Fastest Sinking Buildings On Earth
The need for a firm foundation should be apparent in the world of architecture. Over the course of recent history, world monuments and famous buildings have been making headlines for their propensity of losing height. The following contain some of the more recent examples of well known buildings coming back to Earth.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Sinking and slanting are just the start of the plethora of words that describe the condition of and the area surrounding the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This most famous example of lopsided architecture is located in Italy. This slanted tourist attraction was in jeopardy of toppling over. The Italian government pursued a course of action to prevent this from happening while retaining the building’s characteristic angle. A minor correction to the pitch and substantial attention to the surrounding ground has ensured stability from gradual decline over the next two centuries.
USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center
A building that is constructed to pay homage to a sunken vessel is next in the list of famous sinking buildings. Sure enough, the USS Arizona Memorial Center was settling into a landfill. The influx of unanticipated crowds had accelerated the sinking. Located on the shoreline, the structure was proving to be woefully inadequate in terms of safety. Engineers were consulted. The conclusion was either a massive overhaul of the existing structure or the construction of a larger facility that can handle the crowds. Sadly, this building was demolished to make way for the new visitors center.
Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City
The Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City has sunk 13 feet during the last century. The phenomenon is due to the great population the city holds. The vast consumption of water is to blame for many structures in this city experiencing a similar fate. The trove of water in the aquifer beneath the city is rapidly being used. The absence of water creates air pockets. Gravity works on the above ground and causes it to sink into the pockets of emptiness. This process will continue unless alternative sources of water can be found.
All of Venice
An entire city is rumored to be sinking again. Venice is the city of waterways. Rising sea levels are mostly but not completely to blame for the city settling. Using new technologies, it has been confirmed that the entire city is sinking two millimeters a year and tilting to the east. GPS gives elevation in absolute terms. InSAR analysis compares heights to the surrounding area. The comparison between the two provided the data to conclude that the entire city was in fact sinking as well as sea levels rising.
Shanghai World Financial Center
The Shanghai World Financial Center as well as the entire city has experienced a loss in elevation. In fact near 50 thousand square miles have settled an estimated eight inches into the ground. The loss of ground water is to blame here as it was in Mexico City.
It is impossible to plan for every contingency that can happen to a building’s environment. Rising sea levels and dwindling water supplies could have hardly been foreseen in the planning stages of some of these buildings. All the human race can do is learn from this history and improve on the next generation of buildings.
Peter Wendt is a Central Texas writer who recently found his home to be sinking. He contacted a foundation repair specialist through this site and once his home was repaired he decided to research other sinking buildings.