03PM


From left: The Tacoma bridge, Aon Center and Brooklyn Bridge park playground

As Hurricane Irene approaches and property owners batten down the hatches, landlords are wondering whether U.S. buildings are built to withstand high wind speeds and environmental distress. But what happens when the failure of a building or other structure comes down to the failure of an architect?

Following that train of thought, CNBC compiled a list of the 10 biggest architectural failings in the history of the country, ranging from minor errors to gross miscalculations.

“The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines,” said legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

At number one is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which collapsed into the Puget Sound the morning of Nov. 7, 1940 under high wind conditions. Then, Chicago’s Aon Center, off which a Carrara marble slab crashed onto a neighboring roof in 1974, at a cost of more than $80 million. New York City is responsible for the third; the architect who designed children’s play structures at Brooklyn Bridge Park forgot about overheating when he decided to make them from steel. [CNBC]