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Why Buildings Fall Down

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by Matthys Levy & Mario Salvadori
W.W. Norton & Co., 2002
Soft cover, 6" x 9", 346 pages

Although modern technologies and new materials have greatly decreased the number of structural failures in today's world, buildings still fall down--and whenever a building, a bridge, a tunnel, or a dam collapses, it is front-page news and often the beginning of a hunt for clues and culprits as fascinating as any detective story. Now two world-renowned structural engineers take us on an enlightening guided tour through the history of architectural and structural disasters, from ancient time to the present.

Matthys Levy and Mario Salvadori examine buildings of all kinds, from ancient domes like Istanbul's Hagia Sophia to the state-of-the-art Hartford Civil Arena. Their subjects range from the man-caused destruction of the Parthenon to the earthquake damage of 1989 in Armenia and San Francisco, the Connecticut Thruway bridge collapse at Mianus, and one of the most fatal structural disasters in American history: the fall of the Hyatt Regency ballroom walkways in Kansas City. New to this edition is a chapter on how terrorism has become a threat in the collapse of buildings, as witnessed at the World Trade Center.

Matthys Levy, an architectural engineer, has won numerous awards, including the AIA Institute Honor Award. He is a principal of Weidlinger Associates, one of America's leading structural engineering firms. Mario Salvadori (1907-1997), author of Why Buildings Stand Up, was James Rnewick Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and Professor Emeritus of Architecture at Columbia University.

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