Ever since the agricultural revolution, humans have always pushed the limits of architecture and civil engineering. Starting from The Great Pyramid of Giza to Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, mankind has always broken the boundaries of what a megastructure should be. And with recent technological developments in construction in the last two centuries, we have witnessed the creation of some jaw-dropping behemoths in the world of megastructures. This is why in today’s article, we will be taking a look at some of these awesome feats of engineering. So, let’s not waste any more time and look through some of the largest megastructures in the world today!
Three Gorges Dam (Hubei, China)
A dam in the Yangtze River of China was envisioned by numerous Chinese leaders in the past century, but the sheer cost required for such an endeavor was a bit too much for a mostly impoverished 20th Century China. However, rapid economic growth in the past few decades has transformed China into an industrial and technological powerhouse. This has enabled the country to finally build a massive dam across the Yangtze River, with the dam being one of the largest megastructures in the world. The Three Gorges Dam in Hubei was finally constructed in the year 2006, and it is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world.
The dam was mainly built to reduce China’s reliance on fossil fuels and drive the nation towards greener, cleaner, and more sustainable energy sources. This dam has 32 turbines and two engines producing a total of 22,500 Megawatts of electricity. It cost the government around 37 billion US dollars. The dam’s water reservoir takes up a massive surface area of 1,084 square kilometers, equivalent to that of cities like New York and Los Angeles. This behemoth of a project is so large that when water is displaced from the dam, the rotation of the earth is slowed down by 0.06 microseconds. It spans a length of 2.3 kilometers and required 28 million cubic meters of concrete and 463,000 tons of steel during construction.
Beijing Daxing International Airport (Beijing, China)
In our last subheading, we talked about a dam in China. Now, we’ll be discussing the Beijing Daxing International Airport, an international airport located on the border of Beijing and Langfang in China. It might seem like something nondescript, as China is the country with the second-highest amount of air traffic in the world, with more than 550 million passengers traveling to and from China annually. But this airport is unique, not only because of its sheer size but also because of its ingenuity. Beijing is already home to the Beijing Capital International Airport, which is the second busiest airport in the world. But Beijing Daxing International Airport is poised to become a game changer in international air travel.
The airport consists of only one terminal, but it is the largest terminal in the world. This makes it the largest single-terminal airport in the world, spanning an area of 7.5 million square feet. The terminal is designed in such a way that it would only take a passenger 8 minutes at max to travel from one end of the terminal to another. Daxing Airport also has four runways, and parking for 150 airplanes. It is currently equipped to handle 75 million passengers annually, but future expansion will see it handle more than 120 million passengers. The airport is decked with all modern luxuries imaginable for travelers to enjoy. In the future, Beijing Daxing International Airport will be a vital hub of international air travel.
Boeing Everett Factory (Everett, Washington)
Now, we will be going from an airport in China to Boeing, the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, based in the United States. Boeing came to prominence during World War II, as it became a major supplier of military aircraft in the war effort. But it faced strong competition during the early years of the jet age in the 50s and early 60s, as passenger air travel became more prevalent. This is when Boeing changed air travel as we know it, with its creation of the Boeing 747, the most iconic and one of the largest wide-bodied jet airplanes ever created. To manufacture and assemble these colossal airplanes, they had to create an equally gigantic megastructure. Behold, the Boeing Everett Factory – the largest factory in the world.
By volume, the factory has a volume of more than 13 million cubic meters, surely making it the largest megastructure in the world by volume. Constructed in 1967, the building faced a few problems because of its massive size. It is so large, that the whole of Disneyland would fit inside it. It was so huge that the accumulation of warm air and moisture inside caused clouds to form below the ceiling. This was solved with the construction of a state of the art air-circulation system. 40,000 workers come to the factory every day to work on assembling many iconic Boeing airplanes, including the 747, 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner.
Palace of the Parliament (Bucharest, Romania)
In a recent article on the Bproperty Blog, we talked about some magnificent presidential residences worldwide. The megastructure that we will be mentioning next would trump all of those in both sheer size and extravagance. The Palace of the Parliament, located in Bucharest, Romania, was decreed by Nicolae Ceaușescu, President of Communist Romania. Meant to serve as the seat of the government and personal residence of the president, work on the building started in 1984. The whole of the historic old district of Bucharest was demolished to make way for this massive superstructure. It required 700 architects and 100,000 workers to construct this building. By the time construction was completed, the Romanian Revolution had already taken place, and it was chosen to be the seat of the two houses of the democratic Romanian parliament.
The Palace of the Parliament is the heaviest building in the world, weighing in at a whopping 4,098,500,000 Kilograms. 700,000 metric tons of steel and 35,000,000 cubic feet of marble was used during the construction of this building. Each and every material used during construction was sourced internally from Romania, making it a grand showcase of what Romania is. There are 1,100 rooms in the building, with underground parking space for 20,000 cars. The building not only houses the Parliament of Romania but also three museums and an international conference center. There’s also a nuclear bunker built underneath the building. The massive size of the building is very hard to comprehend, with heating and electricity bills crossing 6 million US dollars every year.
Abraj Al-Bait (Mecca, Saudi Arabia)
The last in today’s list of the largest megastructures in the world that we will be mentioning today is also one of the tallest free-standing structures ever built. Located in Mecca, the Abraj Al-Bait is a landmark of the city. Overlooking the Great Mosque of Mecca, which is the holiest site in the Islamic world, this behemoth of a skyscraper dominates the skyline of the holy city. A historic Ottoman citadel, Ayjad Fortress, was demolished to make way for the massive Abraj Al-Bait. As it stands now, it is the 3rd tallest building in the world, as well as the building with the 3rd highest amount of floor space.
The Abraj Al-Bait is decked with opulent features. The tallest tower in the complex hosts a five-star hotel. The complex also has a five-story shopping mall, with parking for over 1,000 cars, and a huge mosque that can host 10,000 people at a time. It is also the home of the largest clock face in the world, being 35 times larger than Big Ben. Building this luxurious skyscraper required a lot of extravagant materials, including 98 million glass mosaic tiles with 24-carat gold leaves. All in all, out of all the largest megastructures in the world, the Abraj Al-Bait is the most extravagant.
Constructing the largest megastructures in the world not only required a surreal amount of materials and manpower but also superb ingenuity. These massive structures are a testament to how far ahead mankind has come in the field of architecture, engineering, and construction. For more content like this, visit the Bproperty blog. Do let us know your thoughts on today’s article in the comments section.