5 Incredible Concrete Structures
While concrete might not seem like the most exciting of subjects, it’s been around for a long time, and as a species, we’ve put it to the test all over the world. From our homes and offices to some of the most incredible concrete structures, concrete has turned out to be a pretty useful – and reliable – material.
So what are some of the world’s most impressive structures? We’ve picked five of our favourites – some of which will prove that concrete has the power to stand the test of time and that it shapes the world we live in today.
Christ The Redeemer
Possibly the most iconic entry on our list, everyone will have seen Christ The Redeemer at some point in pictures, films or, if lucky enough, in person. It stands at 98ft in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and looks down on the city from atop Corcovado mountain. It has become a true wonder of the world – and not just for Christians. Made from a combination of concrete and soapstone, it was completed in 1931.
So many films and television shows over the decades have used The Pentagon as the symbol of the United States of America’s security. It’s an authoritative looking building designed by George Bergstrom and David J. Witmer and it looks pretty much how you might imagine it; a large, five-sided building giving off an air of robust defensiveness.
The building has seven floors and stands at 77ft and spans 6,636,360 square feet. Using 680,000 tons of sand from the nearby Potomac River, 410,000 cubic yards of concrete were needed to construct this iconic, government building. It first opened in 1943 under the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidency.
Now we come to possibly the most impressive building on our list, one which, even without the involvement of concrete, would still get into people’s lists of iconic structures. The Pantheon in Rome, Italy, has a domed structure which is without reinforcement – something no other building has been able to claim in almost 2000 years. Given that the name comes from the Greek “temple of the gods”, it had to be something quite striking.
It’s been rebuilt over the years, most notably after the original ancient building was burned down. In 126 AD, it was reinstated under the rule of emperor Hadrian.
Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Panama canal is a whopping 51 miles in length, cutting through Panama to create a shipping route. It was finished in 1914 but has seen constant construction at some point to improve or replace in certain areas. In 1972, when large chunks of concrete were removed to make way for removable bulkheads, the old concrete was still found to be in excellent condition – a testament to getting the right mix.
The Hoover Dam
This impressive dam sits on the border of two US states – Nevada and Arizona – and uses 4,360,000 cubic yards of concrete. The concrete curing process was the biggest problem posed and required a unique solution where cold water, followed by ice water was poured down pipes built into the concrete blocks – this helped to reduce contraction, at which point the pipes were filled with a grout material.
The size and ambition of the dam has made it iconic, featuring in numerous films and television shows, including the 1978 Superman as well as Into the Wild and Transformers more recently.
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