The 10 most troubled construction sites: when architecture becomes endless waiting

Building sites can be problematic, laboriously completed after endless processes, or still hanging at the mercy of events: when this happens, the boundary between architecture and epic is more blurred than ever.

Hands behind the back, body stretching out to grasp, from behind the mesh of an orange net, the secrets of a work in progress: if the construction site notoriously emanates a certain enchantment for the curious and enthusiasts of various kinds, the expectation gives way to frustration, impatience and indignation when the intellectual work becomes entangled in constraints that excessively extend the time of construction, leaving architectural vestiges exposed to events and neglect, very much beyond the foreseen deadlines.

This is the case of many construction works from the past to the present which, due to endogenous pathologies (a lack of programmatic vision in the design phase, procedural controversies, etc.) or exogenous factors (adversities such as geo-political tensions, financial crises, pandemics, etc.), have delays in completion ranging from a few decades to entire centuries and sometimes turn into epic and incredible building adventures.

Here is a selection of examples, from Gothic cathedrals (Ulm, Milan) to modern and contemporary interventions (Sagrada Familia, Sydney Opera House, Florence Palace of Justice, Ryugyong Hotel, Torre de David, World Islands, GEM, Jeddah Tower). Hailing those that have been completed and hoping that those still in progress between variations, extensions and disputes, suspensions and intermittent resumptions will be worth the waiting.

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