A list of some of the worst architectural disasters 

Just like all professions things go wrong, disasters happen and mistakes are made, and architects are no different. Here is a list of architectural tragedies that have happened over the years.  

Notre-Dame Cathedral Fire –  

One of the most devestating disasters happened on April 15th 2019. A fire broke out beneath the roof of the Notre-dame cathedral in Paris. More than 400 firefighters were engaged, and another 100 government workers worked to move precious objects to safety. By the time the fire was extinguished the spire had collapsed, most of the roof had been destroyed, and the walls were severely damaged. The burned down roof had been covered with over 400 metric tons of lead. Settling dust substantially raised surface lead levels in some places nearby.  

An investigation was taken out and on April 16th the Paris prosecutor said there was no evidence of a deliberate act. Renovation works increased the risk of a fire. On 25 April, the structure was considered safe enough for entry of investigators, who unofficially stated that they were considering theories involving malfunction of electric bell-ringing apparatus, and cigarette butts discovered on the renovation scaffolding. Although, it was denied cigarette butts could have caused the fire.  

Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Leaning tower of Pisa –  

The tower of Pisa or freestanding bell tower of Pisa cathedral, is known for its nearly 4-degree lean. The height of the tower is 55.86 meters from the ground on the low side and 56.67m on the high side. Its weight is estimated to be 14,500 tonnes.  

The tower began to lean during the construction in the 12th century, due to soft and unsuitable ground which couldn’t support the structures weight. The tilt became progressively worse during the construction and the builders attempted to correct the problem.  

 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

20 Fenchurch Street (Walkie Talkie centre) –  

20 Fenchurch Street is an award-winning office block in London, with a unique concave design. It has been nicknamed the walkie talkie because of its distinctive shape.  

One of the main issues with the building was that During the building’s construction, for a period of up to two hours each day if the sun shines directly onto the building, it acts as a concave mirror and focuses light onto the streets to the south. Spot temperature readings at street-level including up to 91 °C and 117 °C were observed during summer 2013. The beam of light was 6 times brighter than direct sun light and it was melting cars parked below. A reporter also managed to fry an egg in a pan set on the ground.  

200 clarendon street –  

200 Clarendon Street, previously John Hancock Tower, is a 60-story, 240 m skyscraper in Boston. It is the tallest building in New England

The building is most commonly known for its structural disasters/ flaws. This includes an analysis that the entire building could overturn under certain wind loads. As well as, a design failure of its signature blue windows, which allowed any of the 500-lb window panes to detach and fall, endangering pedestrians below. 

RhythmicQuietude – Own work