The latest “crane index” report from construction industry tracking firm Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) reveals the ongoing construction boom across the American West, as the region's major cities see broad increases in the number of cranes on the ground. RLB’s biannual skyline count has tallied nearly 400 fixed cranes in operation across the U.S. and the Canadian cities of Toronto and Calgary. Toronto topped out the list, overall, with 72 cranes in operation. Seattle fell one spot to second overall, with Los Angeles, and Denver, Colorado—tallying 58, 36, and 35 cranes, respectively— rounding out the top three American cities on the list. Chicago; Portland, Oregon; Calgary; and San Francisco follow closely behind with the list with 34, 32, 29, and 22 cranes each. Seattle’s count has held steady from the last report in October 2016, when the city first captured top ranking. The cities of Calgary, Denver, Los Angeles, and Portland, according to the report, saw increases while crane counts over the period since, with counts for Boston, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Toronto remaining the same. In Seattle, the city’s emerging Denny Triangle neighborhood and regional growth associated with recent upzoning measures aimed at alleviating the regional housing crisis there helped to keep the city’s crane count high. Wolfstreet recently reported that an estimated 67,507 apartment units are in various stages of development in the city. In Los Angeles, meanwhile, a city-led push to add 8,000 hotel rooms to areas surrounding the Los Angeles Convention Center is responsible for many of the gains there, as several projects like the Gensler-designed Metropolis, Fig + Pico, and 1020 Figueroa developments climb out of the ground. High rise developments going up in surrounding downtown areas, as well as the ongoing construction of the new Los Angeles Rams National Football League team stadium by HKS Architects, account for some of the other gains. Overall, the RLB report cites strong growth in residential construction as an overall driver for the general increase in cranes across the region. RLB’s next report is due January 2018.
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The Saudi Arabia civil defence authority reports nearly 200 injured as preparations were being made for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The authority said the crane fell as a result of a storm in the vicinity, however, it is not yet known if this was the sole reason or whether there were any structural faults with the crane. A tweet below appears to show lightning hitting the crane minutes before it fell which may have caused the tragedy. If so, questions will be asked as to why it wasn't fitted with a sufficient electrical grounding mechanism. https://twitter.com/flyroundthewrld/status/642379123655053313 https://twitter.com/CNN/status/642406517648527361 https://twitter.com/BBCBreaking/status/642391030793433089 https://twitter.com/aamirsagar/status/642396441831448577 Every year hundreds of thousands of Muslims make their way to the site as part of the Hajj Pilgrimage. According to Al Jazeera, the crane fell at approximately 5:45p.m., with the mosque being packed 45 minutes before prayer. Some viewers may find footage in the video below disturbing and so viewer discretion is advised. https://youtu.be/SqxwoQLpC0A
Construction gone awry: crane driver accidentally extricates a house and causes car pile-up—or that’s what the artists will have you believe
A house “mistakenly” unearthed from the soil by an inebriated crane driver hangs mournfully over a construction site in Karlsruhe, southern Germany. Torn roots sprout from its base to remind onlookers that it was once a happy home before its violent extrication. The hyper-real sculpture by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich is suspended above a market square, where construction for a new tram network is in full swing. While it might appear to critique the built environment and associated human errors, the model house is intended to challenge resident’s perception of construction as an eyesore and something “divorced from the natural world.” "Pulled up by the Roots highlights this tension,” Ehrlich told Dezeen. “As living beings on an ever-changing planet, we can never be apart from the organic world; the architecture that we create is part and parcel of our environment." Inspired by the historical architecture of Friedrich Weinbrenner, Erlich’s reality-bending art addresses global themes of uprooting and migration, but it’s also there to remind people that “underneath the tons of metal and concrete of our cities, a vital organic presence remains.” Therefore, the roots are a sign of life and not destructive intervention. Pulled up by the Roots is part of The City is a Star, a series of realistic sculptures installed across Karlsruhe to commemorate its anniversary. Another spectacle to behold is a comically bent truck by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, whose rear wheels seem to be kicking off from the building behind it like a bucking bull. The artwork truck was recently slapped with a parking ticket, according to CityLab, but a report from KA News insists that the gag ticket was issued by a rare breed of city officials possessing a sense of humor, after the Center for Arts and Media (ZKM) publicly complained about having to pay the charges. The sculptures will be on view until September 27, 2015. Another satirical outlook on human foul-ups is a topsy-turvy pile-up of VW Beetles by Hans Hollein, titled Car Building. Were they also victim to the drunken crane driver’s clumsy hand?
