Someone Didn’t Think Their Projects Through: 40 Terrible Architectural Fails

By Aileen D August 31, 2022

Becoming an architect demands a great deal of time and focus. Architects have to factor in safety besides designing a work of art. You would think that architects have mastered the craft of drawing projects that are functional and safe, but that’s not always true.

Sometimes architects choose one over the other. Poor design costs locals and homeowners more, whether it’s for a lack of foresight or budget constraints. By the time something is built, it will have been too late to fix things. It’s not like they are designing the building in a computer program. There’s no way of hitting ctrl + z, and people are left with buildings or fixtures that endanger their safety.

Here are some of the worst architectural fails proving that some professionals don’t think their projects through.

Needs a Pitstop

We know how tiring it is to climb a flight of stairs. So this architect might have thought that giving people a landing could help them catch their breath. Sadly this landing will do anything but. Heart rates spike after seeing…

Image courtesy of unknown / Reddit

…how high up they have climbed. Residents are left at the mercy of this flat owner, who can let strangers climb in the window or leave them hanging. Tough luck if there’s no one around. Next time we’re using the elevator.

Can’t Go Home Drunk

It may not look like it, but the Japanese are pretty hardcore. They can hold their liquor, downing bottles of sake, each containing nearly 15 to 20% of alcohol. But instead of stumbling through the streets, you will find Japanese lying by alleyways.

Image Courtesy of maxpowerzs / Reddit

It is a dangerous walk home if you happen to cross bridges like these. Fall headfirst, and you will find the water colored in blood and rice wine. It doesn’t help that there are no rails on this bridge too.

Don’t Look Down

Sometimes, too much of something is a bad thing. While we applaud this person’s ingenuity, we would prefer our boring, old staircase design. At least we wouldn’t have to put so much thought into climbing down the stairs. One wrong move…

Image courtesy of lolammo / Reddit

…and you’re guaranteed a hard landing with the possible risk of fractures. Some homeowners say it is better to keep your eyes straight ahead. If you look down at where you are stepping, you are more likely to mess up.

Great First Date

We have been told that doing things that give you an adrenaline rush with a partner can help strengthen your relationship. So if you feel that the passion has died down, just book a five-course meal in this open restaurant.

Image Courteys of irish pubstar / Reddit

The whole thing is supported by cable wires. If dining 100 meters off the ground is not enough to make your heart race, then maybe a flamethrower food chef could help. If that doesn’t cut it, then it might be time to find another beau.

Poor Performance Rating

The 80s and the 90s created the worst business designs. Management treated their employees unfairly and harshly from the looks of this building. If you bravely resigned from your post (which, as it is, is already unlikely), then you were booted out of this special door.

Image Courtesy of unknown / reddit

No turning back now, sailor. Management nudges you a step closer to oblivion. They roll your resignation letter and then poke you with it until you you’re an inch towards the edge. Might as well get it over with and take the plunge!

Childhood Dream

Most of us never really outgrow childhood. We live out our dreams hoping to fulfill our childish fantasies, kind of like this architect who built himself a tree house overlooking the city. You’ll want to be careful when getting your newspaper from the porch.

Image courtesy of deadburgerboy / reddit

And with a treehouse this high up, you have no need for air conditioning or fans. You will have the high altitude to provide you with cold temperatures all year long. The only drawback is carrying bulky food items up those rungs.

It’s Leg Day!

With these kinds of architectural feats, it is no wonder India draws tourists from all over the world. Stairwells built over a thousand years ago command the awe and respect of visitors, largely because scaling these walls requires physical endurance.

Image courtesy of wikipedia / it / reddit

The Chand Baori was built around the 8th and 9th centuries. If you fancy climbing down 3500 steps, you will have descended 20 meters to the center of the earth. People would gather water from the pits and place them in jugs. Then they would walk back to their houses.

Fancy A Back Massage?

This is an unspoken reality amongst those who frequently travel. Traveling can wear you out. Oftentimes you don’t get enough sleep, or you might be carrying around bulky bags. One of the best buys a traveler can make is a good back massage.

Image courtesy of robotevil / reddit

Reddit user robotevil is no stranger to this. That is why she decided to take this train to Machu Picchu, which would afford her a back massage en route. Of course, there is the danger of falling from a sharp cliff, but hey, she isn’t complaining.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

This is the first time we have heard of a navigable aqueduct that is far up the ground. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct doesn’t only boast of being the longest aqueduct in Great Britain, but it’s also the tallest canal aqueduct in the whole world.

Image courtesy of traumatic acid / REddit

If you can’t bear to walk or jog along the footpath, you can always row your boat along the watercourse beside it. Management will have you wear a vest, whereas, in reality, you should be made to wear a parachute.


