The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 17 October 2014 10:33

Burj Khalifa Opens New Observation Deck

Visitors to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai can now pay to ride to the 148th floor to get an even more elevated view of the surrounding area from the new observation deck located 1,821 feet above the ground. The recently opened observation deck set the Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest observation deck and offers views from about two thirds of the height of the buildings overall height. It beat out the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China for the distinction.  The new area was built 24 floors higher than the buildings previous highest observation deck on the 124th floor. The existing observation deck attracted 1.9 million visitors last year who payed to take in the amazing views of Dubai and the surrounding area.

This week marks a milestone in the Elizabeth River Tunnel project in Virginia. The project is one of the largest infrastructure projects occurring in the U.S. right now. It will place a two lane tunnel next to an existing tunnel connecting Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia and thus double the tunnels capacity and reduce commute times. SKW Contractors team, a joint venture between Skanska, Kiewit, and Weeks Marine, are overseeing the public-private partnership project and are responsible for submersing eleven 16,000-ton hollow concrete elements into a special trench at the bottom of the Elizabeth River.

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Thursday, 09 October 2014 10:29

Super Crane Arrives in New York

The “I Lift NY” floating super crane arrived at the Tappan Zee Bridge this week and yesterday had to do the limbo to travel to the other side of the bridge. The crane made its way up the Hudson River from Jersey City on Monday after completing its journey from San Francisco through the Panama Canal earlier this month. Around 5 pm yesterday, a tugboat helped guide the crane north underneath the existing bridge and to the location where the new bridge is currently under construction. Workers on site prepared for the crane's arrival by removing the existing bridge’s navigation light from under the bridge to give the crane a little more clearance. The barge carrying the crane was also filled with water to make it ride lower in the water. The crane was able to squeeze under the existing bridge without any problems and will now be anchored on the other side for the next couple of years. It uses special steel anchors, called spuds that are planted in the river bottom to keep from moving.

Over two thousand architects, designers and clients traveled to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore this past week for the World Architecture Festival (WAF).  The WAF is the largest live awards festival in the world dedicated to architecture. Each architect who was shortlisted for a competition presented their entry in front of a panel of judges and the audience were able to learn not only about countless new and existing projects, but also the judges' opinions of these projects.  Hundreds of architecture firms from over 50 countries competed in 27 different categories during the festival. The big winners included The Chapel in Vietnam, designed by a 21studio winning "Building of the Year" as well as the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada, designed by 5468796 Architecture + Number TEN Architectural Group, winning "Future Project of the Year". Other winners include the PINCH in China, a library and community center for a village destroyed by an earthquake in 2012, and the Alex Monroe Studio in London for the Wood Excellence Prize.

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Friday, 03 October 2014 10:57

China Opens Glass Suspension Bridge

After the success of the Tianmen Mountain Skyway in Zhangjiajie, China, Chinese engineers have opened a new glass suspension bottomed bridge. This time, though, the bridge is only 180 meters above ground level instead of 900 meters like the Tianmen Mountain Skyway. The bridge stretches between two mountain peaks in the Hebei Province and spans 300 meters. It is 2.3 meters wide and is estimated to have cost $42 million.  

London’s newest and tallest skyscraper opened its doors to the public last weekend after being under construction for the past three years. The building is officially known as the Leadenhall Building, named after its location at 122 Leadenhall St, but is more commonly referred to as the Cheesegrater due to its wedge shape.  Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners designed the 738-foot, 48-story building and Arup were the structural engineers for the project. Nearly 80% of the $465 million building was prefabricated in the north of England and transported to the site in the middle of the night, proving to be one of the main challenges associated with the project.

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