Architecture should be functional, secure, and long-lasting. But that doesn’t mean every project requires a serious outlook. After all, design is one way that engineers and architects can incorporate their passion into any project. This infuses any building, no matter the function, with character.
But sometimes, the emphasis on design is to be the biggest and the baddest around, whether in terms of height, depth, or length. Sometimes, a truly groundbreaking design is simply about adding entertainment or amenities. Let’s take a closer look at five of the world’s greatest design feats.
Largest Elevated Pool: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
When the Marina Bay Sands opened its doors in Singapore, one of the resort’s primary functions was as an entertainment mecca. The hotel includes a massive casino with plenty of table games—but with the best poker apps, now available for mobile devices, not all gaming buffs are concerned with a brick-and-mortar casino.
Instead, developers went the extra mile to create the world’s tallest and largest elevated infinity pool. The pool contains 380,000 gallons of water at the height of 656 feet above the Singapore skyline, while its infinity edge runs for 478 feet.
Tallest Rollercoaster: Kingda Ka, USA
Back in 2005, Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey unveiled its latest addition: the Kingda Ka ride. The adventure park was looking to top the world record for the highest roller coaster drop—and it’s held out for almost two decades with a height of 418 feet.
Engineers created the coaster with a death-defying drop in mind—along with speed. The coaster’s hydraulic launch rocket system sends visitors hurtling down the tracks at 128 mph… for almost a full minute.
Longest Bridge: Danyang-Kunshan Bridge, China
So far, we’ve covered design and engineering feats meant to delight visitors. However, many of the world’s biggest projects were born from necessity. In 2010, Chinese constructors completed the world’s longest bridge, which runs as a viaduct between Beijing and Shanghai.
As a viaduct, the bridge relies on a series of arches. This was the most reliable method to build a bridge that stretches almost 103 miles with a width of 260 feet and a height of 100 feet (both on average). Behind China, Taiwan and Japan are also home to the world’s longest bridges.
Tallest Building: Burj Khalifa, UAE
Back in 2009, Dubai unveiled its latest mega-skyscraper, the multi-function Burj Khalifa. Over a decade later, other skyscrapers like the Shanghai Tower in China and Merdeka 118 in Malaysia didn’t soar quite as high. In fact, part of the inspiration behind the Burj Khalifa was to elevate Dubai’s international reputation—which it did with a full height of 2,722 feet, including the building’s iconic spire.
Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill designed the building’s architecture, drawing on their years of expertise after completing the Sears Tower in Chicago back in 1974. Keeping with this international inspiration, the Burj Khalifa even includes structural steel from the former Palace of the Republic in East Berlin.
Deepest Building: Jinping Underground Laboratory, China
Five years before opening the world’s tallest building, officials in China opened the doors to the world’s deepest building. Nestled in the mountains of Sichuan, China’s Jinping Underground Laboratory stretches to a depth of almost 8,000 feet.
This created challenges for designers, who brought in geotechnical engineers to oversee the project. However, the laboratory is also the best-shielded in the world, allowing staff and students at Tsinghua University unprecedented access to secure experimentation.