It might look like all fun and games, but there have been a number of injuries reported on waterslides. Where there is water, there is a risk of falls from slippery surfaces, scrapes, dislocations, and headbangs from high-velocity slides like this one.

Image Courtesy of metricules / Reddit

Depending on your initial position, you could end up with a chafed butt or a dislocated neck. We would probably go for the latter. One snap, and you’re done. But with a chafe, you would have a week to bear as your skin heals itself.

Ordering Food Instead

We don’t think we have come across a hotel like this. They have found a fail-safe way to keep guests from dining outside. If you were to walk on padded rugs designed like this, you would probably order food via room service.

Image courtesy of Hun10dog / Reddit

Is it just us, or do these rugs make you feel woozy? This is probably why despite their excellent room service, the hotel gets a whopping 3-star rating. Guests looking for a little rest and recreation end up getting a migraine!

Chilling Poolside

You know you have reached the top when you can afford to buy yourself a ten-bedroom house with an expansive lawn. The interior is lined with top-of-the-art gadgets and staircase designs that look like this. Anything in the name of art, right?

Image Courtesy of whitae / Reddit

Of course, with the insane amount of money you earn, you can afford to buy yourself health insurance that guarantees coverage from falls and fractures. We’re sure that will come in handy when you come home after a rad drinking session with friends.

False Hope

One of the most important things an architect and engineer should design are the exit paths during a fire or an earthquake. We don’t know how this business owner managed to get his permit with a fire escape that looks like this.

Image courtesy of Chriss899 / Reddit

Just when you thought that you could go home safely to your kids, you step on the landing to realize that you had been given false hope. There is no way down except a 30-meter jump on the concrete below.

Scream Their Heads Off

The employee turnover rate at this hotel is pretty high. Most receptionists and staff don’t last for longer than a year. It doesn’t come as a surprise that management is a b****, what with designs like this lining the floors.

Image Courtesy of Chriss899 / Reddit

Before reaching their rooms, guests manage to scream their heads off. Some are quick to shuffle to the side, while others manage to heighten their performance and stumble. If management can pull off this trick on you, imagine what they do to their employees.

For the Modern Man

Just how does the modern man command respect? He dresses impeccably, even if it is just with jeans and white tees. He is well-versed with the art of making connections, and he has a bachelor pad that is effortlessly well-maintained.

Image courtesy of drillbit16 / Reddit

He doesn’t need that much space. He can make do with a two-bedroom loft, a couple of furniture, and a closet of clothes. You might think it’ll look cramped, but he will repurpose some items like stairs into a desk, cabinet, and a gurney.

Stay In Your Lane

Even without a traffic enforcer, you can expect cars in this city to obey the traffic rules and regulations. Drivers will yield to pedestrians and, if possible, avoid changing lanes. Even if they wanted to, these things would keep them from doing so.

Image Courtesy of [unknown] / Reddit

We haven’t seen anything quite like this. But we can tell you one thing for sure; these are highly effective at keeping cars and motorcycles out of the bicycle lanes. It’s just not worth your shocks if you have to drive over these bumps.

Must Use Paddleboard

Everyone knows that this family has a love for the outdoors. You will find them camping, scuba diving, or even surfing every weekend. Their beach house is inspired by the wind-driven waves that break at shore. Do you see the semblance?

Image courtesy of mugbee0 / Reddit

The only way to get down these stairs is to surf on a paddleboard. Expect a tumble and a loud thump against the wood board. Fortunately, you have a rack of shoes to soften the blow. Would you ever want to stay in this family’s house?

Headed to the Next Life

This highway is like no other. Sure, it will get you to your life’s destination a lot quicker, but the locals refuse to use it. Take a couple of seconds to look at the highway to figure out why. We’ll give you a tip; it’s Saint Peter collecting the toll fees.

Image Courtesy of jabbett / Reddit

In case you’re wondering, there haven’t been any accidents in this parking lot. It’s hardly believable, given how realistic this mural is, painted on the back of Acme Incorporated. This is a highway we would rather take a detour from.

No Jumping

There are simply some people who love to live life on the edge. If you’re one of the few, then you might want to incorporate this feature in your house or flat. Just don’t jump while standing on this ledge. It’s a long way down.

Image courtesy of TheGr8Canadian / Reddit

We wouldn’t suggest that you stand here if you ladies are wearing a skirt or a dress. We know you have always been showstoppers, but this isn’t the way to draw the attention of the crowd. Change into pants or shorts before heading out.

Wanted: Gondolier

The grand canals of Italy divide the city into two parts. These waterways are used by locals to transport people and goods around Venice. But make no mistake, these waters aren’t meant for bathing. These are used as a sewage disposal system.

