The world is full of wonders and we humans have been exploring each one of them since the day we were born. Today we all are astonished at the beauty of these wonders and gasp in awe looking at them which are a gift from Mother Nature. But if you want to see the man made marvels look around and you will witness modern day masterpieces of skill and hard work of the cleverest engineers of the planet. With the advancement of technology Mega Structures, tall Skyscrapers, tunnels, bridges, railway routes on water and even extremely advanced space and aircraft’s have become a reality. So I did my best to compile the list of top 10 engineering wonders of the world, Hope you will like it.
10. The Bailong Elevator
The Bailong Elevator holds the distinction for being the heaviest and the highest exterior elevator in the world. It is built fully with glass giving the passengers a picturesque look of the depths below, this elevator stands 1070 feet (330m) tall and is built on the side of a very big cliff in Zhangjiajie, China. This sight-seeing elevator is quite popular with the visitors who call it as “Hundred Dragon Elevator”, it can carry 50 people in one trip at a time and takes 2 minutes to go from the base to the top providing its service to 18,000 people daily year long. The construction of this elevator began in October 1999 and was completed in 2002 but the engineering expertise of this elevator is awe inspiring.
9. Millau Viaduct
The Millau Viaduct we can say is one of the most impressive marvels that engineers have ever created. Bridges are normally considered to be the architect’s area of expertise but Millau Viaduct is an exception as it was designed in collaboration with engineers. It is a cable-stayed road-bridge and it is the highest bridge in the world with each of its section’s summit at about 350 meters (1148 feet) and is taller than the Eiffel Tower. The Millau Viaduct is present in the Southern France and the bridge spans the valley of the river Tarn and connects the roadway between Paris and Barcelona. Due to its unique engineering style which is as amazing as the valley below it received the 2006 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award.
8. USS George H.W Bush (CVN-77)
USS George H.W Bush is an aircraft carrier was built by Northrop Grumman Newport News and it is the 10th and the final Nimitz-class super-carrier of the mighty U.S Navy. The construction began somewhere in 2003 and it was at last completed in 2009 costing a whopping $6.2 billion to the states. She is named after the former Director of Central Intelligence and the 41st President of the U.S.A, George H.W Bush. She spans over 1,092 feet in length and 1040 feet in waterline making her the worlds largest and the best warships. Equipped with the latest technology never ever used before her top speed is 30 knots or 56km/h having is powered by two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors and she can run 20-25 years without refueling.
7. Pan- STARRS
Pan-STARRS is an acronym for the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System which is a set of many astronomical cameras, telescopes and high end computing facilities used to survey the sky on a regular basis. Its key goal is to identify and detect the earth approaching objects like comets and asteroids that might cause a danger to our planet. Comet PANSTARRS was discovered by Pan-STARRS in June, 2011 and was named after the telescope. This has the largest digital camera ever built and records 1.4 billion pixels per image and each image requires 2 gigabyte of storage.
A classic example of what an engineering wonder looks like, Eurotunnel or Channel Tunnel also known as Chunnel is a 31-mile under water tunnel that starts in Folkestone, England and links it with Frethun in France. This 31-mile tunnel is one of the longest railway tunnels in the world of which 23 miles is in the sea. A Paris based company Groupe Eurotunnel S.A. built this Channel Tunnel and manages all its operations. This tunnel has three full sized tubes in total of which two tubes are for rail traffic and the other smaller tube in between the both is for emergency backup.
5. Three Gorges Dam
Think of China and the first thing that comes to our mind is the wonder famously known as “The Great Wall of China” but what many of us don’t know about is another wonders that is the Three Gorges Dam. The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric power station with an installed capacity of 22,500 MW and also the largest and biggest structure made of concrete. This dam is made up of only concrete and steel and is 2335m long and 185m above the sea level. This dam is always touted as the best engineering feats the world has ever witnessed but it is also a very controversial project in China because it displaced millions of people and flooded the heritage and archeological sites of China.
4. Palm Island
The Palm Island is another good example of modern engineering wonders as it the largest artificial Island,This Island is perhaps the most innovative and massive engineering feat that the mankind has ever achieved. In the Palm Islands there are 1500 villas and all are present on the artificial beaches which are the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira all of which are situated off the coast in the Persian Gulf in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Each island will be in the shape of a palm having a crescent shaped rock on top of it, it is formed by spraying and filling sand on the seabed with the use of dredging ships and the process is called as rainbowing.
3. Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge
Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge shows us that nothing is impossible for engineers of good caliber, this bridge is a byproduct of extreme engineering, as building a bridge on the Yangtze River Delta which is mostly characterized by having canals, rivers and lakes is a herculean task. Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge is situated on the rail line between Nanjing and Shanghai and holds the Guinness world record for being the world’s longest bridge stretching 164.8 km long. This bridge has 450,000 tons of steel structures and 10,000 workers were employed to built it for 4 years from 2006-2010 and it was inaugurated and officially opened on 30th June, 2011.
2. Beijing National Stadium
This astonishing structure is the most energy efficient and environmental friendly stadium in the world. Beijing National stadium, the National stadium or the Bird’s Nest as it is also called due to its intricate structure is the world’s largest steel structure. The design is a mix of Chinese mythology and symbols and it was built for the 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympics in China. The National Stadium consists of about 26 miles of unwrapped steel, with two independent frames with a distance of 50 feet between them and a concrete red bowl meant for seating around 80,000 people. The construction of the National Stadium was started on 24th December 2003 and it spanned for 5 years before it was officially opened on 28th June 2008.
1. Burj Al-Arab Hotel
When it comes to the list of engineering wonders we can’t even leave behind Burj Al-Arab Hotel, If Palm Island is an engineering wonder then Burj Al-Arab Hotel housed in this artificial beach 280m from Jumeirah beach is nothing short of an engineered masterpiece. Burj Al Arab is an iconic luxury hotel standing 829.8 m (2722 feet) it is the tallest hotel and the tallest man made structure in the world, this skyscraper is located in Dubai, UAE. The architects and engineers who made this utopian dream a reality are Skidmore, Owings, Merrill and Bill Baker as the chief structural engineer.