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Architects Need To Understand the Landscape

Some people will look at all of the terrible disasters that have happened in the history of modern architecture, and they may wonder how any of this could have happened in the first place. I think a lot of this simply comes down to the fact that some architects only focus on the building, apparently under the impression that the building is going to be constructed in a vacuum. They don’t always give enough thought to the fact that this building is going to be constructed in a location that may contribute to the stability of the building, or it might detract from it. Too many architects get enamored with their own unique creations that they seem to forget that they’re not sculptors who are designing something in order to put it on a pedestal.

The case of a certain Shanghai complex is a perfect example. This is a building that actually collapsed. There aren’t that many buildings that collapse during an architect’s career, largely because this is the sort of thing that can end an architect’s career. However, the reason the building collapsed is that it was constructed on a riverbank, or at least near one. The land and the terrain that’s near rivers tends to be very unstable, which isn’t good news for the people who build anything there, and is especially bad news for the people who want to live in anything that they built.

At least the building that collapsed didn’t take any other buildings with it, although that was a serious risk and it almost happened. However, the building itself was actually designed pretty well as far as I could tell. It was just in the wrong location. If it had been released in a vacuum, it would have been fine. If it had been released on a steadier terrain, it would have been fine. As such, it was constructed on terrain that would not have been favorable for any building, let alone a building that was housing a lot of different people.