Image Courtesy of starlord2047 / Reddit

Wanting to follow suit, this suburban developer designed rows and rows of houses that are connected by one large pool. At least there’s something to help cool residents down during summer. But it isn’t too promising if one person with sore eyes decides to swim.

Safety Second

You know the architect didn’t understand the assignment when he came up with something breathtaking yet unsafe as this. He might have been banking on blinding people with this room’s sheer aesthete and getting paid for it. But he can’t fool us!

Image courtesy of Lagoon Room / Reddit

After taking an hour-long bath, remember to drain the tub before stepping out. Make sure to dry your whole body and feet. If you don’t, you might end up sprawling on your back, getting an untimely stone massage from those pebbles on the floor.

Straight to Breakfast

How long does it take you to get ready for work? It might take someone an hour, but with this home design, it should take you half the time to leave the house. After bathing, all you need to do is step out of the tub…

Image Courtesy of the longe ginger 9 / Reddit

…and let gravity do all the work of transporting you to the kitchen…or hospital. After all, it doesn’t really matter where you end up, so long as you get out of the house, stat. You want to start the day productively!

Watch Your Step

Having a pet can help manage anxiety. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, or a fish, pet owners reported that their presence improved mental health and general well-being. That is why this homeowner put up his breathtaking aquarium in his front yard.

Image Courtesy of Samxvalle / Reddit

You are going to want to watch your step while walking on those pods, though. The last thing you want happening is stepping on an unsuspecting fish or dousing your loafers in water. The water in this aquarium is only changed every few months.

Human Fryer

Amongst the pictures we have seen, this seems like the worst one yet. After landing a multi-million dollar deal with a business tycoon, this architect decided to make a human fryer out of a massive glass building. Does someone have a hatred for the human race, or what?

Image courtesy of badsalad / Reddit

This isn’t the first time he has done it. Experience has proven how successful he is at this job. Remember that glass is a heat insulator and that it can hold heat longer, keeping an even temperature for the cooking of humans throughout the process.

Expert Driver

How many years did it take you to become a master at parking your car? Think it took us two years to drive the car smack in the middle of two parking lines. But it took this person only a month to master that skill. He had to!

Image Courtesy of abyigit / Reddit

One wrong turn, and he might end up with more than a smashed windshield. He might end up knocking a floor out of his house. Would you ever risk driving your car through this steep path, or would you brave commuting every day?


Have you ever gone wall-climbing or, worse, bouldering? If you haven’t, you’re in luck. Climb these stairs, and you will have mastered both skills. It might take you a couple of hours or the whole day, but once you reach the top, you will have a scenic view to reward you.

Image Courtesy of mod-Bait 69 / Reddit

Of course, whoever designed these had the user in mind. Anytime you feel lightheaded from the altitude, you can always grasp the rusty chains that serve as handrails. If you’re this high up, you can also pray that God saves you.

What’s Rolling?

If we have learned one thing from these pictures, it is that you can never go wrong with simple designs. There is a good reason why they have remained staples over the years. They are effortless and practical, and they get the job done.

Image Courtesy of jonmpls / Reddit

We hadn’t thought it might be possible to have too many rocks in the house. But it ultimately depends on where you place them. You can never have too much in the garden, but pile them by the stairs, and you have an accident waiting to happen.

The Commitment to Place These Tiles

You have to give it to these workers. It takes a great deal of patience and commitment to lay these tiles spanning the whole length of the street. You won’t see a tile out of place or jutting out, not even by an inch!

Image courtesy of Zerfallagesetz / Reddit

It is a miracle how they were able to place these tiles side by side without getting a migraine or feeling dizzy. We would have probably given up and hung our helmets after an hour. It just doesn’t do to get paid at someone else’s expense.

Steep Slide

It isn’t a secret that the rich have an eccentric taste. It might be because they can afford to get away with what they do, or they can afford to take on greater (financial and health) risks. They have no need for handrails when they can get hip replacement surgery.

Image courtesy of burckbuluklu / reddit

From afar, we would have mistaken this staircase for a bookshelf. But upon closer inspection, you will notice that these shelves lead to the second floor. Just remember to climb or descend the stairs by the side, or you might end up sliding down that chute.

Closed Until Further Notice

This 15-foot-tall climbable structure rakes in crowds at a time. After all, who wouldn’t be drawn to it? It’s a magnificent work of art. But since it was opened to the public, there have been four fatal incidents; the last was the death of a 14-year-old.

