Structural steel is an integral component in thousands of projects around the world. Its unparalleled strength, flexibility, and affordability make structural steel the element of choice in architectural wonders such as the Empire State Building and the Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan.
Structures that have inspired millions around the world depend on structural steel for their long life and durability. Here are seven of the most famous structural steel builds around the world.
Burj Khalifa in Dubai is currently the world’s tallest building – outstripping others on the tallest building list by at least 350 meters. Standing at 2,716.5 feet tall with 160 stories, Burj Khalifa currently holds several different world records. The main frame of the building consists of reinforced concrete, but Burj Khalifa contains 31,400 tons of steel. Laid end to end, this much steel would wrap ¼ of the way around Earth. Based on a triple-lobed (Y-shaped) footprint, this building was inspired by the hymenocallis flower, with three elements around one central core.
The Empire State Building
Constructed in 1931 in New York, the Empire State Building broke records as the world’s tallest building – a title it held for almost 40 years. Containing 730 tons of steel and nearly 10 million bricks of limestone, this incredible structure surprisingly only took 13 months to build. Designed by William F. Lamb, the Empire State Building was inspired by an art deco aesthetic. It stands at an amazing 1,250 tall and scales 102 stories.
The Brooklyn Bridge
Built in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York took 14 years and more than 600 workers to complete, killing two-dozen people (including the original designer) in the process. The Brooklyn Bridge was the first suspension bridge ever constructed using steel wire. It uses a hybrid wire design and two stately towers made from limestone, cement, and granite. Today, the bridge carries more than 150,000 vehicles and pedestrians every day.
Beijing National Stadium
The Beijing National Stadium in Beijing is a beautiful testament to what structural steel can achieve. It is the largest all-steel structure in the world, but this isn’t what makes the building stand out – its unusual shape and design is what draws thousands of tourists to this building every day. Nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest,” this building used 42,000 tons of crisscrossed steel beams to form a nest-like appearance.
The Steel House
The Steel House in Lubbock, Texas, was one man’s lifelong dream. Robert Bruno worked for more than 30 years to build his Steel House, accepting nobody’s help on the lofty project. Sadly, he passed away after a battle with colon cancer before he could complete the structure. One of the most interesting homes in the world, the Steel House weighs about 110 tons and resembles a futuristic spaceship. Today, the home rests unfinished and is a tourist destination.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
One of Australia’s most well known landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s largest steel arch bridge. The crest of the bridge reaches 134 meters above the harbor. Its arch-based design stretches from the northern to the southern shore of the Sydney Harbour. Built in 1924, this bridge took more than 1,400 men and eight years to complete. It consists of 6 million hand-driven rivets and 53,000 tons of steel.
The Taipei 101 Tower
Holding the title of tallest building the world from 2004 to 2010 (when Burj Khalifa outstripped it), the Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan stands at a considerable 1,667 feet high. Its unique tiered appearance models a pagoda shape, with eight sections making up the building’s exterior – a lucky number in Chinese culture. The Taipei 101 tower consists of giant steel columns and a web of steel framework designed to bend in the event of an earthquake.