Architectural design flaws past and present

When construction of the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta commenced more than eight centuries ago, the structure was intended to be a white marble monument to God. However, because the Leaning Tower of Pisa was built on a soft mixture of clay, sand and seashells, it immediately began to sink and tilt to the south.

Historians are still unsure of the identity of the eight-story Romanesque tower’s architect. Whoever he was, he made sure there was no plaque or cornerstone giving him credit for what is today the world’s most famous example of an architectural design flaw.

Centuries later, design and engineering problems are still points of contention in disputes that can result in construction litigation.

Problems at home

A recent article in a North Carolina newspaper told the story of a businessman who has filed a lawsuit to get what he says are big and expensive problems fixed in his 24,500-square-foot south Charlotte home.

Ric Elias, CEO and co-founder of Red Ventures, is suing a group of companies that includes architects, builders and window-and-door manufacturers to force them to replace the custom-made windows and doors in the $16 million house.

Fogged up

In the lawsuit alleging negligence and breach of contract, Elias claims that door and window exteriors began deteriorating soon after he and his family moved in five years ago. He also alleges that faulty seals caused some of the $1.2 million collection of steel-and-glass doors and windows to fog up.

He says the problem diminishes both the value of the home and views of the estate perched next to the Quail Hollow Club’s 7th green.

According to the News & Record, the lawsuit names a Charlotte architect firm and builder, as well as a California-based manufacturer of doors and windows.

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