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Most architects dream of designing a building that will become an architectural masterpiece of note and will forever be remembered throughout history. However, on occasion, this entrance into the historical annals of architecture comes not because of success but because of failures in design or in the construction of a building that, as such, turn into clear examples of what should not be done. There is a thin line that exists between professional negligence and random placement, and for that reason, there are buildings that have become well known throughout the world due to some of the biggest mistakes in the history of architecture.


  1. Guangzhou Opera House (Zaha Hadid)


The Guangzhou Opera House in China is considered one of the most beautiful and sublime performing arts centres in the world. Its designer, the Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, was inspired by the environmental topography and the architectural style full of glazed and bright skyscrapers, to finally design the building full of geometrical patterns, marked angles and transparent surfaces.


However, following its inauguration and at the end of the next years, a series of cracks in the walls and ceiling started to appear, which produce glass falling toward the centre of the building. In this sense, the majority of the 75 thousand granite slabs that made up the surface of the construction detached due to the poor quality of the material and the extreme humidity of the city of Guangzhou in China. The construction team later argued that it was very difficult to carry out the artistic vision of Zaha Hadid.


  1. Westside Shopping Centre (Daniel Libeskind)


This shopping centre, located in Berna (Switzerland), was a true headache for the architect Daniel Libeskind. The reason is due to the fact that the building suffered  two complete collapses in the architectural structure. After its inauguration in 2008, the roof started to detach itself and lead to many adults and children being injured. The fall of a total surface of 100 metres squared of gypsum boards and insulation from a height of 10 metres above a covered pool led to this building becoming one of the biggest failures in the history of architecture.


  1. AON Centre (Edward Durell Stone)


Completed in the year 1973, the skyscraper AON building was raised that year as an architectural novelty because it grouped lifts, among other services within the nucleus of the construction. Also, the AON Building held a series of columns around the perimeter that defined the exterior shape of the building throughout the 83 floors and 346 metres in height.


Originally, the American architect Durell Stone covered the aforementioned columns with white marble. However, the shiny material was not able to resist the abrasive changes in temperature of the Chicago climate and started to form cracks in the surface. This mishap led to an urgent and drastic restructuring in the exterior of the skyscraper, which ended up completely recovering them in granite for an extra cost of 80 million dollars.


  1. Fallingwater (Frank Lloyd Wright)


One example of reaching the limits of what is technically impossible, Fallingwater was a house designed by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright commissioned by the businessman Edgar Kaufmann. It is a home built above the waterfall of the Bear Run River,  in Pennsylvania, USA, with a cementation based on the ledges of the mountain rock and the natural environment surrounded by deciduous trees.

During the construction of the home, everything seemed to be under control until the humidity of the area and the appearance of moulds started to produce cracks in the building terrace that had not been finished. It was in the year 1937 when the border of the terrace started deform, despite the fact that Wright affirmed that there were no issues. However, some years later, in 1995, the foundation that administered the house detected a deformation in the construction system and had to proceed in placing steel trusses to avoid any accidents and severe detachments.


  1. Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Santiago Calatrava)


The famous Palau de les Arts, or Art Palace in English, is the current site of the opera house in the community of Valencia, Spain. It is shaped in the form of an aerodynamic helmet and contains 4 auditoriums in total. It is considered the tallest opera house in the world with a total of 75 metre in height and reaching as tall as 14 floors. The building was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.


Following its inauguration in 2005, the main platform stage collapsed and the enclosure sunk in. A few years later, in 2014, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia reappeared on the media scene when sections of the roof began to fall due to strong winds and the building had to be closed for various months, following the corresponding renovations. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most well-known buildings in all of Valencia and not because of its resistant construction work.


  1. The Tower of Pisa (Bonanno Pisano)


It would be impossible not to name the infamous Tower of Pisa on this list. Overtime, the poorly cemented structure led to the belfry of the Cathedral in the Italian city of Pisa beginning to lean. The ground started to give way because the cement of the tower had very little depth and the weight of the building was progressively giving way to the original design. This was despite the hard efforts put forward to reform and straighten the tower. Currently, it has become an authentic symbol of the region and each year it attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.


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