John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Time for a cigarette break out on my balcony – AGGH!
Ever stare up at a sky-kissing construction crane and wonder what's stopping it from falling over? The answer is at the very bottom, where work crews have fixed the tower in a massive concrete pad days or weeks before the building's begun.
That's the theory, anyway, and it doesn't always bear out in the real world. The importance of a structurally perfect crane anchor was on display this Sunday in Kirov, a city of 474,000 people located about 500 miles northeast of Moscow. Forceful winds blowing through a construction site began to move a huge crane sideways, setting it up for a destructive date with gravity and an apartment building.
“When the wind blew, I saw the crane running on rails about 100 meters in the direction of the house. As soon as it bumped into the stop, it fell down onto the 9-story house,” a witness said.
Seven cars parked in front of the apartment building were crushed under the boom heap of the collapsed crane. No one was injured in the incident.
The crane slashed an ugly tear through a series of balconies, canceling several residents' open-air smoking breaks for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, construction workers on the site continued to go about their duties as if nothing had happened, according to the person who filmed this video: