Computer simulation of Surfside tower collapse

Originally published at: Computer simulation of Surfside tower collapse | Boing Boing

7 Likes

Stuff doesn’t start until 1:30 in

6 Likes

It’s good at showing the collapse, but there needs to be narration and/or labels pointing out the flawed structural elements, bad design, and lack of maintenance that led to it. The music adds nothing here.

11 Likes

Cannot fathom how if you lived in any neighboring buildings, or similar builds nearby…how could you ever get a peaceful nights sleep again?

7 Likes

I would not be able to, i know because i sort of indirectly experienced something distantly related. Some years ago a building in my apt complex half burned down in the early morning over the weekend and at no point during this did i hear any sirens or anything. I found out about it on Monday when i drove to work and it shocked me, for the next year i was paranoid about the apartment burning down or a neighbor causing a fire. I sort of still worry about it but it was certainly worse back then.

4 Likes

Especially since most buildings on that coast have owners or HOAs too cheap to address these kinds of serious issues, and since Florida building inspectors seem to take a more casual approach toward mandating remediation.

I can almost guarantee you that there are residential buildings in the area with problems far more serious than gaping holes in the parking garage walls that haven’t been seen to for years. I can also almost guarantee you that the residents sleep soundly every night, because denial is a powerful force (especially for Florida Man).

4 Likes

I’d prefer just a Philip Glass soundtrack

3 Likes
7 Likes

As long as folks are very cautious that one credible scenario isn’t a resolved chain of events then: well, that’s interesting! …if no less horrifying.

(one of various worries here is there are armies of lawyers desperate for evidence to sue; and will rapidly glom onto any ‘expert’ witness - especially one with slick graphics -sigh-)

3 Likes

I loves me some Koyaanisqatsi. Fun fact: its creator, Godfrey Reggio, misspelled the name of the St. Louis housing project whose demolition is featured in that scene. The project was named after Tuskegee Airman Wendell O. Pruitt (and his fellow St. Louisan, U.S. Representative William Igoe).

3 Likes

At the same time I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that a LOT of people moved out of their condos in the ensuing weeks, especially ones built before 2000, after which construction standards were raised due to lessons from Hurrican Andrew.

1 Like

I’m not even sure it qualifies as credible, especially without some sort of explanatory information to accompany it. Two big flaws are to be seen from my perspective:

First, the initiation hypothesized in the descriptive text (see YouTube link), that “wetting [of the basement deck] caused the deck ceiling to be weakened to such an extent that basement pillars punched through the deck where additional load had peaked at the planter area”, is not what the simulation shows. Instead it shows random elements near the deck/wall interface oddly vibrating and falling out of place (see 1:35 or so). The punching shear happens at about 1:40, seemingly as a result of the other “failures”, whatever they are intended to represent. Also, what is the “additional load” that is to have “peaked” at the planters? There may be some info they’re not sharing here but that feels like a wave of the hand.

This video (other Surfside collapse simulation) shows far better the punching shear hypothesis, how it would initiate, and how the result would bring down the rest of the building. As a bonus it comes with better explanations and less dramatic music.

Second, as attractive as the hypothesis is that both these videos share, neither explain the video taken by a passerby of the concrete rubble just inside the garage entrance prior to the collapse. The location of that entrance is shown clearly at 0:28 (from outside) and 0:52 (from inside) in this video. For large pieces to appear at the bottom of that ramp before the main event I’m going to need a different theory of the collapse.

2 Likes

Yes, the complex was originally built to be segregated. Pruitt for the Blacks and Igoe for Whites.

2 Likes

Does anyone else find the presentation to be in poor taste? Mostly the soundtrack, but also the Hollywood-style editing to build tension for the first minute or so.

I feel like it would be better to just show the simulated collapse from the various angles, no sound. It would be more respectful.

6 Likes

Being a condo owner myself and having sat on an HOA board, one of the fundamental issues they deal with are balancing the maintenance needs of the complex with the financial resources of the tenants - especially in old buildings.

In my complex for example, the buildings are almost 40 years old with lots of old plumbing, crumbling masonry and brickwork. A recent bid the HOA received to repair much of the exterior came to around $4 million dollars. For a complex with only 42 residents, we’re looking at a special assessment of close to $100k per unit. That’s just out of reach for most owners to pony up - especially for older residents who may be on fixed incomes.

6 Likes

This is a definite concern and i’m not sure what considerations need to be taken into account. Is there a possibility that for important infrastructure repairs that will be expensive should the cost be offset somehow? In some ways i think so, just how we pay taxes to repair roads and bridges it might be good to consider the same for large buildings. Tearing down these condos and displacing people will cause more pain but to bankroll such a thing we’d have to raise taxes, which i’m down to do but you know how certain Americans are when it comes to that bullshit.

1 Like

Wow, that’s a shockingly relevant story (, bro).

If my house needed $100K worth of repairs, I’d be sad, but I could borrow it against my equity. But in a condo, the individual unit owners have the equity (or don’t), so I guess each would have to figure out how to raise it? Is there any way for the whole condominium* to borrow money, so the individual owners can pay over time?

*I notice that, confusingly, the term “condominium” is used both for a single unit and the whole development. I imagine (based on zero relevant knowledge or expertise, which is exactly how I roll) that it technically means the latter but is used informally (and more frequently) to mean the former. I’m using it here in that former sense, to mean the whole shebang.

3 Likes

How are condos long term viable? Everything needs maintenance eventually. I live in an apt - not my problem, it’s the landlords. If I had a house, it is my problem. Condo owners - it is every ones problem?

Shouldn’t there be a monthly maintenance fund, where part of it is maybe invested in long term grown investments, so that there is always a pool for eventual large projects? And regular upgrades/upkeep could be made?

Spitballing, never lived in a condo.

I did see a video about condos/apts in China, and they were showing how the insides of the apts maybe full of luxuries and well kept, but the outside literally no one does any upkeep. So they will ride in an elevator with no light for months because no one goes out to get a .50 cent bulb that burnt out. So I guess the “not my problem” way of thinking isn’t just in the US.

Technically, Condo’s have property lines between the units - owners are responsible for what’s inside their bounds. But large buildings have shared spaces and utilities that are a shared responsibility - like hallways, stairs, elevators, drain pipes, parking garages…

Compared to a Co-op where you buy into a cooperatively operated building and everybody shares all the cost proportionally to the size of their ownership - typically based on the size/assets of their unit.

1 Like

The legal term came first.