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Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Back in 1977 my undergraduate soils professor mentioned that there was a hotel constructed on a mat foundation in Mexico City that had two lobbies. Once the building had settled 10 feet, they started using the upper lobby. Was he pulling our legs? Does anyone know what hotel that might have been? I'm trying to convince non-engineers that it isn't total settlement you need to worry about.



RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

I recall hearing of this- though I'm pretty sure it was only 1 foot of settlement!

I suppose you're wanting to relate this situation to the leaning tower of Pisa as Uniform vs. Differential- I hope you also tell the layperson that it would take a God-like engineer to predict uniform settlement out of 10 feet! Testicular fortitude like that is unheard of these days...because these days we see law-suits once the cracks open to a quarter of an inch!

All the best,

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

It is probably a true story. One of my soil mechanics teachers told us in the seventies that you could guess how building were founded in Mexico : the piled ones had stairs going up from the street and those on mats had stairs going down !

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Hard to imagine it was 10'. How would something like that even happen.....bad geotech information? no geotech investigation? unforeseen sink hole?

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

The city has very thick deposits of very uniform normally-consolidated lake clay under it, so settlements are pretty easy to predict. On top of that, they're also withdrawing groundwater at an alarming rate which is causing massive subsidence.

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

I heard the NYC is also sinking due to the high rises. Is that true?

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

I don't think so - there is apparently a good layer of bedrock below Manhattan.

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RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

This discussion begs for mention of 'Foundation Engineering for Difficult Soils Conditions' Leonardo Zeevaert, 1983. His case history of Mexico City with discussion of the lake deposits, deposits of 'interesting volcanic soils' and earthquake problems is timeless.

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Maybe it is the basement that became the lobby. There are certain areas of Mexico City where the buildings are on piles and the streets have dropped many feet.

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Gregory Tschebotarioff shows photos of the National Theater in Mexico City, built in 1909, which had settled over 6 feet by publication of his book in 1973.

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Perhaps it is the Palacio de las Bellas Artes? If you have Lambe and Whitman book, look at Figure 1.3, it says: "The 2-m differential settlement between the street and the building on the right necessitated the stairs which were added as the settlement occurred. The general subsidence of this part of the city is 7 m!!"

RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Yes, that is the same building. Tschebotarioff reported that the building substructure was a mat 8' thick. That would have contributed to the settlement, but also to the stiffness. The building went down a lot, but hung together.


RE: Mexico City Hotel Lobby

Yes, it is a differential settlement between the road and the building. But the building settled evenly due to the mat contribution.

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