The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

After years of delays, the Harmon Hotel demolition is officially underway in Las Vegas. A Judge issued an order on May 5 that allowed the building’s owners to move forward with the demolition. The building cannot be imploded like most other buildings in Las Vegas due to its location and connection to the Crystal Shopping Center. Officials from MGM Resorts said that workers started removing scrap metal and other material from inside the empty building last week. Pedestrian protection systems will be installed around the property this week and one sidewalk will be closed down to protect those passing by the Harmon Hotel during the next year. MGM plans to have a crane arrive in the near future to begin removing the building piece by piece.

While the World Cup has gone smoothly for the most part over the last ten days, there has been one makeshift staircase that made the headlines for safety concerns. The video below shows footage taken by a Brazilian photographer of fans heading from the Maracana Stadium, the 79,000-seat stadium in Rio De Janiero that will host the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, to the nearby metro stop. The metal staircase is swaying from side to side in the video from the weight and movement of the fans. People who used the staircase after Argentina’s 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina also said the satir's wooden planks move when just one person is walking on them.

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Friday, 20 June 2014 10:46

Phoenix Towers Plan Unveiled

Chetwoods Architects, a British architectural firm, unveiled plans this week to build the world’s tallest and greenest towers. The Phoenix Towers as they are being called would be built in the Chinese city of Wuhan and would each stand 1,000 meters tall. In addition to being 150 meters taller than the Burj Khalifa, the two towers could actually help clean the city’s air and water and claim to be among the greenest skyscrapers in the world. Chetwoods submitted plans to the mayor of Wuhan six months ago and is waiting for approval to move forward with the project.

Construction is underway on the “Ping An International Finance Center” skyscraper in Shenzhen, China. Once completed, Ping An Insurance’s new headquarters will be the 3rd tallest building in the world and the tallest in China. Architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) designed the 660-meter tall skyscraper and Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering services for the project. The skyscraper will cost $680 million.

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The Federal Highway Administration traveled to Pennsylvania last week to demonstrate the capabilities of their new million-dollar bridge inspection robot named RABIT (Robotic Assisted Bridge Inspection Tool).  The Federal Highway Administration chose to demonstrate the robot's capability in front of members of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation because Pennsylvania has the most structurally deficient bridges of any state in the United States. The state is also home to the oldest bridges by average and has the third most bridges of any state. The FWHA believes that RABIT will become invaluable to DOTs around the country in the near future as a way to cut down on the manpower needed to inspect bridge decks.

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New York City officials unveiled an emergency housing unit prototype at a parking lot in Brooklyn on Tuesday. The prototype was developed in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. All available apartments in the city were rented shortly after the storm ended by people whose homes were damaged by the storm.  However there was not nearly enough vacant apartments to handle the demand and many people became sick of living in hotel rooms. Many New Yorkers had no other choice except to remain in their damaged, water-logged homes.