News that the Harmon Hotel, designed by Foster + Partners, is likely to collapse in an earthquake has sent ripples through the architecture and construction industries. Featuring a not-so-eco friendly elliptical layout and a highly reflective exterior, the boutique hotel, owned by MGM Resorts International, is being called “beyond repair” and unfortunately seems slated for demolition.
The Harmon Totel tower broke ground in 2006, but in 2008 Halcrow Yolles Structure Engineer discovered serious defects in the building’s first 15 stories of rebar reinforcement. A band-aid re-design reduced the planned 49 story tower to 28 stories, but squabbles between MGM and the general contractor, Perini Building Co., continued.
Perini held in an earlier statement that the Foster + Partners drawings depicted steel construction that is impossible to implement, though the company’s subcontractor Pacific Coast Steel was ordered to pay $14,105 in fines after a Nevada State Contractors Board investigation discovered “workmanship” issues. A new report published by California-based engineering consultancy Weidlinger Associates finds the Harmon Hotel beyond repair even though an earlier goverment report found the building repairable.
Perini claims “the Harmon is worth more dead than alive to MGM.” Meanwhile, the rest of the CityCenter plan – a joint project between MGM and Dubai World that is the largest privately funded project in U.S. history – is also beset with problems. To date, six people have been killed on the construction site.