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Old 08-20-2001, 01:04 AM
golgotha golgotha is offline
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Here's a question for you, fellows: Has there ever, in the history of the world, been a reported case of a fair-sized skyscraper (say, ten or more storeys) sort of just falling over? I don't mean during an earthquake or a bombing raid or when it's been demolished, but just in general, or on a
particularly windy day? Whenever I'm at the top of a really tall building I swear I can feel it swaying, and I'm pretty sure it's going to topple over.

Has a skyscraper ever just...whoopsied? And were there people in it? I ask about tall buildings as the idea of one of those short squat things crumbling to the ground just doesn't fill me with much dramatic imagery.
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Old 08-20-2001, 01:23 AM
evilhanz evilhanz is offline
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On the contrary, tall buildings sway by design in the wind to prevent toppling.

AFAIK, no skyscraper has ever fallen over due to a structural design flaw, at least in the US. However, back in 1978, the recently completed Citibank building had about a 50% chance of collapsng in winds of moderate hurricane force (about 78 mph). Supports beams had been bolted instead of welded. Coincidentally, a hurricane was on it's way when secret repairs were begun to correct these problem. It didn't fall over. If it HAD, the domino effect would have levelled about 156 blocks by one estimate.
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Old 08-20-2001, 04:48 AM
Sublight Sublight is offline
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Soon after the John Hancock Tower in Boston was built it was discovered that there was a very real danger of it tipping over in a high wind. To prevent this, a large (approx. 40 tons) weight suspended on springs was placed at the top floor of the building. If the tower swayed in one direction, the inertia of the weight would halt it and swing it back. This allowed the tower to sway slightly in the wind, but prevented it from overbalancing and toppling.

Incidentally, the engineers had initially worried about the building toppling in the direction of its broad side, and had taken steps during construction to prevent this. The surprise came afterward when it was discovered that the real danger was in the buiding falling along its narrow side, which necessitated the weights in the top floor.

Back in college I did an internship at WZLX radio in the 42ns floor of the Hancock. During storms you could hear the building creeeeeak back and forth. Creepy.

Here's a site that talks about some of the techniques of keeping skyscrapers from falling over in earthquakes:
http://www.nd.edu/~quake/case.studies/mhivcs.html
http://www.nd.edu/~quake/case.studies/act.html

--sublight.
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Old 08-20-2001, 07:12 AM
AKAmame AKAmame is offline
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Or, you could read this book: Why Buildings Fall Down: How Structures Fail by Matthys Levy and Mario G. Salvadori. They also wrote one on why building stay up, but that's not as much fun.

The book is a very readable account (for a lay-person like, well, me) of famous structural collapses. I've lent my copy to quite a few friends, none of whom are engineers, and they've all enjoyed it too.
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Old 08-20-2001, 07:28 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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In Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, a big luxury apartment block fell over. IIRC it was at least 20 stories high.
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Old 08-20-2001, 07:39 AM
frobozz frobozz is offline
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In New York City, fairly large buildings have occasionally collapsed due to years of neglect or poor maintenance. I don't know how large the largest one was, but I remember seeing on the news a five story apartment building had collapsed a few years ago.
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Old 08-20-2001, 11:11 PM
bizerta bizerta is offline
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IIRC, the Citibank problem was a design defect. Engineers had designed the building to withstand wind directly to the front/back/sides. With its cross shape, no one had bothered to test winds of a 45 degree angle.
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Old 08-20-2001, 11:19 PM
gorewonfla gorewonfla is offline
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After the Mexico City quake in 1985 many skyscrapers fell over.
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Old 08-20-2001, 11:26 PM
waterj2 waterj2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sublight
Soon after the John Hancock Tower in Boston was built it was discovered that there was a very real danger of it tipping over in a high wind. To prevent this, a large (approx. 40 tons) weight suspended on springs was placed at the top floor of the building. If the tower swayed in one direction, the inertia of the weight would halt it and swing it back. This allowed the tower to sway slightly in the wind, but prevented it from overbalancing and toppling.
The same sort of tuned mass dampers were also installed in Citicorp Center, and in the towers of the Akashi Kaikyo (sp?) bridge in Japan, which survived the Kobe Earthquake already.

