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(Slate)   A look at the design flaw that almost destroyed an NYC skyscraper. No, not thermite   (slate.com) divider line 116
    More: Scary, New York City, emergency evacuation, Lutheran Church, structural engineers, black outs, 53rd Street, Invisibles  
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16913 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Apr 2014 at 3:35 PM (13 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-17 03:37:34 PM
Subby misspelt Termite and wouldn't it be more than one?
 
2014-04-17 03:39:40 PM
I figured it was going to be about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash

Because a B-25 bomber crashing into your skyscraper is definitely NOT by design...
 
2014-04-17 03:40:01 PM
"an NYC"?
 
2014-04-17 03:41:39 PM
So Slate writers are plagiarizing off of old episodes of Nova now?
 
2014-04-17 03:41:57 PM

cwheelie: "an NYC"?


Quite an historic observation there. I've seen that use only an handful of times.
 
2014-04-17 03:42:25 PM
I had heard about this before, but I didn't know the anonymous student had come forward.
 
2014-04-17 03:43:16 PM

Mikey1969: I figured it was going to be about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash

Because a B-25 bomber crashing into your skyscraper is definitely NOT by design...


Not with that attitude.
 
2014-04-17 03:45:20 PM

cwheelie: "an NYC"?


Yes, an enn-why-cee.  Personall, I hate the way NYC sounds and looks and try to avoid using it.  Never mind that the city's name is "New York" and not "New York City"
 
2014-04-17 03:46:22 PM
I worked in that building.  I think most people who do absolutely hate it.  Creaks like crazy in the wind, and it's just ugly, like lots of things from the 1970s.

http://failures.wikispaces.com/Citicorp+Center
 
2014-04-17 03:46:50 PM
A little light reading to kill some time in your 53rd floor office.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_structural_failures_and_collaps es
 
2014-04-17 03:47:17 PM

Mikey1969: I figured it was going to be about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash

Because a B-25 bomber crashing into your skyscraper is definitely NOT by design...


That's also the one and only time someone an Otis elevator's safety mechanisms failed. I'd say "our elevators can survive everything up to a direct hit by a B-25 bomber" is still a pretty good safety record.
 
2014-04-17 03:47:21 PM
The student (who has since been lost to history)

one of its viewers was Diane Hartley. It turns out that she was the student in LeMessurier's story.


Um?
 
2014-04-17 03:49:23 PM
Thermite is a "Truther" thing. Something about the WTC buildings. I suppose it makes them sound a little smarter.
 
2014-04-17 03:50:00 PM

neversubmit: Subby misspelt Termite and wouldn't it be more than one?


No, I believe subby is telling us to study it out

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Center_controlled_demolitio n_ conspiracy_theories
 
2014-04-17 03:51:01 PM

keypusher: I worked in that building.  I think most people who do absolutely hate it.  Creaks like crazy in the wind, and it's just ugly, like lots of things from the 1970s.

http://failures.wikispaces.com/Citicorp+Center


What strikes me is that the iconic slanted roof was meant for solar panels, but apparently the building faced the wrong way? That seems like a pretty big oversight, no?
 
2014-04-17 03:53:44 PM
yes, pat, i'd like to sell an n for $50
 
2014-04-17 03:54:19 PM

probesport: Mikey1969: I figured it was going to be about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash

Because a B-25 bomber crashing into your skyscraper is definitely NOT by design...

Not with that attitude.


www.reactiongifs.us
 
2014-04-17 03:54:53 PM
Wasn't this featured on an episode of Law and Order or something, where the architect killed the student who figured out the building was going to fall over if the wind shifted?
 
2014-04-17 03:56:58 PM
I was expecting the article to talk about current day. Has the building's structure been altered in any way? Is just standing as is? Do people work there, and realize that it could collapse in strong wind?

Am I expecting too much from my journalists?
 
2014-04-17 03:58:11 PM
My company owns that building. I have been up to see the damper.

We reinforced the legs after 9/11.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/15/nyregion/a-midtown-skyscraper-quie tl y-adds-armor.html
 
2014-04-17 03:58:21 PM
Good thing the tallest I've ever designed for is 5 stories.  Too bad it never went beyond the "is it even possible to have "x" square footage for "y" parking available.  The answer was yes.
 
2014-04-17 03:58:31 PM

archbishop: Personall, I hate the way NYC sounds and looks and try to avoid using it.


Yeah, especially in Wingdings.
 
2014-04-17 03:59:08 PM

lostcat: I was expecting the article to talk about current day. Has the building's structure been altered in any way? Is just standing as is? Do people work there, and realize that it could collapse in strong wind?

