Entire High-Rise Building Tips Over

Posted on July 4, 2009

A newly built and unoccupied 13-story apartment building in Shanghai fell over with no apparent provocation. Miraculously, only one person died in the near-catastrophe.


The building fell over in one piece. Footage of the collapse on Hong Kong’s Cable Television showed the structure in a muddy construction site, pilings still visible at its base.


Construction was nearly complete on the luxury high-rise, situated fashionably near the Dianpu River on the outskirts of Shanghai.


No cause of the crash was immediately obvious. Some have speculated that the crash was the result of issues with nearby flood prevention from the Dianpu River.


Other observers claim that the collapse is indicative of widespread use of sub-par building materials and shoddy construction in China, a major concern in the rapidly urbanizing country. Last year, a steel arch on a bridge collapsed and killed seven, and a crane fell and killed five kindergartners.

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Rachel is a writer and tutor living in Virginia. She loves learning about other cultures and thinks we’re all a little wacky.
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40 thoughts on “Entire High-Rise Building Tips Over

  1. gary

    And who would now want to live in any of the other apartments on the same development? It can only be the piled foundations at fault… I can't see the others being 'snapped up' any time soon…..

  2. pacat

    must be built of legos…..Should have studied ground conditions a little more.Don't think I would want to live in a two story house if it was built on mud.

  3. So Sick

    Well, not too surprising, huh? I mean, here in the U.S. we have steel framed, 110 story high-rise buildings falling through themselves, at free-fall speed – even though it never happened before, or since, throughout the history of humanity – and all in the same day – completely defying the laws of physics. Isaac Newton would be shocked! What was it again, 9/11, 2001?

      1. Marla

        The fact that it failed in that manner was due to the fires… the material failed. It's kind of interesting, look at the research

        1. John

          no, i dont believe it was due to fires. it was due to demolition that caused the world trade centers to fall. fires cant cause steel to weaken to that point. WHY DOESNT YOUR CAR'S ENGINE MELT?

          1. i has brain

            your car's engine also doesn't have one big continuous fire in it. Just little tiny fires that go out over and over. Engine heat is from friction, not fire. Big difference.

          2. CaptainAmerica

            Your parents have any kids that lived? You are a tool. How do you think swords are made? Sword swallower. Steel loses it's strength RAPIDLY when heated. Ever see a tank hit by a HEAT round? Stop before you contaminate the rest of the gene pool.

    1. CaptainAmerica

      <DIV id=idc-comment-msg-div-110009320 class=idc-message><A class=idc-close title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(110009320)"><SPAN>Close Message</SPAN>
      Comment posted.
      <P class=idc-nomargin><A style="TEXT-DECORATION: none" class=idc-share-facebook onclick=IDC.ui.fb_wrapper(110009320) href="javascript: void(null)"><SPAN class=idc-share-inner><SPAN>Share on Facebook</SPAN></SPAN> or <A href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(110009320)">Close MessageThat's BS. The buildings collapsed because they WERE HIT BY PLANES you amateur. The fire destroyed their supporting strength and gravity took over. The real story is that they stood as long as they did. Controlled demolition… HA! Only an assh*le would believe that's possible. Yeah someone smuggled hundreds of pounds of explosives, miles of det. cord AND wired it all up, into THREE buildings (don't forget building 7) without ANYONE (like the people who work there everyday and would be the first killed) noticing. Uh huh. Then they had to convince arab terrorists to hijack planes and fly them directly into those floors (remembering that it was IMPOSSIBLE to discern any individual floor from the exterior of the WTC) Only assh*les believe that sh*t. All because some COLLEGE KID made it up in his mothers basement then made a DVD and every loser out there bought it. All this without a SHRED of proof.

  4. Dremacon

    Happened at 5am I believe they news said, and there were like 15 decorators indoor. Threw out the paper already and I´m too tired to look it up online, but it would explain how only one person died.

  5. pacat

    Think they will try to prop it up again?? It is a shame to waste the building,It has to say something about the builder,after all it stayed in one piece is in one piece.

  6. tanmikel

    the building material must have been very good , its the foundation that is the problem . the building is still relatively intact albeit lying sideways :) is ot possible

    1. CaptainAmerica

      Of course it was the weak foundation (probably water logged, not the part about the flood control) and piss poor Chinese building codes and construction. OR maybe George Bush had it blown up…

  7. Anon

    They could make a rather good tourist attraction out of that. Or even the only sideways hotel in the world.
    You couldn't build something like that if you tried.

    1. pacat

      Yeah, Something like "The Leaning Buildings of China".It has worked for Italy for lo these many years.
      Then there is always : Welcome to Mud Flats,The worlds only reclining Condos.

  8. pserine

    15 foot pylons in mud for a 13 story structure??? At a minimum, the pylons needed to be down to bedrock. You can't just "float " a building on mud and expect anything less than what happened.

  9. Gabriel Silverstein

    Welcome to new construction, it's not much better in the US or anywhere else. Look at the very minimal, skinny pilings and the fact that they are hollow (in addition to the above comment that they are not sunk into anything)?! This has little to do with soil conditions because even if those were fine a good stiff wind would have probably done the same thing later on…with a lot more people inside.

  10. Jeff Louie

    You can't make this up. Lucky there was enough space for it to clear or it would be a domino effect. I thing they are boot legging their own products.

  11. i has brain

    Clearly the government is the best at doing everything for everyone! I'm soooo glad our government will be running our health care soon.

  12. Garo Gabrielian

    The building is built with solid but flexible material or it would have crumbled, the foundation needs a lot more attention which raises the question on how safe are the buildings next door.
    Being that close to the river, there should have been a lot more more done on the ground to allowing water to drain away rather than build up in the foundation area

  13. CaptainAmerica

    The reality is that buildings collapse and PANCAKE ALL THE TIME. You just don't hear about it on the news unless its a slow news day. Truthers are idiots.

  14. Martin

    I believe this collapse was caused by the stupidity of the developer/construction team. The piles were correctly driven down to the bedrock but were incorrectly left hollow. Once the building was constructed the ground in front of it (where it landed) was dug up and the dirt placed in a pile behind the building. Heavy rain started to wash the dirt away from under the foundations at the front and cause extremely large loads on the ground at the back of the building resulting in the piles actually snapping and the building collapsing. Thats the way my lecturer at University tells it anyway

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