Source: Bestonlineengineeringdegree.com (The 10 Worst High-Rise Building Collapses in History)
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Throughout history, the unexpected, horrific collapse of massive structures has resulted in numerous tragedies, emphasizing the need of sound, safe, and ethical engineering.
Structures that appeared to be rock-solid have cracked, split, and dissolved directly beneath people's feet all across the world. Towering edifices have come crashing down in as little as ten seconds, transforming into smoldering mounds of mangled debris and engulfing everyone inside.
While many man-made structures are inspiring and beautiful, human error, a lack of basic safety standards, and unenforced building laws can result in some horrific disasters.
1. Rio, Brazil: Three High-Rise Office Buildings
A 20-story building in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, unexpectedly fell on January 26, 2012. The massive high-rise collided with another ten-story building and a smaller "three or four-story" construction, resulting in one massive mound of rubble. At least 17 people were killed as a tremendous wave of dust and debris swept through the streets of Cinelandia square.
The calamity would have resulted in numerous casualties if it had happened only a few hours earlier. Due to the late hour of the fall, the neighborhood, which is home to several office buildings and Brazil's famous Municipal Theater, was rather barren.
Illegal construction work, according to authorities, damaged the 20-story building and caused it to fracture, causing a chain reaction that brought down the two smaller structures. Brazilian authorities called for revisions and tougher building and renovation standards in the aftermath of the disaster.
2. Seoul, South Korea's Sampoong Department Store
The Sampoong Department Store in Seoul, South Korea, collapsed in 20 seconds on June 29, 1995, killing 502 people and injured 937 others. The greatest peacetime disaster in South Korean history was caused by criminal carelessness, flagrant contempt for ethical engineering principles, and faulty construction.
The troubles are virtually entirely attributable to Lee Joon, the building's future chairman. Halfway through construction, the structure was modified from an office building to a retail store at his request.
Several major support columns had to be removed in order to install the escalators. The contractors were fired when they refused to continue working after the alterations, and Joon formed his own company.
Joon later had a fifth level built to the structure. Despite the warnings, Joon hired his own firm once more. Not only was the structure not designed to hold a fifth story, but his addition was constructed with a thick, super-heavy, heated floor.
The addition of air conditioning units to the roof tripled the load capacity of the structure. To make matters worse, the structure was built with inferior concrete and barely half of the required steel reinforcing bars. Furthermore, the concrete columns were thinner than necessary, and the fire shields built around the escalators further lowered their thickness.
Despite the fact that large fissures were discovered in April 1995, nothing was done. On the day of the accident, these fissures expanded dramatically, but management refused to evacuate the building because they didn't want to lose the day's earnings. Top executives, on the other hand, departed as a precaution. The structure began to pop and crack seven minutes before it collapsed, and employees raised the alarm, but it was too late to prevent disaster, and 1,500 people were trapped within.