The modern world is full of engineering marvels. From bridges to towering buildings to environmental solutions, these man-made structures wow and amaze and sometimes even defy nature and gravity.
We’ve combined a few of our favorite impressive modern engineering marvels. These may awe and amaze you or inspire you for your next engineering project.
Delta Works, The Netherlands. For centuries, the Netherlands had been subject to severe flooding thanks to the land’s location below and very near sea level.
However, in 1952 horrific regional flooding resulted in more than 8,000 deaths. The Delta Works project was created to protect the region’s vulnerability from storm surges. Delta Works is a massive infrastructural project using a series of dams, levees, and locks to enable the modulation of tides.
The project spanned four decades, from 1954 to 1997. Since its opening, it has been declared one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The Venice Tide Barrier Project, Venice, Italy. The world’s largest flood prevention project is awarded to the Venice Tide Barrier Project in Venice, Italy. Venice, the famous city of water, faces an urgent crisis about the ever-sinking city. To help keep the city from flooding and sinking further into the ocean, the Venice Tide Barrier Project began in 2003. The project operates using a series of panels spanning three inlets to allow water to surge from the Adriatic Ocean into the Venice lagoon.
English Channel Tunnel, The United Kingdom. The English Channel Tunnel links the shore of Kent in the UK with Pas-de-Calais in France through 31.35 miles of an underwater tunnel. At its deepest point, the tunnel sits 250 feet below sea level.
The channel carries high-speed passenger and freight trains. It’s the most extensive transportation system of its kind in the world. The tunnel was one of the most expensive projects of its time. Similar projects had been considered several times throughout history, but the tunnel as we know it today was planned in 1986 as a consorted effort between the UK and France. The tunnel was chosen over proposals for long suspension bridges, bridge-and-tunnel links, and other similar projects. Construction began in 1987 and was completed in 1991. It officially opened in 1994.
Millau Viaduct, Millau, France. The bridge is the tallest cable-stayed road bridge in the world to date. The cable-stay bridge was completed in 2004 in Southern France.
The giant bridge is an impressive engineering venture. Its highest tower measure 1,125 feet tall– surpassing the Eiffel Tower and are almost as tall as the Empire State Building.
Completed in 2004, the bridge’s goal was to alleviate congested traffic from Paris to Barcelona during the summer vacation months.
The bridge only took three years to complete. Typically a cable-stayed road bridge is built in sections and then lifted and put into position with cranes.
In addition, a new technique was used to engineer the bridge. After building the towers, engineers constructed the roadway on either side and then rolled the two sides into the center.
National Stadium, Beijing, China. The national stadium is the world’s largest steel structure. It’s nicknamed the Bird’s Nest since its shape and lattice-like design resemble the organic creation. Its elaborate design consisted of almost 26 miles of unwrapped steel. The foundation is made from two independent frames set 50 feet apart, an inner concrete red bowl for seating and an outer steel frame weighing 42,000 tons.
It was built for the 2008 Olympic Games and seats 80,000 people. The building is also one of the most energy-efficient stadiums in the world.
During the winter, underground geothermal pipes heat the indoor part of the stadium. In addition, underground cisterns collect and store rainwater for irrigation and use in restrooms.
The world is full of amazing man-made structures. These are just a small sample of some of the most awe-inspiring. What do you think the next century of engineering will bring?