We explore ten amazing examples of engineering from around the globe that are redefining what is possible.
It’s a golden age for engineering, with teams all over the world building bigger, taller and longer than ever before. Here are 10 recent projects that will wow you.
Central Park Tower (USA)
It will become the tallest residential building in the world when it is completed in 2020, but that’s not the only remarkable thing about this enormous tower in New York City: at a vertigo-inducing height of 90m from the street, the tower will cantilever to the east, creating Central Park views for all north-facing residences.
Custom terracotta louvres on this huge five-building complex in China provide an aesthetic and functional solution to cladding the buildings and shading their vast glass façades from the sun. The project also features the largest single-layer shell grid construction area, and the largest single-layer shell body grid span, in China.
In its normal position, this low bridge in northern England allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the river without having to climb tall steps on either side. But when a ship needs to pass underneath, six hydraulic rams tilt the entire structure – which resembles a horseshoe laid flat – 40 degrees in five minutes.
CITIC Tower (China)
This 109-storey Beijing office building resembles a vase: it is wider at the top and the bottom of the structure than the middle floors, resulting in some scary views from the upper storeys. Much of the interior is taken up by 101 elevators.
Millau Viaduct (France)
Spanning a vast valley in the south of France, the Norman Foster-designed Millau Viaduct is not only the world’s tallest bridge (the tallest of the seven pylons measures 336m from top to base) but also one of the most elegant.
This underground rail construction project will span 117km when complete, crossing Greater London from east to west. As well as being an engineering feat, the project is a logistical challenge: the ground beneath the 2000-year-old city is already full of tunnels.
Shanghai Tower (China)
It may be the tallest building in China, but that doesn’t mean Shanghai Tower (completed in 2015) is an energy guzzler. In fact, it is the largest building to have achieved the prestigious LEED Platinum certification, and it features more than 200 built-in wind turbines that generate around 10% of its power.
Jeddah Tower (Saudi Arabia)
Under construction since 2013, this imposing skyscraper will stand a staggering 1km tall when it is completed in 2021, making it the tallest building on earth. It was designed by architect Adrian Smith, who also designed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (currently the world’s tallest building).
Brenner Base Tunnel (Italy and Austria)
This engineering marvel will eventually run 55km directly through the base of the Brenner Massif portion of the Alps mountain range, providing a much easier transit route than the current steep roads that run over the top. At its deepest point, the tunnel will be 1600m under the surface.
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (China)
This 55km bridge-and-tunnel network – comprised mainly of three cable-stayed mega-bridges – became the longest sea crossing on earth when it opened in 2018. It connects the three major cities on the Pearl River Delta, where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea.