Although there have been multitudes of engineering success stories, there have also been some spectacular failures.
Not every building is designed to offer the best end result. Take a look at some of the biggest disasters ever to befall the engineering world.
1. Quebec Bridge
The Quebec Bridge was opened to the public in 1887 and was a national intercontinental railway project that spanned the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada. But this engineering feat failed not once but twice, and on its first opening to the public it collapsed only 15 seconds later.
A second chance saw it collapse again in 1916 before both the engineers that oversaw it were jailed.
2. Hyatt Regency Hotel Walkway Collapse
In 1981 the Hyatt in Kansas City hosted a tea dance that over 1600 people attended. Sadly, the walkways between the buildings were not spec’ed to hold anywhere near these volumes of people and they collapsed, killing a total of 114 people.
The accident was declared one of the worst in engineering history, as it could have easily been avoided.
3. Lotus Riverside Complex
China is known for its impressive buildings and many of them are sheer feats of engineering ingenuity. But the Lotus Riverside Complex, despite its amazing design, had several fatal flaws and it collapsed in June 2009, with several recorded fatalities.
In the end, blame was aid solely at the feet of the engineers who had moved huge sections of land to accommodate a multi level underground car park, thus destabilising the entire area.
4. Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2E
France’s Charles de Gaulle airport opened its terminal 2E amidst great fanfare in 2004. Sadly, on the same day a huge section of the terminal collapsed and killed 4 people.
Initially, an expert team of engineers couldn’t find any fault with the building, but it later emerged that the roof simply wasn’t strong enough to support the structure, and this had led to its collapse.
Possibly one of the most famous disasters ever, Chernobyl wiped out an entire city and to this day remains a disaster zone.
Bad safety features were blamed for the blast that effectively saw hundreds of thousands of people flee the area, leaving 31 dead and many to suffer the awful after effects of radiation exposure for years to come.
America’s first space station, Skylab launched in 1973, but even at the initial launch many were wary of its design.
Engineers expressed concern over the loss of solar panels and the lack of meteoroid protective shield, and eventually the space station returned to earth, as it never really performed as intended and it cost the program more than $3.5 million just to keep it afloat.
No list of engineering disasters is complete without the Titanic. This infamous ship was said to be sinkable, but the engineers behind it were proved to be fatally wrong. In 1912 the ship hit an iceberg and sank and took over 1500 people down with it.
In the end, an investigation revealed that there was no adequate protection system in place and the ships engineers had greatly over estimated its infallibility.