THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  
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THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS



Published On: June 27, 2014, by Neat Buzz, Sarah Perez, Mississippi
Tag: Biggest, Design, Failures, Architect , Rating: 4.5

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There have been great feats of architecture and design in the last quarter century, with structures and building innovations that have stretched our minds and imaginations.

But for every yin there must be a yang — and just as we’ve seen architectural marvels, so have we seen utter disasters.

Here is a list of the ten biggest design debacles from around the globe in the last 25 years. Most of them cost billions of dollars, and sometimes even human lives. All text is by Alexa Miller.



1

 

THE LOTUS RIVERSIDE COMPLEX, SHANGHAI

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

A product of rushed and poor construction, one of the buildings at the Lotus Riverside complex in Shanghai collapsed on June 27, 2009, killing one worker and shocking the world. This 13-story apartment building was one of 11 in the complex, and was near completion when it toppled. Over 400 of the 629 units had already been sold for upwards of $60,000 each. Now the prospective tenants are angrily – and justifiably — demanding their money back. Nine officials, including the real estate developer, contractor, and the supervisor for the project were detained by authorities and put under the spotlight for being connected to this massive disaster. Six pled guilty and were charged with “causing serious accidents.”

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  

2

 

CHELSEA WATERSIDE PARK, NEW YORK CITY

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

While the blatant suggestiveness of the structures in Chelsea Waterside-Thomas Smith Park might go over the children’s heads, it has definitely gotten the attention of adults. The park caused quite a stir when it was renovated in 2000, and Manhattan parents first got a look at its, well, unbelievably phallic shapes. Thomas Balsley, the landscape architect whose design for the park actually won a competition for the Department of Transportation, told The New York Observer that he could see the double entendre that everyone was referring to. "See, we definitely got people talking," Mr. Balsley said, laughing. "People can say what they want to say, but the intent is harmless.” While some have called for the park to be remodeled, the children of Chelsea still enjoy frolicking among these phallic formations.

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  

3

 

THE DUBAI AQUARIUM

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

Who knew this 2.5 million gallon aquarium, home to 33,000 fish including 400 sharks and stingrays, would be a bust? Literally? Part of the $20 million Downtown Burj Dubai development project, the Dubai Aquarium is located in the world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall. An astounding 60,000 tickets were sold for the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre in the first five days of its opening in 2008. But within two short years, disaster struck. On Thursday, Feb. 22, 2010 the central part of the mall had to be evacuated after officials found water gushing out of a crack in the aquarium’s glass. It took six divers to stop the leak while workers mopped up the mess of water on the floor. No fish were harmed – but the pride of the flashiest city in the world certainly took a dive.

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  

4

 

EXPERIENCE MUSIC PROJECT- SEATTLE

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

The name is nearly a big a mess as the building itself. It started as “The Experience Music Project” and was founded in 2000 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and designed by Frank Gehry. The world’s most famous architect explained that the concept came from “collecting pictures of Stratocasters, bringing in guitar bodies, (and) drawing on those shapes in developing our ideas.” Intended to showcase rock memorabilia and offer interactive music exhibitions, Gehry’s ground-breaking museum isn’t seen by many as a triumph. New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp described it as “something that crawled out of the sea, rolled over, and died.” The museum cost $100 million to build and was paid for entirely by Allen. Due to its financial struggle, Allen opened the “Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame” in the south wing in 2004, and gave the building its tongue-twisting title of “Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.” Which is sometimes shortened to “EMP/SFM” — but locals like to call it “the hemorrhoids.”

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  
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5

 

THE MILLENIUM DOME, LONDON

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

For what it’s worth, British architect Richard Rogers was full of creativity and futuristic thinking when he designed the Millennium Dome. Built to celebrate the coming century, this building cost more than what the hype was worth. Nestled on the Greenwich Peninsula in South East London, this dome cost $1.25 billion to build. It was designed to house The Millennium Experience, an exhibition commemorating the third millennium covered topics such as “who we are,” “what we do,” and “where we live.” The dome sports 12 yellow support towers (one for each month of the year) and is 365 meters in diameter (one meter for—you guessed it, each day on the calendar). The dome and exhibition opened to the public on Jan.1, 2000 and failed to attract the estimated 12 million visitors. It only drew in six million people and in turn had to be closed within the year. Forty-one million dollars was spent shutting down the Millennium Experience in Dec. of 2000. After four years of redevelopment, the dome was reopened in 2007 as an entertainment arena and is now primarily used as a music venue.

