6 Amazing Construction Projects That Are Engineering Marvels
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Architecture, Engineering, and Construction have been an intricate part of not just civilization but also creativity and innovation dating back from the stone age man to millennial and pop culture. Clubbing them with technology, science, and astronomy has brought out marvels that are not just stories of excellence of our heritage but understanding the roots we are coming from. While some of the architectural wonders date back to the 18th century, let us see some of the peculiar wonders of the AEC industry.
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur: The term ‘Jantar Mantar’ means an instrument of measuring the harmony of the heavens. This monument of national pride is a place where innovation meets creativity and astronomical science meets architecture. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II so that there can be predictions of major life events like deaths, weddings, wars, etc, and creation of birth charts. In the early 18th century these were constructed at five places namely Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur, Ujjain, and Mathura between 1724-1735. The Jaipur observatory is the largest among the five and is 18,700 square meters wide and has a collection of 19 geometric devices for measuring time and space for astronomy along with observing the orbits around the sun. It also features the sundial ‘Samrat Yantra’ which is the world’s biggest stone. While the then architecture and material were incredible this observatory has been restored several times like in 1902 during the British rule and then in 2006, where some of the original materials of construction were replaced and should be preserved using BIM Modeling services for generations to come. It is recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and is a part of the National monument of Rajasthan.
Chenab Bridge, Indian Railway: This Indian Railway project of architecture to build a bridge of steel and concrete between Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir is projected to be one of the world’s highest rail bridges. The technical details of the bridge- the deck height above the river bed is 359 m and above the river surface is 322 m; the length of the bridge is 1,315 m which include 650 m long viaduct on the northern side; arch length of 480 m and an arch span of 467 m. The Chenab bridge is going to be 35 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, and will be one of the greatest architectural marvels of its kind. Since the bridge is being constructed in hostile terrain the huge arch-shaped structure is made out of 5,462 tonnes of steel and will be 359 meters above the riverbed. The bridge is being designed in such a way that it will be able to withstand wind speeds of up to 260kmph. This project was declared as the national project in 2002 for having seamless and hassle-free connectivity in the state of J&K.
Konark Sun Temple, Odisha: Famous Indian Poet Rabindranath Tagore describes the iconic Sun Temple as ‘Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man’. This temple is well known for its majestic Kalinga architecture which includes a depiction of a 100 ft high chariot being pulled by horses and wheels being carved out from a single stone. Imposing a chariot of the sun God is what the monument portrays and is dedicated to this deity itself. It is built off the Khondalite rocks where the original temple height was 230 ft high sanctum which no longer exists though, 128 ft high dance hall, audience hall, a dining hall that still exists. There is a total of 24 detailed designed wheels which are about 12 ft in diameter that are drawn by the horses. There are seven horses which represent the week, while the wheels stand for 12 months and the eight spokes in the wheels is a symbolization of the day-cycle. This depiction is to describe how the time is controlled by the sun, the illustration of the Sun God (Surya) of the Hindu Mythology traveling from the east in his chariot, and Aruna escorting his chariot. The first rays of the sun fall on the entrance of the temple and this entrance leads to the shrine of the deity which is made of chlorite stone. The walls of the temple are beautified with reliefs that are complicated carvings of different figures that include images of animals, everyday mortal life, birds, Hindu Gods, and much more. This temple too was restored partially during the conservation efforts of the British India-era. It has been declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site since 1984.
Rani ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat: As the name suggests ‘Queen’s Stepwell’ is a stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat and is located on the banks of River Saraswati. Its construction is credited to the daughter of Khengara of Saurashtra, Udayamati, the 11th century Solanki Dynasty queen, and the spouse of Bhima I. The architecture is that of an inverted temple designed as an underground shrine. It is approximately 65 meters long, 20 meters wide, and 28 meters deep. The fourth level is the deepest leads one to a rectangular tank which is 9.5 by 9.4 meters which has a depth of 23 meters. The entrance of this Vav is in the East while the well is located at the westernmost end and has a shaft 20 meters deep which is 10 meters in diameter. Stepwell is divided into seven levels of stairs which go down into a deep circular well. A stepped corridor is categorized at regular intervals with pillared multi-story domes. The columns, pillars, walls, beams, and brackets are decorated with scrollwork and carvings and this structure has about 212 pillars in the stepwell. This subterranean wonder is furnished with sculptures of demigods, nymphs, gods, and their mounts. There are about 10 intricate carvings of Lord Vishnu with a Sheshnayi Vishnu at the center that brings about an illusion that the temple is built out of brick.
Conch Shell House, Mexico: Offering fantastic views of the Caribbean Sea this Conch Shell House is tucked away on the Yucatan Island and has a detailing quite like a conch and is close to the sea. This house was designed by Mexico’s most famous artist Octavio Ocampo along with his brother Eduardo Ocampo who was an architect having the dream of building a house in the shape of a seashell. This was constructed in 2001 and took about three years to get ready. This masterpiece of the sea is close to the lifestyle of a sea snail even though it has all the necessary comforts needed for human touch. While it has an impressive conch on its facade the shell house features sea-like detailing inside as well. The faucets and sinks are made up of shell and coral and the master bedroom’s headboard is styled into a massive scallop shell.
Millau Viaduct, France: Spanning the Tarn River in Southern France, Millau Viaduct is not only the longest cable-stayed bridge but even the tallest one having a height of 343 meters which is higher than the Eiffel Tower. It has the highest road bridge deck in Europe, the highest pylons in the world. Bridges have a masted structure, transparent, appears delicate, and has the optimum span between the columns. Each of its sections spans 342 meters, piers range in height from 75 meters to 245 meters with the masts rising a further 87 meters above the road deck. To lodge the contraction and expansion of the concrete deck each column is split into two thinner and more flexible columns below the roadway giving the A-frame form above the deck level. The tapering columns express the structural loads and minimize their profile in elevation, which does not just bring about a dramatic silhouette but also makes the minimum intervention in the landscape.
"Although there are many construction projects all over the world that are worthy of recognition and are nothing short of a miracle these are a few that awestruck us. Technological advancement has made maintenance of construction projects easier, cost-effective, and risk-free."
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