When this hotel skywalk collapsed, it was one of the deadliest structural failures in US history
Stephanie Buck
1468

I remember when that happened. Hyatt hotels were the great new thing back in the 1970s and 1980s, especially with their dramatic central atria. They redefined hotels with glass walls, glass elevators, skywalks, balconies and so on. It might seem hackneyed today, but they were something new and different.

When the skywalks collapsed in Kansas City, it was a shock. All that new architecture was now suspect. There had been so many advances in construction with glass, steel and concrete, and we had all assumed that it was safe. Kansas City demonstrated that it might not be.

There was a lot of new architecture starting in the 1970s. It was possible to push design and materials in novel ways, but it was also possible to push them too far. Look at the Citicorp building in NYC which had to be structurally reinforced in 1978, when it was already in use. Disaster was averted, but in Kansas City disaster happened.

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