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  

6

 

THE BURJ KHALIFA, DUBAI

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

While it’s the tallest building in the world, it’s also the skyscraper with the steepest problems. It took $1.5 billion to build the building-formerly-known-as-the-Burj-Dubai, and the final product includes offices, apartments, and a hotel. The structure was completed in January of 2010, though it had debt problems from the start. Dubai’s economy suffered tremendously due to a financial crisis and its government was obliged to take multi-billion dollar bailouts from Abu Dhabi. Part of the loan agreement was that they rename the Burj Dubai after United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Just one month after its grand opening, the building closed to the public due to electrical problems on the observation deck located on the 124th floor. Reports speculated that there were electrical problems throughout, but the buildings owner never confirmed. Whatever the cause, it put a huge damper on the excitement—tickets to the observation deck had been selling out daily at over $27 a piece. The building reopened to the public Feb. 14, 2010. But will it forever be known as “the Tallest Building in the Broke City?"

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  

7

 

OLYMPIC STADIA IN ATHENS, GREECE

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

Apparently “go big or go home” was Greece’s motto for the 2004 Olympics. Dozens of stadia were built in preparation for the games. Athens acquired everything from a baseball diamond to a man-made kayak course. Even table tennis, field hockey and judo had their own stadia. The above picture shows the Tae Kwon Do and Handball Olympic stadium – now empty and secured with a padlocked fence. Athens spent $11 billion, about double the country’s budget, on more than a dozen Olympic venues. Now, more than half of the sites are vacant and have to be patrolled by private security guards (which may very well be the fate of South Africa’s World Cup stadia. Meanwhile, many experts speculate that all this Olympic spending played a major part in the financial crisis that is now crippling Greece.

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  

8

 

KANGBASHI DISTRICT OF ORDOS CITY, CHINA

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

Looks like the Wild West isn’t the only place filled with ghost towns. In 2004 in an effort to increase its gross domestic product, the Chinese government decided to build the Kangbashi District of Ordos about 18 miles away from the original populated city. This new city was built in just five years, and $352 million was spent on roads alone. Even though a majority of the homes and apartments have been sold, most have been bought as investments by a wide range of financiers. As such, the town that was intended to house over one million residents remains completely empty and deserted.

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  

9

 

METS CITI FIELD, QUEENS NEW YORK

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

The New York Post said it best: “The Mets always look stunning in April and start crumbling by September, so fans say it’s only fitting their new stadium is imploding on cue.” Eight-hundred and fifty million dollars were spent in 2009 building the New York Mets a replacement for Shea Stadium, and all they got were some broken elevators, water leaks, and mold. The field has more problems than anyone can count, including shorting electricity in the kitchen and $500,000 in damage to Jerry Seinfeld’s luxury suite. A water leak caused mold, walls had to be torn down, and flooding in an outfield section caused 20 feet of pipe to collapse in the bullpen. a 4-by-6-foot sign fell in the field-level promenade— luckily it was on a day when the Mets weren’t playing at home. Contractor Hunt-Bovis built the and is being investigated by prosecutors over whether he overbilled for work performed at the stadium.

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  

10

 

RYUGYONG HOTEL, NORTH KOREA

 
THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS  | NEATBUZZ.COM | biggest, design,  failures, architect

Begun in 1987, this 3,000-room 1,083-feet giant in downtown Pyongyang has sucked up nearly 2% of North Korea’s GDP over the past two decades — and yet it remains unopened, unoccupied, and as yet uncompleted. Construction halted on the hotel — which, even in its incomplete state is the twenty-second largest skyscraper in the world — in 1992, following rumors that the North Korean government ran out of money for the project, or that the building was a victim of faulty engineering, or both. The results spell a massive embarrassment for the North Koreans, though it has inspired a few international devotees: A pair of German architects and self-described “custodians of the pyramid’s diverse manifestations" have set up Ryugyong.org, which they describe as an “experimental collaborative online architecture site" that contains 3-D models of the monster.

THE 10 BIGGEST DESIGN FAILURES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
  


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