Am I expecting too much from my journalists?


Do I have any reading comprehension?
 
2014-04-17 03:59:44 PM

lostcat: I was expecting the article to talk about current day. Has the building's structure been altered in any way? Is just standing as is? Do people work there, and realize that it could collapse in strong wind?

Am I expecting too much from my journalists?


The engineer came forward and admitted to the mistake. Repairs on the welds were done in secret and completed pretty dang fast. It can now withstand a 700 (I think) year storm, so it's actually one of the most sound buildings standing today.
 
2014-04-17 04:01:00 PM

SenorPez: Wasn't this featured on an episode of Law and Order or something, where the architect killed the student who figured out the building was going to fall over if the wind shifted?


Numbers.
 
2014-04-17 04:01:27 PM
That is without a doubt one of the two ugliest buildings* to be tall enough to feature prominently in the skyline. I absolutely hate it.

* The other is Trump World/845 UN Plaza.
 
2014-04-17 04:01:51 PM
Well, my Father in Law knew this as it was happening. The story he told me was that the issue was that there were bolts where welds needed to be, and that is why they welded. The story left out that the City of NY knew about it, and they didn't have an evacuation plan, they had a recovery plan.
 
2014-04-17 04:02:23 PM
"...and an harmonica."
 
2014-04-17 04:02:50 PM
Yeah, I ruled out thermite when you said "almost" subby.


/pass the tinfoil.
 
2014-04-17 04:03:37 PM

archbishop: cwheelie: "an NYC"?

Yes, an enn-why-cee.  Personall, I hate the way NYC sounds and looks and try to avoid using it.  Never mind that the city's name is "New York" and not "New York City"


I had to stare at it for a minute to figure it out. I have never read NYC without saying New York City in my head.

I would think City is added to differentiate from the state of New York to avoid any potential confusion.
 
2014-04-17 04:04:19 PM

lostcat: Has the building's structure been altered in any way?


Yes, they reinforced almost all the bolted joints with welded two inch plates shortly after the problem was discovered.
 
2014-04-17 04:04:25 PM

Mikey1969: I figured it was going to be about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash

Because a B-25 bomber crashing into your skyscraper is definitely NOT by design...


The Empire State Building was was over-enigneered, there is probably twice as much steel in that thing than absolutely necessary.  In a gale force wind I think the top floors sway only an inch or so, if that.  It is not however, resistant to giant ape attacks.
 
2014-04-17 04:05:11 PM

lindalouwho: archbishop: cwheelie: "an NYC"?

Yes, an enn-why-cee.  Personall, I hate the way NYC sounds and looks and try to avoid using it.  Never mind that the city's name is "New York" and not "New York City"

I had to stare at it for a minute to figure it out. I have never read NYC without saying New York City in my head.

I would think City is added to differentiate from the state of New York to avoid any potential confusion.


Is that what you imagine, is it?

But the again, he's never known acting to write home about. So therefore...this is nothing to write to home about?
 
2014-04-17 04:05:15 PM
...also, I'm no architect, but my question would be, if the problem was fixed with some emergency welding, why wasn't it designed with those welds to begin with? Cost?
 
2014-04-17 04:05:37 PM
I'd argue the biggest design flaw that took down an NYC skyscraper would be religious zealotry. But that would mean I'd be supporting intelligent design or some such worthless crap.
 
2014-04-17 04:06:21 PM
Pretty sure i saw something on this building on the History channel at some point.
 
2014-04-17 04:07:13 PM

The Bestest: ...also, I'm no architect, but my question would be, if the problem was fixed with some emergency welding, why wasn't it designed with those welds to begin with? Cost?


If only they had discussed that on the article...
 
2014-04-17 04:08:42 PM

PC LOAD LETTER: Well, my Father in Law knew this as it was happening. The story he told me was that the issue was that there were bolts where welds needed to be, and that is why they welded. The story left out that the City of NY knew about it, and they didn't have an evacuation plan, they had a recovery plan.


Thats how we were taught it in our engineering ethics class.  Designer found bolts instead of welds and made them fix it.  Didn't have an increase in his engineering malpractice insurance.
 
2014-04-17 04:09:08 PM

Lord Dimwit: Mikey1969: I figured it was going to be about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash

Because a B-25 bomber crashing into your skyscraper is definitely NOT by design...

That's also the one and only time someone an Otis elevator's safety mechanisms failed. I'd say "our elevators can survive everything up to a direct hit by a B-25 bomber" is still a pretty good safety record.


Heh, came to this thread to post about the B-25 as well.  Very interesting story.

As for Otis, technically they didn't take a direct hit.  The building superstructure shielded them mostly.  Mostly.
 
