They’re bigger, brighter, more efficient. And they change lives. Ten engineering projects that broke new ground (pun intended).
1. Olympic Velodrome, Stratford
One of the four permanent Olympic Park venues, and winner of the IStructE Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence. The Velodrome was designed with the practicality and elegance of a bicycle in mind – a real blend of creativity and efficient engineering.
2. New Street Station, Birmingham
Designed with a warping stainless-steel surface to reflect the bright Birmingham sky, the trains arriving and departing, and the shifting crowds of the station. The roof allows light into the atrium, with a characteristic girder layout to mimic the rail tracks below. Very clever.
3. Crossrail, London
The Elizabeth line will run 42km of new tunnels under the streets of London, serving 41 stations and including ten brand new stops.
It’s taken three years for eight giant tunnel boring machines to burrow the route, with 20-person ‘tunnel gangs’ working in shifts around the clock.
4. Al Maktoum Airport, Dubai
Other airports just don’t prepare you for the scale of Dubai's Al Maktoum International Airport. Stretching over 21 square miles, it’s designed to handle 200 wide-body aircraft at a time. Wow.
5. Jubail II, Saudi Arabia
When completed, this new city will contain at least 100 industrial plants, miles of railways, roads and highways, and an oil refinery producing over 350,000 barrels per day. The entire project is planned to be finished in 2024.
6. International Space Station, Space
The ISS circles the earth every 92 minutes, and currently has scheduled construction costs exceeding $60 billion. Contemplated expansions could exceed $1 trillion, by which point it could become a habitat for up to one million off-planet residents. Just imagine the views.
7. Dubailand, Dubai
Walt Disney World can fit three times inside this complex. The $64 billion Dubailand will have theme parks, sports venues, eco-tourism, health facilities, and science attractions. It will also have the world's largest hotel, with 6,500 rooms and a 10-million square foot mall.
8. South-to-North Water Transfer Project, China
The North of China is home to almost 50 percent of its population, but just 20 percent of the country's water resources. To fix the issue, China has funded construction of three huge canals, each more than 600 miles long and carrying water to the North from China's three largest rivers.
9. Great Man-Made River Project, Libya
Libya’s Great Man-Made River project started in 1985, and is the largest irrigation project in the world. When completed, it will irrigate more than 350,000 acres of arable land and will hugely increase available drinking water in most of Libya's urban centres.
10. Three Gorges Dam, China
As the world's largest dam, the Three Gorges is a mile and a half long and about 60 stories high. Its electrical generation capacity is more than eight times greater than the Hoover Dam, but only supplies two or three percent of China's 2016 energy needs.
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