Travellers have different ideas of what constitutes bucket list nirvana, from natural wonders to ancient structures, the hottest tropical summer, skies filled with colour or the most exotic supper. Man made, modern structures may not be the first item to tick off the itinerary, but for lovers of buildings, they are the highest priority, and not just literally. If you ever read Civil + Structural Engineer’s magazine or love looking at steel frame buildings from Steel Buildings Direct, you’ll probably already know about these magnificent bucket list buildings. But if you don’t, here are 6 IDEAL steel structures architecture aficionados love.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE – NEW YORK
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without taking a bite out of the Brooklyn Bridge. Now more than 125 years old, it carries at least 150,000 vehicles and pedestrians daily between Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York’s two most famous districts. It’s one of the city’s highlights, giving you amazing views of Manhattan and the East River. Only from here can you really appreciate the scale, the sheer enormity of the New York skyline. It’s quite the feat of engineering too, with cables and columns providing strength and majesty to pedestrians and transport alike. And best of all, it’s free. It also has some great spots to eat nearby, if you’ve worked up a hunger traversing its walkway.
THE BIRD’S NEST STADIUM – BEIJING
As the name implies, this isn’t your conventional, identikit stadium structure. The Beijing National Stadium was built for the 2008 Olympics and its one of the world’s most impressive accomplishments in the field of structural engineering, requiring at its height 17’000 workers to achieve the vision of chief architect Li Xinggang. The Bird’s Nest also saw some of the best accomplishments in Olympic history, with Usain Bolt breaking records left, right and centre on the venue’s famous track. That wasn’t the last time the steel structure will frame an international sporting event; we have the 2022 Winter and Paralympics to look forward to, held in the shadow of the great stadium.
Bird’s Nest Stadium | © Pixabay
SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE – SYDNEY
To see the Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up at night, illuminating – and being illuminated by – the harbour below is one of life’s greatest man made sights. ‘The Coathanger’, as it’s nicknamed, took more than 100 years from initial proposal to formal opening, going through many guises, shapes, structures and souls in the process.
For unforgettable, panoramic views of Sydney, you can scale the bridge, either in the day, by twilight or at night. We think the latter is the optimum time as you can get the best of day and night and watch the sunset over the harbour and the city lights come on. It also offers one of the best views of another amazing architectural wonder, the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Harbour Bridge | © Unsplash
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING – NEW YORK
One of the world’s most iconic structures, the Empire State Building has captured hearts and minds since its inception in 1931. Even though its boast as tallest building in the world has slowly shrunk as the title has gained a more competitive edge – and has been outsourced to the East – the tower’s stature as the shimmering crown of the New York skyline remains.
The building has also played host to many iconic scenes in some of Hollywood’s best loved films; King Kong’s scaling of it, its hosting of the inaugural romantic meeting in Sleepless in Seattle (one of our favourite films ever) and as the arena for a monumental fight in Superman II, to name but a few.
Empire State Building | © Unsplash
TAIPEI TOWER 101 – TAIPEI
Like the Empire State Building, the Taipei Tower was also once the tallest building in the world. Located in the Xinyi District and standing at 1,667 ft (508 m), building this enormous skyscraper in a country prone to earthquakes and typhoons was no mean feat. Indeed, many thought that it was absurd to build something so tall here. How they have been proved wrong.
Y. Lee & Partners, the architects of the tower, defied people’s expectations and designed a tower which is both structurally resilient and flexible, and has since become known as one of the world’s great architectural masterpieces. The skyscraper uses a huge steel ball (known by experts as a TMD) which counterweights the tower’s strength during natural disasters, keeping it upright – just incredible. Locals love the food court, located on the bottom floor, while tourists can enjoy unparalleled views of the city from it’s observation deck on the 89th floor. Oh and did we mention that it has one of the world’s fastest elevator, which rises in increments of 8, owing to the number’s lucky connotations in the country.
Taipei Tower | © Unsplash
BURJ KHALIFA -DUBAI
Complete with a structural steel spire and awesome views of Dubai from its observation deck, Burj Khalifa is officially the world’s tallest building, much to the chagrin of our previous two entries. This monumental feat occured in 2008, and 160 floors and 10 years later, it still holds the title. If your pockets are as deep as the tower is tall, then you can enjoy a stay in such opulent sounding lodgings as the Armani Hotel Dubai. If not, you could simply pass the time scaling the building in ‘the world’s longest travelling elevator both in distance and by time’; now there’s a mouthful.