2014-04-17 04:09:17 PM

The Bestest: ...also, I'm no architect, but my question would be, if the problem was fixed with some emergency welding, why wasn't it designed with those welds to begin with? Cost?


Based on the story posted above, that was exactly it, cheaper to use bolts then welds.
 
2014-04-17 04:10:26 PM

The Bestest: ...also, I'm no architect, but my question would be, if the problem was fixed with some emergency welding, why wasn't it designed with those welds to begin with? Cost?


The engineer states in the videos that it *was* designed with welds.  But for some reason it was built with bolts holding those joints instead.
 
2014-04-17 04:11:09 PM
Jesus Christ Slate, this story is almost 20 farking years old.

The story remained a secret until writer Joe Morgenstern overheard it being told at a party, and interviewed LeMessurier. Morgenstern broke the story in The New Yorker in 1995.

You even mention it's ancient news in your own damn article

Man, apparently I could make a living paraphrasing well known and widely researched civil and structural engineering farkups.

Piza, Golden Gate Bridge, WTC Fire Protection...
 
2014-04-17 04:11:20 PM

NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!: lindalouwho: archbishop: cwheelie: "an NYC"?

Yes, an enn-why-cee.  Personall, I hate the way NYC sounds and looks and try to avoid using it.  Never mind that the city's name is "New York" and not "New York City"

I had to stare at it for a minute to figure it out. I have never read NYC without saying New York City in my head.

I would think City is added to differentiate from the state of New York to avoid any potential confusion.

Is that what you imagine, is it?

But the again, he's never known acting to write home about. So therefore...this is nothing to write to home about?


You dolt!
 
2014-04-17 04:12:08 PM

NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!: If only they had discussed that on the article...


It didn't?

My understanding of the situation is this: it was designed to withstand a 55-year storm, but turns out someone forgot to carry the 2 and was only rated as a 16 year storm, so some emergency welding later and viola, it can now withstand a 700 year storm.

My question is, if you knew of a way to make it 14x as strong as (what you thought was) your original design, why wouldn't you in the first place?
 
2014-04-17 04:13:10 PM

Eriond: The engineer states in the videos that it *was* designed with welds.  But for some reason it was built with bolts holding those joints instead.


Ah (didn't watch the video)
 
2014-04-17 04:13:58 PM

Mikey1969: I figured it was going to be about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-25_Empire_State_Building_crash

Because a B-25 bomber crashing into your skyscraper is definitely NOT by design...


"Albert Perna, a Navy aviation machinist's mate hitching a ride was not found until 2 days later after search crews found his body had gone through an elevator shaft and fallen to the bottom."

As if it's not horrifying enough that he was just catching a ride on this plane that smashed into a skyscraper, but then his body is flung out of the plane, into an elevator shaft, and plummets to the bottom.  I really hope he died at the plane's impact and didn't have to go through all of that while conscious...
 
2014-04-17 04:14:48 PM

The Bestest: NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!: If only they had discussed that on the article...

It didn't?

My understanding of the situation is this: it was designed to withstand a 55-year storm, but turns out someone forgot to carry the 2 and was only rated as a 16 year storm, so some emergency welding later and viola, it can now withstand a 700 year storm.

My question is, if you knew of a way to make it 14x as strong as (what you thought was) your original design, why wouldn't you in the first place?


The architect didn't account for quartering winds, since in a NORMAL building those are the lesser threat.
 
2014-04-17 04:15:59 PM

PC LOAD LETTER: Well, my Father in Law knew this as it was happening. The story he told me was that the issue was that there were bolts where welds needed to be, and that is why they welded. The story left out that the City of NY knew about it, and they didn't have an evacuation plan, they had a recovery plan.


Yup- from the story they paraphrased the original design the lead engineer approved had CALLED for welds but the construction company had argued they were overdesigned and too expensive and the local office had approved the change to bolts. The design would have had some issues even if the welds had originally been used, but the bolted joints were more susceptible so the repair was to weld additional plates on.
 
2014-04-17 04:16:15 PM
Ugh I am so conditioned by the media in the Great Recession that all I got from this story is that when bankers fail, they can divert 2500 people's volunteer hours from the important duties at the Red Cross for months, effectively getting tens of millions of dollars in support for free from the general public, not counting the opportunity cost the public lost by donating all those hours. Ugh, imagine trying to explain to a space alien why a bank's complete disastrous failure is rewarded by the government and ordinary folks with the authority to command 2500 people to work for free.
 
2014-04-17 04:16:17 PM
Diane Hartley sounds like someone I would like to party with.

that is all.
 
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