Image Courtesy of wikipedia _ it / reddit

Those who have managed to climb the Hudson Yards Vessel noticed that the railings stay only waist-high all the way up to the top. Thus, those who are mentally unsound climb the Vessel only to jump off any of its lofty edges.

A Couple of Daredevils

These guys used to have a fear of heights. Little by little, they forced themselves to encounter this fear by jumping on a trampoline. Now, they can’t get enough of it. Now they have built the world’s largest trampoline suspended in the air.

Image courtesy of [unknown] / reddit

Three, two, one…everyone by the trampoline concertedly jumps to propel the one in yellow even higher. They do so repeatedly until they reach a record high. Then, they break his fall by placing a cushion in the middle. Well done, boys!

Stay on Your Right

There is an unspoken rule when walking a pathway or climbing the stairs. Keep on one’s right side. That should keep you from bumping into persons walking in the opposite direction, or in this case, keep anyone from falling off the stairs.

Image courtesy of ricochetblue / Reddit

For the first half of the stairs, you can support yourself by placing a hand against either side of the wall. But after the landing, you will have to rely on the mere presence of your mind to keep you from falling off the stairs. Not a pretty thought, isn’t it?

The Least Favorite Child

As much as they hate to admit it, parents have their favorites. Dads prefer bonding with their girls, whereas mums prefer spending time with their boys. Visit this house, and you can easily tell who these parents’ least favorite kid is.

Image courtesy of depressionandregret / Reddit

In case you’re wondering, this is the middle child. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, parents often place their attention on their firstborn and their youngest. Middle children? What about them? They’re big enough to take care of themselves.

Quick On Your Feet

It’s never easy getting used to another nation’s culture and way of living. People who move to the UK have a hard time understanding locals’ accents and navigating the city. It doesn’t help that they have buses you need to hop on and off.

Image courtesy of interestingcomputer5 / Reddit

Lucky you if the bus driver drives to a stop. Oftentimes, they just slow the bus down to give their passengers a couple of seconds to jump off. Apparently, this was the standard for years in the UK. You just needed to be quick on your feet.

Wide Awake

In this household, you had to be wide awake before you came down for breakfast. If you had to rub the crust off your eyes, then it might be the hard floor that will rouse you to awaken. Instead of coming early to class, you might have to call in sick.

Image courtesy of hibbitybibbitybop / Reddit

This kid has had to learn it the hard way a number of times. Now, he takes all the time that he needs before climbing down those stairs. If he’s in doubt, he sits on one step, then slides himself down unto the other.

Not for the Faint of Heart

Reddit user mightytribble has a massive house. When asked why he needs one, he explains it’s because he has only got one floor to stack all his furniture in. Ever since the architect installed this staircase, he has barely used the second floor.

Image Courtesy of MightyTribble / Reddit

We would probably do the same. We might even choose to keep the second floor empty. Why bother filling the rooms upstairs when it is nearly impossible to move furniture up these stairs? That is just fool’s play. What do you think?

Beware the Troll

Every children’s tale had some semblance of truth in it. Mulan was rooted in the story of a female warrior. And ugly trolls lurked underneath the bridge. That children’s story was told to keep kids from running amok on this.

Image courtesy of persnickitypenguin / Reddit

We don’t know how this architect failed to understand that kids and the elderly needed guardrails to cross this bridge safely. It may only be a couple of meters long, but one slip could land you in shallow waters below.

Childhood Complete

Reddit user DoritoPup wondered why his nephew refused to play by the park. He raced the kid to the slides only to see this. No wonder the little guy was afraid of climbing the slide. There was no way down without a broken leg.

Image courtesy of doritopup / Reddit

We can all agree that playgrounds are the last place you would want to be aesthetically pleasing, especially if it’s at the cost of your kids’ safety. So we can do with the bright neon colors and guardrails at least until they can identify which is yellow and green.

Starry, Starry Night

Who doesn’t want to stare up at the sky? It’s a luxury that can best be enjoyed by those who have a balcony. In case your home doesn’t have one, fret not. You can have something like this installed in your house.

Image courtesy of bp332106 / Reddit

You should be able to turn this windowsill into a balcony with a little push. But keep the young ones from seeing this cool feat. They might want to climb over that rail to catch a closer glimpse of the stars overhead.

It’s safe, trust us!

One of the biggest troubles with architectural fails is that they don’t necessarily give off “safe” vibes. We’re certain you looked at some of the pictures in this list and wondered how those buildings were still standing. And here’s yet another that’ll have you wondering:

Image courtesy of The-Duolingo-Owl / Reddit

Doesn’t it look like a child designed this building? It looks like a a Lego tower that a toddler would build. This is either an architectural masterpiece or a colossal fail. We wonder how this building is standing, considering that it seems like it was built upside down!