As technology continued to prove its marvel, people discovered new materials in creating important structures. In the late 19th century, the world saw the introduction of steel and started using it to build mighty engineering and architectural works. Without its invention, we may not have seen the mesmerizing buildings, impressive towers, or the fascinating bridges that unite cities to nations today.
Take a look at some of the most famous and memorable steel structures ever built around the world.
The Eiffel Tower
Erected in 1889 for the World’s Fair, the iconic Eiffel tower serves as the soaring emblem of France and the city of Paris. The European skies would never be complete without this iconic 1,063 steel structure. Its magnificent construction is well-revered, enticing millions of visitors across the globe. It held the record for being the tallest building in the world for 41 years before it was toppled by the Big Apple’s Chrysler Building in 1930. Nevertheless, its significance is insurmountable – no picture of Paris is imaginable without the tower’s fantastic silhouette.
Since its construction, Brooklyn Bridge has become one of New York city’s most important landmarks and still ranks among the world’s most marvelous architectural works. Started in 1869, it took 14 years to complete the structure due to the thick, hard, and heavy metals used for its construction. Opened to the public in 1883, the bridge is still serving pedestrian and vehicle traffic today.
The Empire State Building
Built in 1931, the 1250-feet Empire State Building became the tallest building in the world for 40 years before being topped by Illinois’ Sears Tower in 1973. The 103-story structure was constructed for a record of 13 months. Today, it is one of NYC‘s famous landmarks, with a stunning Art Deco design that proves steel can transcend having a mere industrial look.
The Steel House
Though it cannot compete with the other buildings on this list when it comes to popularity, The Steel House has a story that lines it among the most never-to-be-forgotten structures. Its creator, Robert Bruno, dreamt of making a house resembling a U.F.O. with four legs. It took 23 years for him to construct the 150-ton giant, starting from 1973. However, he died in 2008, with the Steel House still unfinished. Nevertheless, the structure proves what unique things people can create from steel with creativity and determination. Today, many visitors visit Lubbock, Texas, to witness the one-of-a-kind structure jutting beautifully from its urban background.
Taipei 101 Steel Tower
Taipei 101 Tower is a 101-story structure standing 1,441 feet in Taiwan’s capital. The building is one of the perfect examples demonstrating how sturdy steel can be as its design was specifically made to withstand earthquakes and typhoons commonly hitting the area. Adding advanced technological features, Taipei 101 has become Taiwan’s modern insignia since its opening in 2004.
Formerly called the Sears Tower, Willis Tower in Chicago is an impressive structure to witness. It features several distinct smaller structures of different heights, joined together by a steel beam. Thus, providing the building stability and support to withstand strong, high winds. Completed in 1973, the 1,450-feet Willis Tower serves as a premier corporate office building and is home to the highest public observation deck in the United States.
New York City’s Seagram Building deviated from the traditional brick and stone facade used by many buildings during its construction in the late 1950s. Instead, the structure adopted a modernist, minimalist corporate design and utilized a well-arranged steel skeleton for added stability. Incorporating sleek glass with the straightforward styling, Seagram Building aided in ushering a new period for simple yet elegantly-looking structures in its completion in 1958.
Shun Hing Square Tower
Shun Hing Tower is recognized as the tallest all-steel building in China. Yet, it gained initial popularity due to the incredible pace it was built at four floors per nine days. About 24,500 tonnes of steel was used for the building, reaching a total height of 1,260-feet. Today, it ranks 27th in the world’s tallest building and is used as a shopping center, car park, and hub for corporate offices.
Topping the second rank by nearly 650 feet, it may be long enough before a new structure can topple the world’s current tallest building, Burj Khalifa. This architectural and engineering marvel had used 31,900 tonnes of steel to build 163 floors, completed in nearly six years. It drew attention in its opening in 2010 and instantly placed Dubai in the international spotlight.
Beijing National Stadium
Made for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Beijing National Stadium is another steel architectural wonder. Nicknamed as the “Bird’s Nest” for its interweaving steel design, the structure used a whooping 42,000 tonnes of steel, supported by concrete and metal. The outstanding stadium has a 91,000 seating capacity, with a floor area of over 250,000 square meters, and is designed to last for more or less a century.
U.S. Steel Tower
Completed in 1971, the U.S. Steel Tower is a 64-story structure built by the U.S. Steel Company. Standing 841 feet, it is the tallest building in Pittsburgh, which perfectly fits its status as the “Steel City,” for being home to hundreds of steel companies.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge is the globe’s largest steel arch bridge and the international emblem of Australia. The heritage-listed structure used steelwork weighing 52,800 tonnes, with nearly 75% of it utilized for the arch. Its visual design is impeccable, but the views of the surrounding natural landscape and other beautiful attractions are as incredible.
The Gateway Arch
Renowned worldwide as the “Gateway to the West,” The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is among the most magnificent structures made in the last decades. Also recognized as the tallest arch in the world, it pays honor to the city’s role in the United States’ westward expansion during the 19th century and symbolizes the optimism of the Americans as a growing nation.
Steel’s invention revolutionized the construction industry, giving birth to these steel structures, which proved to be functional or symbolic for their respective countries and people. More and more steel buildings have been made across the years as technology and architecture continue to advance. While other steel buildings may dwindle in popularity as new structures rise, their legacy, like steel, is meant to last.