While the construction industry is a popular destination for Tulsa Welding School training program graduates, most probably associate construction work with simply erecting commercial buildings or residential homes. Yet, the construction sector also produces the worlds’ most technologically and architecturally advanced structures.
According to the Engineering News-Record, 20 construction projects worldwide qualify for the 2014 Global Best Projects Award as the most impressive construction project for 2014. Here is an overview of six of them.
1) Halley VI Antarctic Research Station
The Antarctic Research Station is located 900 miles from the South Pole and sits atop a floating ice shelf. It is operated by the British Antarctic Survey and is the southernmost research station in the world. The $42 million structure sits in what is considered to be about the most hostile environment on the planet. It is more than 16,000 square feet in size and houses 16 to 50 scientists, their labs and generating plants. One of the innovative improvements this station utilizes over previous similar ones is that it sits on skis, and uses telescopic legs that can be raised or lowered depending on the snow level. It has been called a “beacon to sustainable living” and is an example of “the most significant and influential science conducted on our planet today.”
2) Superabsorbent Polymers Project, Saudi Arabia
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The superabsorbent polymer (SAP) plant is a 250,000 square foot structure that produces a product used in disposal hygiene products, including baby diapers. The facility requires efficient commercial HVAC units to ensure that no foreign matter or dust enters and contaminates the products. It is a six-story, 500-foot takk building that holds many pieces of heavy equipment, including two that together weigh 130 tons. The building of the plant was a team effort, involving several different countries and various vendors. The project director noted that even with all the “numerous pieces of interconnecting equipment and piping as well as instrumentation,” the projected was completed on time and without going over the budget.
3) Al Khairat Gas Turbine Power Plant, Iraq
Although Iraq is not on the list of places most people want to visit during the turbulent time of post-war unrest, pipefitters and other construction workers building the Al Khairat Gas Turbine Power Plant had the satisfaction of knowing that, in addition to their pay, they were constructing something that would better the lives of millions of people. The plant now provides electrical services to 5 million people who previously had no service or only unreliable intermittent service. Seven cities can now access electrical services 20 hours every day.
4) Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights cost more than $350 million to build and is composed of irregular asymmetrical shapes. Its unusual structure required careful material sourcing and detailed construction. It took eight years to build, and the contractors who worked on the project were selected through keeping in mind the purpose of the museum: human rights. The unusual structure is notable, among other things, for achieving the architect’s purpose of creating “an inspirational sculpture, not merely a building.”
5) The Shanghai Tower
Building of the Shanghai Tower began in 2004 and was completed in 2014. It is the second tallest building in the world, standing 2,073 feet high and boasting 121 stories. It is composed of nine asymmetrical cylinders stacked on top of each other with a façade of spiraling glass swirling around the building. Among other world records, it has the fastest single-deck and double-deck elevators of any building in the world.
6) The Dragon Bridge, Vietnam
It would be almost impossible to talk about the most impressive construction projects of 2014 without including the Dragon Bridge located in Da Nang, Vietnam. It spans 666 meters, or almost 2,200 feet, across the Han River in Vietnam. The yellow structure has the undulating shape of a dragon with a fire-breathing head. It not only provides a way across the river, it has also become a tourist attraction. It was designed and built in a joint effort between American and Vietnamese companies.