The tallest freestanding crane ever erected in New York City is now in place to help SHoP's bronze, glass, and terracotta 57th Street tower rise to 1,428 feet. For those doing the math, that's about 32 feet taller than Raphael Viñoly's 432 Park and almost 100 feet shorter than the roof over at the Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill–designed "Central Park Tower," the supertall formerly known as "Nordstrom Tower." JDS Development, the company behind SHoP's 111 West 57th Street tower, told YIMBY that the building's crane was erected over the weekend and tops out at over 220 feet. The building is slated to be completed in 2017 with apartments starting at $14 million. So at least enjoy the view of the crane, because chances are slim you'll be enjoying the views from inside the tower.
Turns out the biggest construction site in Europe has got some moves. And all it takes to turn 42 cranes into a nimble-bodied dance troupe is some light choreography, a techno beat, and a fair amount of neon lighting. The dance, or the Krenasee event as it is officially known, took place in Austria last month at the site of a planned 20,000-square-foot suburb called Urban Lakeside Vienna. FilmSpektakel caught the action in all of its glory and put together this impressive time-lapse video. [Via Gizmodo.]
A 300-foot-tall crane collapsed today in Long Island City, Queens, injuring seven construction workers. The accident happened at the site of a new 26-story luxury residential tower by developer TF Cornerstone, part of the 21-acre waterfront East Coast development. The NY Times' City Room blog reported that crane owner, New York Crane and Equipment Corporation, was acquitted of manslaughter charges stemming from a previous 2008 collapse in Manhattan that killed two. Today's collapse of the temporary crane structure occurred while attempting to lift a load onto the construction site. Three of the injured were taken to the hospital and fortunately it's believed that injuries were non-life-threatening. More photos of the collapse at Curbed and Gothamist.
James Delayo, once the head of the Department of Building's crane inspectors until he was arrested two years ago for accepting bribes on the job, was sentenced to two to six years in prison today for his $10,000 take. According to the Times, Delayo apologized to the city, as well as his fellow crane inspectors, who "don’t deserve the bad publicity I brought them." The judge called the crime "an extraordinary betrayal of public trust," especially in light of the spate of crane accidents, some lethal, that preceded the city investigation that led to Delayo's arrest. Though as Curbed points out, Delayo was not actually the biggest crook at the department.
It may have been a jarring reminder of the two deadly crane accidents two springs before, but fortunately little more. A smaller mobile crane toppled onto 80 Maiden Lane in the Financial District on Saturday evening, but it caused little damage and no fatalities, unlike the collapse of two tower cranes in March and May 2008, which claimed seven and two lives, respectively. The exact cause of this latest accident remains unknown, but it was believed to be a combination of human error (the boom was not sufficiently lowered) and mechanical failure (bad hydraulics). In a twist of fate, the crane fell onto the building occupied by the city's Department of Inspections, which is charged with routing out the corrupt inspectors who let the prior accidents happen, though there appears to be no malfeasance in this incident. Two days later, two Brooklyn condos under construction collapsed, one injuring two four workers. This reminds us that last year there were but three construction fatalities in the city, down from 19 in 2008, partly because of stricter safety standards but also less work. While such construction accidents are unacceptable, they are also, as the mayor has said, the cost of doing business. The good news, then, appears to be that the city may finally be back in business.