As for the Hancock, it also had a lot of extra structural support squezed into it. The tuned mass dampers were added earlier to correct excessive swaying. The entire story will probably never be fully known, as everyone involved had to sign non-disclosure agreements. Those problems were also unrelated to the problem that made the windows fall out, and the one that threatened to destroy Trinity Churh across the street.

Now that everything's fine, it's a great building.
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Old 08-21-2001, 02:21 AM
Enderw24 Enderw24 is offline
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Not a building, but one of the most famous modern day engineering disasters is the walkway of The Kansas City Hyatt Regency. So yes, mistakes do happen.
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  #11  
Old 08-21-2001, 02:30 AM
golgotha golgotha is offline
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thanks

many thanks, ladies and gentlemen. never again will i set foot in any structure taller than i am.
  #12  
Old 11-18-2017, 07:40 AM
buzzdb666 buzzdb666 is offline
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I'm sorry to necro an old thread, but I just read this thread and it hit me how eerie it is that this thread about buildings falling over took place like 2 weeks before 9/11.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:36 AM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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Since the thread took place in 2001, nobody was able to give this example.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:45 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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I'm amazed that building was strong enough to fall over like that. It must have been mostly steel construction, with the masonry as just a facade, because masonry certainly isn't strong enough.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:54 AM
Terminus Est Terminus Est is offline
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Youtube didn't exist in 2001, but if you go to the site now, you'll see lots of videos of tall buildings falling over. Like this one in Manila: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKeENdyIluI
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:57 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzdb666 View Post
I'm sorry to necro an old thread, but I just read this thread and it hit me how eerie it is that this thread about buildings falling over took place like 2 weeks before 9/11.
Weird ... golgotha's last post here was on 9/11 at 5:38 am Saudi Arabian time ... alas, this was in 2003, almost had the makings of a GREAT conspiracy theory ... the Chicago Reader trying to make the Sears Tower the tallest building in the USA again ...
  #17  
Old 11-18-2017, 01:32 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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In 2012, three buildings in Rio de Janeiro, two of them over 20 stories, collapsed. One of the buildings had been been undergoing illegal renovations and its collapse triggered the other two to collapse. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_c...eiro_buildings
  #18  
Old 11-18-2017, 02:10 PM
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is offline
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The Millennium Tower in San Francisco hasn't fallen yet, but due to the designers' and builders' failure to push the support pilings all the way down to bedrock, it has started leaning, and the foundations have started cracking. There are theoretically supposed to be some possible solutions, but if it ever goes over it won't go by itself, since it is right in the middle of a bunch of other buildings. With any luck it will fall to the SE and take out the Salesforce tower (at night and when no-one is in either building and no-one gets hurt).
  #19  
Old 11-18-2017, 03:09 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzdb666 View Post
I'm sorry to necro an old thread, but I just read this thread and it hit me how eerie it is that this thread about buildings falling over took place like 2 weeks before 9/11.
Quick, somebody warn them!
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  #20  
Old 11-18-2017, 03:54 PM
Doug K. Doug K. is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzdb666 View Post
I'm sorry to necro an old thread, but I just read this thread and it hit me how eerie it is that this thread about buildings falling over took place like 2 weeks before 9/11.
Just so you know if you plan on staying around (and please do), we call old threads zombies here and they are revived.
  #21  
Old 11-19-2017, 12:27 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Watch this space for updates on The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
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  #22  
Old 11-19-2017, 08:53 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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As one of my friends in the building trade is fond of saying: All structures are inherently unstable.
  #23  
Old 11-19-2017, 11:38 PM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is offline
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I recall seeing photos of a maybe 6-10 apartment building atop a cliff overlooking an ocean falling over. The foundations did NOT go down to bedrock. Erosion took it down.
  #24  
Old 11-20-2017, 08:20 AM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terminus Est View Post
Youtube didn't exist in 2001, but if you go to the site now, you'll see lots of videos of tall buildings falling over. Like this one in Manila: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKeENdyIluI
That's the building that instantly came to mind for me. I saw it in the TV show Destroyed in Seconds.
  #25  
Old 11-20-2017, 09:18 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Watch this space for updates on The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Quick, somebody warn them!
  #26  
Old 11-20-2017, 11:03 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is online now
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Quick, somebody warn them!
They have top men on it. Top. (wo)Men.
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