In Shanghai, a 13 story apartment building literally fell over on it's face. Apparently they used inadequate pilings and liquefied the soil via the excavation. "Large quantities of earth were removed and dumped in a landfill next to a nearby creek; the weight of the earth caused the river bank to collapse, which, in turn, allowed water to seep into the ground, creating a muddy foundation for the building that toppled."
Architecture in the US is so good at the fundamentals of construction that the discussion of the value of architecture often surrounds topics such as style, design, tectonics, being green, etc.
But when an event like this happens, it's a very straightforward reminder of the core value of architecture. Architects are licensed under oath to protect the "Health, Safety, and Welfare of the Public" so that our buildings don't end up like this one.
Full Story Here from the Wall Street Journal