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How one design flaw almost toppled a skyscraper - Alex Gendler

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  • 1,797 Questions Answered
  • TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

In 1978, Diane Hartley was writing her undergraduate architecture thesis when she made a shocking discovery. After weeks of poring over the Citicorp Center’s building plans, she’d stumbled on an oversight that threatened to topple the 59-story tower into one of New York City’s most densely populated districts. Alex Gendler digs into the skyscraper’s potentially deadly mistake.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Nicholas Paim
  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Storyboard Artist Alopra Studio
  • Animator Alopra Studio
  • Art Director Nicholas Paim
  • Music Stephen LaRosa
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Production Coordinator Abdallah Ewis
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more creators
Additional Resources for you to Explore
The Citicorp Tower is now officially known as 601 Lexington, but its history is now used as a case study in architectural and professional ethics. You can read about William LeMesurrier and his other work, learn more about the near-disaster, read the original New Yorker article, or find out more about Diane Hartley, including an interview.

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Nicholas Paim
  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Storyboard Artist Alopra Studio
  • Animator Alopra Studio
  • Art Director Nicholas Paim
  • Music Stephen LaRosa
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Production Coordinator Abdallah Ewis
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more creators

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