This paper aims to discuss two instances: first, the Kansas City Hyatt collapse which resulted in the loss of a 114 innocent lives and injuring 216 others; second, the City Corp Tower structural deficiency incident in Manhattan where responsible construction management helped save the lives of hundreds. In doing so, the paper will depict that professionalism, risk awareness and utmost responsibility are key attributes for engineers. Even though in the short term they may result to be financially burdensome, however in the long term the benefits of not only the engineer’s own reputation but most importantly, the safety of others may far outweigh the initial costs.
On July 17,1981 at an ongoing tea dance ,the walkway at the Hyatt Regency collapsed in Kansas city. The fourth floor bridge was suspended directly over the second floor bridge, with the third floor walkway offset several meters from the others. Construction difficulties resulted in a subtle but flawed design change that doubled the load on the connection between the fourth floor walkway support beams and the tie rods carrying the weight of both walkways. This new design was barely adequate to support the dead load weight of the structure itself, much less the added weight of the spectators. The connection failed and the fourth floor walkway collapsed onto the second floor and both walkways then fell to the lobby floor below, resulting in deaths and injuries.
The City Corp Tower in midtown Manhattan was built upon a church. This fifty-nine-story tower rested on four massive, nine-story-high stilts, which were positioned at the center of each side, rather than at each corner. This daring scheme allowed the designers to cantilever the building's corners seventy-two feet out over the church, on the northwest, and over a plaza on the southwest. Mr. William J Lemessurier who was the structural engineer for this tower explains about the peculiar geometry of this... [continues]
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