Most Prestigious Projects for a Construction Professional

The construction industry is incredibly broad, covering everything from hanging shelves in someone’s home through to infrastructure projects that traverse national borders and push the envelope of current engineering capabilities.

Both these types of project are equally important, minor home renovations can have a major impact on someone’s life by improving the aesthetics of where they live or by making it easier for them to perform everyday tasks. On the other hand, a major infrastructure project is going to improve the safety, security, or quality of life for thousands or even millions of people.

While both are just as important and equally noble, only major projects come with the prestige and widespread recognition. This is why many architects, project managers, engineers, planners, and other construction professionals dream of building something that will leave a mark on history.

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, here are some of the most prestigious projects you can work on during your career.

Bridges

Bridges connect people, communities, businesses, and even entire countries together. There are, of course, millions of bridges around the world that go mostly unnoticed. They’re typically the small spans that cross streams, brooks, and small rivers or allow cars and pedestrians to travel over railway lines without risk of collision.

There are many famous bridges that fit this description today, such as London’s Tower Bridge, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. However, these structures were engineering marvels at the time they were constructed and remain unique landmarks within their respective cities.

Today, the bridges that make headlines and the ones that connect countries, span seas, and require unique designs to remain functional and safe during operation.

A famous example of this is the Øresund Bridge, a 7.8 km bridge that connects Denmark’s Copenhagen and Sweden’s Malmö, passing over the Øresund strait. It is a cable-stayed bridge, with a maximum height of 204 metres that provides 57 metres of clearance for ship traffic to pass underneath it. The Øresund Bridge carries both cars and trains, using a double-decker design.

Although its ability to connect the people’s of Denmark and Sweden is a triumph in itself, its engineering achievements are what make it stand out.

The bridge starts on the Swedish side, behaving very much like a normal bridge. However, as it approaches Denmark, it makes landfall of an artificial island that was built from the spoil created during the construction process. Here, the road and rail decks move below ground, entering into a tunnel, making it safe for aircraft to land at the nearby Copenhagen Airport.

Despite being completed in 1999, the Øresund Bridge continues to amaze locals and tourists, helping to ensure its designers: Jorgen Nissen, Klaus Falbe Hansen, Georg Rotne, and Niels Gimsing have a legacy that will outlive them.

Casinos

Casinos, in the form that we know today, have existed for hundreds of years. The earliest recorded casino was Casino di Venezia which opened in Venice in 1638. You can still visit today, though it is much smaller than many of the other casino resorts you can find around the world today.

In the 400 years since, the casino industry has changed dramatically. Most notably, the rise of online operators has seen dozens of top-rated casino brands offer many classic games and modern video slots to people at home and on the go.

Despite this, there remains a huge demand for the Las Vegas-style casino resort. These megastructures are not just large buildings to play blackjack and craps in, they’re giant entertainment complexes, offering up boutique shopping, theatres, night clubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, swimming pools, spas, gyms, and even roller coasters and thrill rides.

Las Vegas’ Bellagio is a great example of this. Opened back in 1998, the hotel and casino resort has become one of the biggest icons of the city. Its spectacular dancing fountains provide a buffer between the hotel and the bustling Las Vegas Strip and have helped to ensure it is featured in countless movies and TV shows that are set in the city.

The Bellagio’s architects, Jon Jerde, Atlandia Design, and DeRuter Butler can now comfortably say they have left a lasting legacy in the Nevada desert.

Mass Transit Networks

In the United States, most people get around by car. Entire cities are designed around the motor vehicle, with the construction of new stores and entertainment facilities typically contingent on a minimum number of parking spaces being included within the plans.

Outside of the US, things are very different. In many major European cities, train, tram, bus and metro networks are the most popular methods of transport. They’re more efficient, cheaper, and better for the environment. In many cities, such as London, Moscow, and Berlin, mass transit networks are often the most convenient way to get around.

When underground train systems are constructed, they completely redefine the layout of a city. The prices of houses along the soon-to-be-opened Crossrail project in London rose sharply in the lead up to its anticipated opening. However, after the new underground train line was delayed, house prices fell back down again. When it finally does open, it will put new areas of the city and surrounding suburbs within a reasonable commuting distance of major financial centres like Canary Wharf, making them more desirable to live in.

When the city’s first underground lines were built in the mid-19th century, it had a similar effect. It better connected different parts of the city, allowed people to work further away, and meant they didn’t have to travel on the (at-the-time) dirty streets.

The early tube lines were constructed and operated by private companies such as the Metropolitan Railway and the District Railway. Names like John Fowler, who was and engineer who worked for both companies and made their railways possible; Charles Pearson a politician who campaigned for the network; and Peter Barlow, who invented a circular “tunnelling shield”, a principle that is used by tunnel boring machines used in today’s megaprojects.

The people working on major mass transit projects today, such as London’s Crossrail, Moscow’s Metro expansion plans, and Ottawa’s Confederation Line, will all leave a lasting legacy in the same way that Fowler, Pearson and Barlow did.

 

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