Spectacular Buildings: Worth a Second Look

Spectacular buildings can be landmarks and monuments, they can set standards for creativity and engineering achievements, for sustainability and the use of new materials. Above all, spectacular buildings can be found all over the world and even in space. Here’s our selection for you.

Great Buildings. Photo: Shutterstock - chomplearn

Sustainable, creative and spectacular – buildings that set standards. Photo: Shutterstock – chomplearn

The Frame – Framing the city

Opened in 2018, the twin-tower building stands in Za’abeel Park in the commercial center of Dubai on the Persian Gulf. The concept for the 150-meter-high building won first prize in the ThyssenKrupp Elevator architecture competition in 2009. Architect Fernando Donis wasn’t involved in its erection, and a dispute over rights to the design is still ongoing. The towers with elevator shaft and stairwell inside are made of high-performance concrete based on nanotechnology. Mechanical vibration dampers at the top are designed to minimize swaying under wind load. A special highlight is the glass bridge, which is integrated into the floor of the 95-meter-wide cross frame over an area of 25 square meters.

Jeddah Tower – Great views guaranteed

The building shaped like an elegant needle will stretch exactly 1,007 meters up into the sky above the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah. However, the title of the world’s tallest building is currently only set on paper – construction work has been suspended since 2018, with the opening scheduled for 2024. The Jeddah Tower rests on a foundation slab just under five meters thick, beneath which 270 foundation plates between 45 and 110 meters long with a diameter of 1.5 to 1.8 meters are distributed. A total of 65 elevators are planned, including around half a dozen double-decker elevators that will travel at more than 10 meters per second over a length of 660 meters.

Roots – To new heights with timber

Germany’s tallest wooden building bears the name Roots and has been under construction in Hamburg’s HafenCity since the end of November 2020. The design, which is also likely to set new standards for ecological construction, claims around 65 meters in height. Only the central staircase is made of concrete, while 5,500 cubic meters of coniferous timber are used for the facade, ceilings, and walls up to the 18th floor. A sustainable use of materials is ensured with prefabricated wall elements, which will be assembled as part of the timber construction work starting in 2022. This construction method has its price: the timber building is expected to cost around 140 million euros – twelve percent more than a comparable concrete building.

Vertical farming – Salad from the sea

As cultivation areas become increasingly scarce, agriculture might need to grow upwards. This was the idea behind a 2014 concept by the Spanish architecture firm Forward Thinking Architecture, which was asked to offer the urban city of Singapore a new approach to feeding its growing population. Here, 15 skyscrapers in the sea function as vertical farms for growing lettuce, spinach, and vegetables. The curved shapes of the buildings, which are several hundred meters high, ensure that the sunlight on each individual floor provides the best possible energy for the plants growing on nutrient wool.

Café 3.440 – The call of the mountains

The terrace of Café 3.440 on the Pitztal Glacier hovers above a precipice hundreds of meters deep. The number says it all – the café sits at a height of 3,440 meters. It’s located directly in the top station of the new Wildspitzbahn, which began operation in the fall of 2012. The facility’s structure sits on the summit of the Hinterer Brunnenkogel, which has a small standing surface and steeply sloping mountainsides. Therefore, 1,200 square meters of usable space had to be accommodated on 200 square meters of the previous building’s foundation. This was made possible by a steel structure with large overhangs from the mountain station and café.

The Jeddah Tower rests on a foundation slab just under five meters thick. Photo: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture/Jeddah Economic CompanyThe terrace of Café 3.440 on the Pitztal Glacier hovers above a precipice hundreds of meters deep. Photo: Tourismusverband-PitztalThe Müngsten Bridge spans the Wupper River valley at a height of 107 meters over a length of 465 meters. Photo: Klingenstadt Solingen - Lukas BartelsGermany’s tallest wooden building bears the name Roots and has been under construction in Hamburg’s HafenCity since the end of November 2020. Photo: Garbe Immobilien-Projekte / Störmer Murphy and PartnersThe design, which is also likely to set new standards for ecological construction, claims around 65 meters in height. Photo: Garbe Immobilien-Projekte / Störmer Murphy and PartnersThe steeply terraced facades of the Kö-Bogen II to the west and north are surrounded by an envelope of green plants. Photo: ingenhoven architects / HGEschThe plants are placed in in 3,500 troughs along a length of about eight kilometers. Photo: ingenhoven architects / HGEsch

