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Seoul, South Korea

By: Alyssa Oshiro-momohara, Brynn Watanabe, and Royce Miyahara

South Korea
A major international economic power.
12th largest economy in the world and the 3rd

largest in Asia. Construction is King. Industry has massive leeway to build whatever, whenever, and however they so desired.

Sampoong Department Store

Five-story tall department store, complex.

40,000 people shopped in the department store every day. New pink edifice of commercialization.

Background Information
Owner is Mr.Lee Joon.
Constructed in 1987. Considered to be one of the swankiest

stores in town. Had everything under one roof, from a gourmet grocery to high-end clothing and cosmetic boutiques.

Disaster Strikes!
6:00 pm on June 29th, 1995.
In less than 20 seconds, the 5-story

department store collapses into its four basements. Estimated 1,500 unsuspecting shoppers and employees trapped inside.

Killed more than 500 people.
Injured over 900 people. Resulted in about 270 billion

(approximately US$216 million) worth of property damage.

So why did it collapse??

No signs of a natural disaster.

Was not a terrorist act.

No wrecking ball was in sight.

Looking Deeper
Architects drawings did not match

the engineers calculations. Still not within building standards the structure should have been safe because of the margins of error calculated into design standards.

Management Decisions
Originally designed as an office building with four floors.
Mr. Joon carried out modifications over

objections of the original contractors, whom he fired and replaced.

Construction Flaws
Foundation on a former trash dump.
Addition of the concrete slab for the 5th floor

exceeded the design loads by a factor of 4. Relocation of AC unit on roof damaged the roof structure. Concrete was mixed with salt-water, speeding the deterioration of the steel used to strengthen the building.

Construction Flaws Part 2

Rebars were centimeters thinner than regulations would allow.
Size of columns reduced from 80 cm to 60

cm (under regulation size). 16 rebars per column was reduced to 8. Support columns were cut away to accommodate escalators. OVERALL-the strength was reduced by half.

Werent there any signs?

Building showed cracking due to the overload.

Cracks appeared in the ceiling of the fifth floor.

A worker noted a gas leak but request to close

store was denied. At the day of the collapse, the ceiling on the fifth floor started crumbling.

The only response to this was an order from Mr. Joon to move the expensive merchandise from the fifth to the ground floor. No further action was taken, nothing that would hinder the daily income.

It is considered the worst disaster in South Korea's (admittedly short) history as well as the worst structural collapse of a building in

modern history. Blamed for faulty design and shortcuts during construction.

Works Cited

oong.html 09/explorer_collapse.html 738f39cd5d90610acd7ad4d176b57d5