When will the leaning tower of Pisa fall over? (Thinkstock)
When will the leaning tower of Pisa fall over?
Lexile

You asked us, When will the leaning tower of Pisa fall over?

Pretty much since the first stone was laid, the tower of Pisa in Italy has been a Keystone Kops version of architecture.

Not long after construction began in 1173, builders reached the third story. Then the thing began to tilt.

Theyd cleverly built it on a foundation of mud, sand and clay. It was kind of like quicksand, basically.

It took hundreds of years of fits and starts to complete the building. Architects tried columns of different heights to even out the lean. Of course, that only made things worse. And it gave the tower a bit of an interesting look. Kind of a banana shape.

As late as 1935, engineers managed to do exactly the wrong thing to try to shore up the tower.

By the 1990s, it was tilting 5.5 degrees to the south. That was just past the point at which it was supposed to collapse catastrophically.

Finally, someone figured out that it might help to just gently remove some of the soil. They took some from under the north side of the building, away from the list. And lo and behold if the good ship Pisa didnt start to right itself.

Now it lists at a comfortable and picturesque 4 degrees. The tower is in no immediate risk of toppling.

Unless theres a massive earthquake. Or a giant or tornado or meteorite or something.

For more stories like this, check us out every day at Smithsonian.com.

Critical thinking challenge: The author compares the tower to the shape of a banana. Which other objects have a similar shape?


Assigned 25 times


COMMENTS (8)
  • John0724-YYCA
    6/10/2015 - 06:28 p.m.

    Well it kind of does look like its going to fall because that thing is literally leaning which is kind of awesome at the same time because the tower is famous for its leaning and I want to climb it all the way to the top and see if I fall. I just hope that there is not going to be a harsh storm in Pisa because if it happens then the leaning tower will be destroyed.

  • william1108-yyca
    6/10/2015 - 07:28 p.m.

    It is so cool. I thought the leaning tower of Pisa would fall over some day. But when I read this I was surprised that the leaning tower would never fall. Even if you dig out a little dirt. But I wonder how it feels to go inside the tower. I will feel like I am leaning.

  • VictoriaBarrera
    6/18/2015 - 02:06 a.m.

    The text speaks mainly of the tower of Pisa and when this should fall over. The Tower of Pisa located in Italy was built on a foundation of sand, mud and clay, therefore, the base was very unstable which caused the tower began to lean. Many architects used different columns to straighten the tower but it only got worse things. It is said that the tower could collapse after a major earthquake, a tornado or meteorite.
    The author of this paper compared the shape of the tower of Pisa with a banana in my opinion and seeing the picture of the tower, I don't find this have the shape of a banana,as these have a curve, a curve I not see in the Tower of Pisa, also can't say if there is any object that resembles. For me the tower of Pisa is and will be a beautiful work of art and a tourist place that should be visited.

  • nolanb-Hyl
    6/19/2015 - 12:01 p.m.

    That's interesting I always wondered If the leaning tower of Pisa will ever fall. Also they have to be careful when leveling the tower because it could fall. Well its good that's its at a level that will not fall soon. This is why this article is interesting.

  • Alvarol97
    6/26/2015 - 05:06 p.m.

    Summary: This topic talks about the tower of Pisa and how it was built and why it is leaning, and now this architecture is a place to visit.
    Personal thinking: I think that this is a place that we must to visit if we go to Italy and if this structure don`t be leaning it wouldn't be the same attraction because this characteristic gives to it an special view.
    Critical thinking challenge: I don't know which another object have a similar form of a banana, it's difficult to find another object.

  • constanzaaraya
    7/06/2015 - 05:55 p.m.

    Resume:

    The tower of Pisa is an old building full of anecdotes. While we know that the tower of Pisa is an architectural beauty, also it entailed some risks, which could affect its shape, now also presents risks such as landslides, etc.

    Personal Opinion:

    In my case, I think the tower of Pisa does not have a shape, I mean, the tower was giving it her own shape through the years.

    Answer (Critical thinking challenge)

    The tower of Pisa has several forms, like between each. A bana, as mentioned by the author, a ruler to measure inclined, an inclined pencil, a sloping tree, etc.

  • constanzaaraya
    7/06/2015 - 05:59 p.m.

    Resume:

    The Tower of Pisa is an old building full of anecdotes. While we know that the tower of Pisa is an architectural beauty, also it entailed some risks, which could affect its shape, now also presents risks such as landslides, etc.


    Personal Opinion:

    In my case, I think the tower of Pisa does not have a shape, I mean, the tower was giving it her own shape through the years.


    Answer (Crtitical thinking challenge)

    The tower of Pisa has several forms, like between each. A bana, as mentioned by the author, a ruler to measure inclined, an inclined pencil, a sloping tree, etc.

  • FranciscaSanhueza
    7/08/2015 - 05:08 p.m.

    Trying to repair the Pisa tower its is unnecessary for me, just because the inclination or position of the tower make this structure unique more than the kind or type of structure. Maybe the reparation of the tower is the dream of some engineer or architect. Build something in a quicksand is not the greatest idea of the world, but it is a challenge. I hope Pisa tower never fall.

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