Failure is just a perception. What matters is the point of view. A failed attempt can provide valuable lessons that nothing else will. Architecture is a blend of science and art. Similarly to any other science-based field, failure is not only expected but also necessary to gain a better understanding of the subject. Making mistakes is natural, but learning from them is intentional. Once fallen will rise higher. There have been many ups and downs in the journey of architecture. But that is what taught others to be cautious.

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Architecture_©Heikki Nylund

1. Zizkov Tower, Prague

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Alienated structure_©Getty

To meet the needs of the time and the technological industry, a television transmission tower was built in Prague. This structure stands tall in the Czech Republic, the capital of Prague. Architecture is a responsive art form, which must complement its surroundings and pattern. Responsive to this typology, the architect designed the tower as an alienated structure within the area. As an elegant and stunning medieval city, Prague has a certain character. With all the criticism the building received, the designer added small statues of naked babies crawling down. Although it wasn’t praised in its era, it could be considered an art form.

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Statues of naked babies_©raimond Spekking

2. Kangbashi District of Ordos

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Ghost land_©Carla Hajjar

With the rise in population, the demand for housing increases. One of the leading nations facing the same problem came up with a city-level planning solution. China built the Kangbashi district in 2007 to house several investors who invested a great deal of money. As the need for an hour, the project was constructed with advanced technologies and finished in just five years. But since then, it has been a ghost town. Only about one-third of the town is occupied and the other is a desert. Taxation on property and defects in construction quality were the reasons behind the failure of this project.

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Waste of resources_©Carla Hajjar

3. Ryugyong Hotel, North Korea

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Ryugong Hotel_©Getty

Tourism is a never-ending industry. The Ryugyong Hotel was designed in response to the needs of North Korea. To meet the demand, a 3000-bedroom hotel was proposed. The project began in 1987 with a budget beyond the imagination. The approximate estimation of the project was calculated as 2 percent of North Korean GDP. Due to economic crises and many other reasons, the project remains unfinished. No tourist has yet set foot in the vicinity, and no one knows when one will. Despite these issues, it remains the 22nd tallest skyscraper in the world.

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Unfinished construction, Ryugong Hotel_©Eric Lafforgue

4. Vdara Hotel and Spa, Las Vegas

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Glass mask_©Brad Feinknopf

Climate analysis and directional study are essential to the efficient working of the structure. A climate-responsive building always promotes the function of the building. It is a glass-covered hotel, which is unsuitable for the climate. In addition, the building’s shape makes it uncomfortable to stay inside. The curved shape of the building forms a concave lens, which is covered in glass, acting as a reflector. Guests and staff have complained about burning and melting incidents, which have not been resolved. In this case, the pointed ray reflection hits the swimming pool directly, causing burns. All over the world, glass is used to present structures in a classy manner. But the real need for that climatic state is often ignored.

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Concave shape of Vdara Hotel and Spa_©Brad Feinknopf

5. Olympic Stadia, Greece

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Waste of land_©Serrnovic

Sports has been a longstanding tradition in Greece for entertainment and socializing. Many well-known gladiator stories emerged from that very land. Continuing the tradition of sports complexes, the world Olympics take place in various countries every year. Hosting the Olympics is itself very rewarding, but costs a fortune to the country. All the necessary stadiums and accommodations must be accounted for and provided. In 2004, the Olympics took place in the land of Greece. Many new infrastructures have been built to meet the needs of the people. Unfortunately, the majority of them were thrown away after the games ended. In the long run, this led to Greece’s economic loss.

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Olympic stadia_©Shutterstock

6. Ray and Maria Stata Center, Massachusetts

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Function follows form_©Emmanuel Huybrechts

One of the most striking and daring structures of the time was designed in the year 2004. Although the structure was constructed earlier, its functionality was introduced later. The structure shelters the MIT campus, providing a variety of courses. The program includes computer science, the department for language and philosophy, laboratories, and AI facilities. Since the form is designed unconventionally, it must be treated with extra care. Instead, after some time, building damages began to surface and questions were raised. It cost a lot of money to recover from those damages. It is crucial to process an exceptional design idea with extra care and attention to detail.

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Ray and Maria Stata Center_©Modlar

7. Tacoma Narrows Bridge, America

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The fall of Tacoma Narrows Bridge_©ASCE

Bridges are always considered marvels of architecture and civil engineering. This structure makes it easier for people to connect and commute. If the structure is built over a water body or valley, it may fail and cause severe damage. In one of the most tragic accidents in the history of the US state, in 1940, the bridge collapsed. The faulty use of cheap materials and poor construction led to this unfortunate event. In the world of construction, strength, and integrity play a vital role. Understanding and implementing this fact is an architect’s duty.

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The new stand_©Getty

8. Leaning Tower of Pisa

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Cathedral and bell tower_©Alexander Hassenstein

The web of cathedrals and churches stretches across Europe in its most striking form and culture. There are associated structures to these religious buildings which enhance their importance, such as the bell tower. In Italy, there is a famous free-standing bell tower, allied with the cathedral of Pisa. Tourists travel long distances to see this structure and it has become an unavoidable attraction. The faulty foundation on the unsuitable ground became the reason behind the tilting. The trend has continued over the years, with an annual increase of 1 millimeter. The faulty structure caught more attention than the stable structure.

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa_©Jaspa

9. Kemper Arena, Kansa

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Unfortunate event_©Brilliant News

It is an indoor stadium that hosts a variety of sports activities in the center of the city of Kansas. Visitors are drawn to the attractive, trussed roof. The structure stands tall as long as the supporting strengthening supports are rigid. Unfortunately, this was lacking in the trussed roof and led to the accident. With heavy rain and storms, the truss collected water on the top. The collected water formed a pool and the structure couldn’t hold that load. Unfortunately, there was one laborer inside when the accident took place and zero casualties were recorded. But these situational difficulties and loads must be considered while designing any structure.

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Present scenario_©Linetec

10. Lotus Riverside Complex, Shanghai

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The collapse_©Flickr

Residential projects are more than just a part of the construction industry and economy, they are also a dream for many families. Due to this fact and its importance, one must design consciously and obediently for the user. A 15-story residential project was under construction in 2009, with half of the dwellings being pre-booked. As the poor-quality material could not provide enough support, the building collapsed on the ground. Unfortunately, one laborer lost his life in this accident, and many more lost their dreams.

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Dreams to dust_©Flickr

Any structural damage can directly affect the lives of people. Architecture is an art form to explore and experiment with but also an avoidable responsibility as well. People trust the structure, but maintaining this trust is the responsibility of the designer. The law comes much later in the process as it pertains to who should be held responsible for the construction process, but human life is the most precious thing. The hand of responsibility and duty must always be kept in mind, despite all the freedom and unlimited opportunities that come the way.


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  5. Ghosh D. and Visakha S. (2022), Acheiving Universal Accesebilities In Indian Cities. 

Bhakti is in her last year of B.Arch. Having a keen interest in scopes of print media; She is exploring the communicative branches of architecture through various mediums. She enjoys experimenting with intangible interpretations of the relationship between space and people, moving beyond the tangible features of Architecture.