The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Solar Wind Energy Tower, Inc. received approval last Wednesday from San Luis, Arizona to build a $1.5 billion project that would use ambient desert air to create a draft and generate electricity in a concrete tower.  A picture of how the project will work can be seen above. Once finished, the 2,250-foot tower would be the tallest structure in North America.  The Solar Wind Downdraft Tower project would be able to generate power at an average rate of 435 megawatt-hours annually.  The tower would be able to generate close to 1,200 megawatt-hours during July and August due to the higher summer temperatures. 

A new report released by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association states there are 63,000 structurally deficient bridges in the United States.  If one were to line up each structurally deficient bridge end-to-end and drive across, it would take a person 25 hours driving at 60 miles per hour to travel across them. Over 250 million drivers cross these bridges daily.  As the start of the 2015 fiscal year approaches (October 1), more and more people and interest groups are putting pressure on Congress to take action to avoid insolvency in the Highway Trust Fund.

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Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States, and its goal is to help Manhattan’s underdeveloped West Side grow.  Once finished, the site will include more than 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space.  New York University is forming a partnership with Hudson Yard’s developers to collect data about the area’s residents and visitors. This will make Hudson Yards the first quantified community in the country. NYU would like to learn how New Yorkers interact with their urban environment in order to improve cities across the country.

The 111-story Guangzhou CTF Financial Center tower is under construction in Southern China. The building will feature the world’s fastest elevators when it opens in 2016. It will take just 43 seconds in the elevator to reach the 95th floor of the tower, and riders’ ears will not pop along the way.

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Spring floods are causing major problems for residents of New Brunswick, Canada. The video below shows a bridge being moved three to six feet by large chucks of ice trying to flow underneath the bridge. The Canadian Broadcasting Company also captured footage of an 87-year-old covered bridge being swept down the Canaan River by the floodwaters.

Construction on the world’s tallest building, the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, is scheduled to begin this week. The Kingdom Tower will measure 3,280 feet tall once completed and will feature a 98-foot terrace on the 157th floor. The building will measure 568 feet taller than the world’s current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The tower is expected to cost $1.23 billion and take five years to construct.

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Brazilian officials unveiled their $10.76 billion legacy budget today for the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro. The money will be spent on projects relating to infrastructure, mobility, urbanization, and sports facilities either motivated or accelerated by the games but not directly related to holding the Summer Olympics. The budget is 25% higher than originally planned, but Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes attributes the increase to adding new projects and 6% inflation since 2009.  There have been mounting concerns over Rio’s level of preparedness for the summer games due to the slow rate of progress on construction projects, but the budget announcement is supposed to quell some of the fears about Brazil not being ready in time.