Imagining the stadiums of the future

Imagining the stadiums of the future

Video by WIRED Magazine. Featuring architects and designers from POPULOUS, the design firm responsible for most of the great new stadiums of the last 20 years.

Would you live in a highrise that was slowly tipping over?

For the record, there has never been a catastrophic failure by overturning of a high rise building. With the possible exception of the WTC towers on 9/11, no skyscraper has ever fallen over in an uncontrolled manner.

But there could always be a first time.

Enter the Millennium Tower in San Francisco.


Opened in 2009, the 58-story condo tower has sunk nearly a foot, and actually leaning 6 inches off plumb at the top.

Engineers are mixed on the exact amount the building has settled, but it is hard to argue with gravity. Take a look at one condo owner’s experiment with marbles:

According to the Associated Press:

The tower’s troubles are apparent in its five-floor underground garage, where Porsches and Lamborghinis sit near walls bearing floor-to-ceiling cracks, many bracketed by stress gauges to measure growth.


This is shaping up to be the exact plot of the 1984 novel “Skyscraper” by Robert Byrne. It’s a fun (and naively┬ápre-War on Terror) account of an overly-ambitious real estate tycoon who builds a shoddily-constructed highrise and tries to escape as it collapses around him. The hero of the story is a plucky civil engineer who tries to raise the alarm at the last minute. It’s my kind of story for sure, but a little far-fetched.



Dodson and other residents blame developers for what they say is a flawed design. The tower’s foundation, for instance, uses piles driven 60 to 90 feet into landfill, rather than the pricier option of going down at least 240 feet to bedrock.