Kö-Bogen II – Plants as building envelope

Kö-Bogen II in Düsseldorf is the culmination of the Kö-Bogen centennial project, with which the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia has been driving forward the transformation of the city center for more than ten years. Opening in August 2020, the centerpiece is a six-story commercial building between the Schauspielhaus and Schadowstraße. The building has the shape of a triangle, the roof and the steeply terraced facades to the west and north are surrounded by an envelope of green plants. Most of it consists of hornbeam, placed in 3,500 troughs along a length of about eight kilometers. The plants serve as cold reservoirs and improve air quality.

Bernabéu 2.0 – Royal stadium

The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is the home of Real Madrid and has stood on the Avenida de Concha Espina in central Madrid for almost 75 years. By the end of 2022, the iconic concrete block will be transformed into a state-of-the-art stadium. For the first time in its history, the venue will have a facade that features illuminating surfaces while also protecting the arena’s concrete skeleton from the elements. A hydraulically adjustable roof structure will allow the facility to be used for a variety of purposes. The turf is divided into seven segments that can be removed in a matter of minutes after a match and stored in a greenhouse until the next use.

Müngsten Bridge – Across the Wupper Valley

The Müngsten Bridge in the Bergisches Land region is part of the Wuppertal-Oberbarmen-Solingen railroad line and spans the Wupper River valley at a height of 107 meters over a length of 465 meters. Opened in 1897, the steel arch bridge still holds the record as Germany’s highest railroad bridge. Around 5,000 tons of steel and 950,000 rivets were used back then, as civil engineer and bridge expert Bernd Nebel discovered. At the same time, the Müngsten Bridge was one of the first steel bridges in Germany to be built using the free cantilever method. To date, more than two million trains have passed over the bridge, which has been a national monument since 1985.

International Space Station ISS – Simply super

The International Space Station (ISS) collects superlatives almost effortlessly: it’s the largest technology project of all time, the largest artificial object that orbits the earth, while also being the most expensive construction project in the world at well over 100 billion US dollars. The space station has grown steadily since Russia transported the first segment of the ISS into Earth orbit in 1998. Today, the ISS weighs around 450 tons and is the size of a soccer field. But the clock is now ticking – the ISS is set to remain in orbit until at least 2024. Whenever its time comes, a controlled crash into the sea is the most likely end.

Buildings, bridges, or stadiums are part of daily business for most DEKRA construction experts. They often deal with the quality of construction or the inspection of structures in public spaces. In all cases, every structure – whether stadiums, event halls, or commercial buildings – must be a safe place for users and visitors.

Construction & real estate quality

Quality in construction and property maintenance should always be a top priority – because in the long run, nothing pays off more than proper construction work and professional building technology. Our DEKRA building experts are your contact in all phases of the real estate life cycle: we reliably survey, inspect, and evaluate real estate – whether for private or commercial use.

Real estate examination. Photo: DEKRA

Real estate examination. Photo: DEKRA Automobil

Real estate examination

Ensures quality in every construction phase as well as when checking existing properties and damage to buildings.

Building inspection. Photo: DEKRA Automobil

Building inspection. Photo: DEKRA Automobil

Building inspection

Security for stadiums, sports and event halls, bridges, masts and more.

Testing of building technology. Photo: DEKRA Automobil

Testing of building technology. Photo: DEKRA Automobil

Testing of building technology

Operate systems, machines and devices reliably.

More information about the services related to the construction and real estate quality of the expert organization DEKRA is available here.

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