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10 Major Architectural Failures

People make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes happen on the job. Usually, the incident is corrected and the whole thing is forgotten within minutes. However, the workplace mistake is harder to ignore when the person who makes it is an architect. After all, when the teenager working the drive-thru window gives you a Quarter Pounder instead of a Big Mac, it causes a lot less trauma than when a 3,000-foot-long suspension bridge collapses into the Puget Sound.

In "The Yale Book of Quotations," the legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is quoted as saying, “The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.” While this statement from 1954 is still true today, it doesn’t take into account the architectural, design, and engineering errors that became possible in the decades after his death. Those mistakes have been bigger, costlier, and more spectacular than Wright could have imagined, and there are not enough vines in the world to hide them.

What are some of the more notable architectural failures in modern history? Click ahead to find out.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 22 August 2011

University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections