One thousand nine hundred and ninety: the percentage by which the $3 billion Montreal Olympic Stadium - a project designated only $148 million in 1973 - exceeded its original budget. Ten: the number of years that the Sydney Opera House was over its deadline. Twenty-four: the number of projects included in Monumental Budget Busters, an interactive infographic ranking an array of works - ranging from the International Space Station to the Sochi Olympics - from smallest to largest in cost and time overruns. The list includes infrastructure, architecture, and governmental projects with budget overruns ranging from $210 million to $68 billion. These costs beg the question - does the end justify the means? Find out with the interactive infographic after the break.
The Sydney Opera House is synonymous with delays and overspending, finishing 1357% over budget and ten years late, including the mid-project resignation of lead architect Jørn Utzon. In 2014 dollars, the Opera House cost $819M - original budget: $56M. But, for the last forty years the Sydney Opera House has been Australia's hallmark, cementing the nation on the worldwide architectural stage. Beyond its practical function as a concert hall, the Opera House has driven the local economy as a celebrated landmark for foreign visitors.
The question remains: does the popularity of the project warrant the excessive spending? Annually, the Sydney Opera House receives over 8.2 million visitors while the Montreal Olympic Stadium receives 815,000, according to their websites. Years later Sydney's costs are justified, but Utzon could not have known for sure the potential popularity of his design. Neither could Roger Taillibert, architect for the Montreal Olympic Stadium, and while both projects exceeded their budgets substantially, only one reached mainstream success. A project's success is often impossible to measure prior to construction, and therefore requires each city to take a gamble, like those cities featured in Monumental Budget Busters.
Find out more about which projects spent the most time and money on Podio's Monumental Budget Busters infographic.