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10 Mind-Boggling Modern Engineering Feats Across the World

6. The New Valley Project is an enormous irrigation system that has helped to turn half a million acres of desert land into agriculturally viable land. The heart of the project is the Mubarak Pumping Station that pumps water from Lake Nasser via a canal system through the valley transforming over 500,000 acres of desert into agricultural land.

Egypt is one country that has been constantly trying to reform its lands by transforming the barren deserts into agriculturally viable land. The New Valley Project, also known as the “Toshaka Project,” is another such feat. The aim is to change the percentage of inhabitable land from 5% to 25% and turn 588,000 acres of desert into agriculture land.

The New Valley Project aims to create a second Nile Valley that would bring in around 10% of Egypt’s allocated water from the Nile to the valley via a network of irrigation canals. The main canal is supposed to stretch as far as 310 km. As of 2012, the canal was still 60 km short. The heart of the irrigation system is the Mubarak Pumping Station which had its inauguration in 2005.

The work for the project started in 1997. and work is still in progress as of 2019. In 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi revived the project by allocating more land to it. In 2018, Egypt announced that they were working on the biggest date plantation on the Toshaka Project with 2.5 million palm trees. Grapes, wheat, maize, and other fruits and vegetables are also being grown on the project.

There have been a few beneficial by-products of the project which includes the creation of the Toshka Lakes. The lakes now serve as a primary water source for the date plantations. (1, 2, 3)

7. The Melbourne Rectangular Stadium’s roof has been designed by piecing together interlocking polygons to form several geodesic domes, and yet the stadium manages to use 50% less steel than a typical cantilever structure. The stadium uses recycled building material, collects rainwater from the roof, and minimizes power use with an advanced, building-automation system.

Image credits: SuperJew/Wikimedia

Rectangular might not be the right word to describe the stadium when the roof comes into question. Cox Architects + Planners, one of Australia’s best architectural firms, are responsible for the amazing structure. The roof has a geodesic dome that’s made of numerous small triangular shapes that are held together by strips of metal.

Image credits: Gary Houston/Wikimedia

The roof is not only aesthetically pleasing but also effective cost-wise. It uses only half the amount of materials that a typical stadium roof requires. The roof has insulation properties incorporated into it which keeps the conditions under it viable even during the Australian heat. Moreover, the roof is designed to let rainwater run off easily which is then harvested and used as service water in the stadium. (1, 2)


8. The Ericsson Globe is the biggest spherical building in the world with a diameter of 361 feet, an inner height of 279 feet, and a volume of 21,188,800 cubic feet.

Stockholm globe arena
Image credits: Kallerna/Wikimedia

The Ericsson Globe, which was originally known as “Stockholm Globe Arena” at the time of its inception, has been the most iconic building in all of Stockholm since its public inauguration in 1989. The capacity of the building is 605,000 cubic meters making it the largest spherical building in the world. The building primarily serves as the arena for Sweden’s national hockey team. It also hosts other concerts and events. Throughout the year, world-famous artists grace the stage at the Ericsson Globe with their performances. A few of them are Metallica, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Beyoncé, and U2.

Ericsson Globe
Skyview elevator. Image credits: Pixabay

The globe has an exterior elevator called “Skyview” that transports tourists to the topmost point in the arena for an obstructed view of the city. The elevator has two spherical gondolas that can accommodate 16 passengers each. They travel in parallel tracks on the exterior portion of the globe.   (1, 2)

9. Built off the side of an enormous cliff in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China, the Bailong Elevator is the highest and heaviest outdoor elevator in the world. It is 1,070 feet high and can carry 50 people on one trip and a total of 18,000 people daily.

Bailong Elevator
Image credits: Jochen Hertweck/Flickr

Riding an elevator situated at the edge of a cliff seems a bit daring. And when its entirely made of glass and is 326 meters (1,070 ft) in height, it’s more than just daring! The Bailong Elevator in Zhangjiajie, China is the place where you can get such an experience. You can buy a ticket and ride to the top of the cliff and enjoy the view from there. The elevator system is situated on a sandstone cliff through which tunnels have been dug for people to reach the area that has three, glass, double-decker elevators. The elevator has gained the tag of being the tallest and the heaviest outdoor elevator in the world in the Guinness Book of World Records.


The construction for the Bailong Elevator started in 1999 and was opened to the public in 2002. Many environmentalists have been debating on the environmental effects of the elevator as the site on which it was constructed was claimed as a World Heritage Site. So far, there have been no environmental concerns. The elevator was stopped from working briefly for 10 months between 2002-2003 due to safety concerns. (1, 2)

10. The Venice Tide Barrier Project consists of 78 rotating gates designed to keep the sea waters from entering the Venetian Lagoon. Each gate is filled with water and rests at the bottom of the sea. During high tides, the gates are emptied using compressed air, and they rise to the top blocking the water from entering the lagoon.

Venice is the most romantic city in the world, but it is not short of problems. The city has suffered too many losses from floods with the level of flood water increasing every year. So, to protect the city from high tides, the government thought of an innovative approach.  Known as the “MOSE” scheme, or the “Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico” or “Electromechanical Experimental Module” scheme, the idea was to create an artificial barrier that would protect the city from future, massive floods.

The system they designed turned out to be incredible. It is comprised of a series of inflatable and oscillating flood gates filled with water that are placed strategically on the floor of the three main inlet lagoons. When the weather predicts a high tide over three meters (9.8 feet), air is pumped into the inflatable gates until all the water inside is forced out, and they rise up to the surface. The rise protects the inlet lagoons from the high tide. Once the tide descends, air is pumped in forcing the water out, and the gates submerge.

The system currently has 78 gates, each 6,500 sq. ft in size, in place, and the system is set to be fully completed by 2022. (1, 2, 3)


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