Seven Architectural Sins Committed Around the World

20 Fenchurch Street, or the “” / Rafael Viñoly Architects.. Image © Flickr User pembridge2

With the recent news that Rafael Viñoly Architects’ 20 Fenchurch Street (or the “Walkie Talkie“) in London has been producing an unusually hot solar reflection, dubbed the “Death Ray,” we’ve put together a list of seven architectural blunders around the world – from the worrying to the downright absurd.

Vdara Hotel (Las Vegas) / Rafael Viñoly Architects’

It was reported in 2010 that this skyscraper can also melt things. Hotel guests have spoken about hair being “scorched” and plastic cups being “melted” at certain times of the day. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “employees call the phenomenon the ‘Vdara death ray.’”

Vdara Hotel / Rafael Viñoly Architects’. Image

Bridgewater Place (Leeds, UK) / Aedas

Standing as the tallest building in Leeds, this tower “has caused one death” and “serious injuries” due to a powerful wind tunnel that forms around its base. BDOnline reports that following a total of 25 incidents, the Leeds city council is starting work on a solution.

Bridgewater Place / Aedas. Image

Museum Tower (Dallas) / Scott Johnson

Following in the same vein as 20 Fenchurch Street and the Vdara Hotel, this skyscraper is also a scorcher. Having been described in the Huffington Post as a “magnifying glass,” the building is in an ongoing dispute with Renzo Piano’s Nasher Sculpture Centre nearby.

Museum Tower / Scott Johnson. Image

Taipei 101 (Taiwan) / CY Lee

This tower, reported as the tallest green building in the world, weighs around 700,000 tonnes. Known for its “revolutionary earthquake and typhoon mitigation technologies,” it’s ironic that some geologists believe that this building has actually reopened a fault line in the Taipei basin.

Taipei 101 / CY Lee

Beetham Tower (Manchester) / Ian Simpson Architects

Standing at 46 stories, this skyscaper was the tallest residential block in Europe when it opened in 2006. The thin blade that sits at the top of the building reportedly causes an audible whistle or a hum when the wind blows. Ian Simpson, who lives in the tower, is working on a fix.

Beetham Tower / Ian Simpson Architects. Image © Arian Lehner

Intempo Hotel (Benidorm) / Roberto Perez Guerras

When it was suggested that this hotel in Benidorm had been designed without lifts to the top, it seemed to be the biggest architectural blunder of this year. The developers had decided to more than double the height of the building and, in the race to get it built, adequate space hadn’t been allocated for larger lifts and motor equipment. The Architects have since redesigned the building and “it is unclear as to how the developers will overcome the issue.”

Intempo Hotel / . Image Courtesy of Gizmodo

Rhugyong Hotel (North Korea) / Baikdoosan Architects & Engineers

This building holds the world record as the “world’s tallest unoccupied building.” Due to a seemingly endless series of problems, including electricity and food shortages, the tower, which was originally meant to open in 1992, is still under construction.

Rhugyong Hotel / Baikdoosan Architects & Engineers. Image © Joseph Ferris

References: BDOnline, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Architects’ Journal

Cite: Taylor-Foster, James. "Seven Architectural Sins Committed Around the World" 13 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=427658>

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