10 Incredible Feats of Engineering and Construction

Since the birth of civilisation, mankind has constantly sought to outdo itself by building the biggest and grandest of structures. Inspired by faith, power, necessity or even just a spirit of exploration, there have been many great engineering and construction marvels over the centuries. The 10 introduced in this list are just some of those that represent the incredible vision of the human race.

THE MILLAU VIADUCT

With a mast summit of 1,125 feet, the Millau Viaduct in France is the world’s tallest bridge. Sporting a four-lane highway and a length of just over 1.5 miles, the bridge cost almost 400 million euros to build. Construction began in 2001, and it even opened almost a month ahead of schedule in December, 2004. The bridge is so high that it is often partially obscured beneath low-lying clouds, making it look as though it is literally floating in the sky.

Photo by Olivier Bacquet

THE HOOVER DAM

If people were to suddenly vanish from the face of the Earth, the vast Hoover Dam would still be standing for another 10,000 years before finally collapsing due to erosion. Opened in 1936, the dam generates 4.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year, delivering power to California, Arizona and Nevada. It is 726 feet tall, and its 17 generators use the power of falling water to generate enough electricity for more than 100,000 homes.

Photo by Airwolfhound

PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

By far the oldest of the wonders of the ancient world, the pyramids that make up part of the Giza Necropolis have continued to astound onlookers for over 4,500 years. It makes one wonder, that had the civilization which built it lasted longer, they might have been walking on the Moon long before the time of Christ.

Constructed as a fabulous tomb for Pharaoh Khufu, it stands 455 feet in height with a base of 756 feet, the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed by up to 40,000 people over 10 years.

Photo by Bruno Girin

GREAT WALL OF CHINA

One of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Great Wall of China is actually a series of walls spanning a total length of 13,170 miles. The first sections of the wall were constructed in around 2,700 years ago, with major expansions between 221 and 206 BC and 1368 to 1911.

By far the longest fortification ever built, the purpose of the wall was to defend the Chinese Empire from the Mongols and Machu to the north. Today, the Wall is the country’s most important tourist attraction.

Photo by Marianna

THE CHANNEL TUNNEL

Opened in 1994, the Channel Tunnel is a 31.4-mile long tunnel connecting the United Kingdom to France, making it by far the fastest way to travel without flying between the two countries. The enormous tunnel was an engineering challenge of truly epic promotions, and it consists of two train tunnels flanking a smaller service tunnel. Eleven colossal boring machines, with a combined weight of 12,000 tonnes, were used to drill through the miles of rock beneath the English Channel.

Photo by jespahjoy

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

In a constant state of freefall (hence the apparent lack of gravity) at an altitude of around 255 miles, the International Space Station spins around the Earth every 92 minutes. Launched in 1998, the ISS has proven to be one of the greatest and most successful feats of engineering of all time. It continues to be expanded and upgraded and it maintains a permanent crew of six.

The mission of the ISS is to carry out important scientific research into the cosmos and study the effects of microgravity.

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

THE PANAMA CANAL

Before the opening of the Panama Canal in August, 1914 after a decade of construction, ships had to travel thousands of miles around the landmass of South America to get to the Pacific Ocean. That all changed with the opening of the Panama Canal, a 48-mile shipping canal consisting of multiple locks, dams and even a huge artificial lake. It quickly became a critical conduit for international trade, and it is currently being expanded with a third lane set to open in 2016.

Photo by Alejandro Llanes

THE BURJ KALIFA

The United Arab Emirates is well known for its excessively outlandish construction projects, so it’s no surprise that this enormously wealthy oil country is also home to the world’s tallest building. Standing at 2,723 feet, the magnificent Burj Kalifa sports 211 floors and a floor area in excess of 3 million square feet. It contains both commercial and residential space, and it is home to the world’s highest restaurant, nightclub and observation deck.

Photo by Franklin Heijnen

LA SAGRADA FAMILIA

Designed by the eccentric genius Anton Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia is likely the most unique and otherworldly church ever conceived, and it is certainly the best known landmark in the city of Barcelona. Although construction started in 1882, is remains incomplete, with current estimations putting completion somewhere around 2027. Sporting both bizarreness and beauty in equal measures, the church is a perfect example of genius engineering combined with a truly innovative artistic approach.

Photo by jacinta valero

HADRON COLLIDER

One of the most awe-inspiring machines in the world, the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland spans a tunnel with a 17-mile circumference whose deepest points are over 570 feet below the surface. It is the most complex and largest experimental facility in the world, and costing almost 5 billion euros, it is also one of the most expensive.

The purpose of the LHC is to study some fundamental questions about physics and the universe including the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.

HADRON COLLIDER


Did we miss anything? If there is a glaring ommission from the list, let us know in the comment section below.


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