Human civilisation might have only been around for 5,000 years, but in that short time we’ve gone from living in small communities of dirt huts to colossal cities full of towering skyscrapers.
It is baffling what the ingenuity of mankind has been able to accomplish as well as inspiring to see just how much further the architects and engineers of today plan to push things forward.
The author, Sarah Ban Breathnach once said: “The world needs dreamers, and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do”.
Across the globe mind-blowing feats of engineering are taking place as the buildings, cityscapes, and habitats of tomorrow are slowly constructed.
Read on to discover four engineering marvels that are currently being built and provide a glimpse into the world of the near future.
1. Saudi Arabia’s The Line
At first glance, Saudi Arabia’s The Line sounds like something straight out of science fiction.
The project is a planned linear city that will be 170km long, 500m tall, and only 200m wide. Initial construction has recently begun across a large stretch of land in the Tabuk province of Saudi Arabia.
The city is planned to have an internal transportation network and will have no cars or emissions. It will be 100% run on renewable energy, largely fuelled by vast solar arrays across the rooftops of the structure.
It is intended to house 9 million residents within a green, sustainable, and highly efficient living space.
The farthest reaches of the city will touch upon the Red Sea and offer a harbour outlet for its citizens.
The air in the city will be purified and the project claims that overall quality of life will be improved in many ways. For example, a reduction of outgoings as there will be no need for transportation costs or car insurance.
If it gets completed, The Line will be visible from space and will definitely earn its place among the modern wonders of the world.
2. The Maldives’ Floating City
Climate change and rising sea levels is forcing many nations to consider the future of their communities as they may find themselves underwater in decades to come.
The Maldives is particularly vulnerable but could be saved by a shift to floating city habitats.
A Dutch company is working on what is currently known as the “Maldives Floating City”, a project that is intended to house up to 20,000 people and is earmarked for 2027.
The city would be fully functional with homes, schools, hospitals, and various businesses built upon floating platforms anchored to the bottom of a lagoon and spanning approximately 500 acres.
A bird’s eye view of the proposed city looks like a brain’s neural network with various strands interconnecting across the lagoon and divided by a series of sprawling canals.
The Maldives project isn’t alone in trying to come up with a creative solution for rising sea levels.
In Busan, South Korea, plans are underway to build a similar floating city with an expected initial population of 12,000 but rising to 100,000 over subsequent years.
The plan is for the city to be completely self-sustainable with zero waste and net-zero energy usage.
3. Hong Kong’s Airside
The former British colony of Hong Kong has been at the forefront of the sustainable and green skyscraper initiative, as modern architects try to connect environmental and eco-friendly ideals with the technological feats of continuing engineering progress.
One such venture is Airside, which will be situated at the location of the city’s former iconic airport – Kai Tak.
The former airport has a long-lasting legacy. It was famous for its nervy landings and take-offs, as planes seemingly skidded over the top of surrounding buildings in downtown Kowloon before landing on runways built upon reclaimed land in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
The building is currently under construction and hopes to be finished in 2023. It isn’t expected to be particularly tall at only 200m, but rather focuses on a unique Scandinavian design encompassing multiple open-air plazas, cascading greenery, rooftop gardens, and green terraces.
It will feature green initiatives such as:
- Urban farming elements
- Renewable energy provisions
- Waste reduction facilities
- Rainwater storage
- Plenty of natural light and ventilation.
As the eco-movement continues to gather steam worldwide, it is likely that a shift to green, sustainable architecture will become more commonplace in the near future.
4. Malaysia’s Merdeka 118
The race to build the world’s first 1km high skyscraper has been heating up in recent years, however almost every project to date has either failed or stalled. Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower had hoped to be the first to reach the summit, but work has halted on the project since 2018.
In the meantime, Kuala Lumpur has added another majestic skyscraper to its skyline with the construction of Merdeka 118.
The tower doesn’t quite reach the Burj al Khalifa’s current record setting 828m but at 678.9m comes in at a respectable second, surpassing the Tokyo Skytree and Shanghai Tower.
As of December 2022, the building is 95% complete and is expected to be home to offices, retail units, and hotels once finished.
Merdeka 118 is a magnificent shard of intertwining concave and convex sections clad in glass, reaching up into the heavens and towering over the surrounding buildings.
It will be interesting to see if anyone finally breaks the 1km barrier and builds a skyscraper that can overcome the vast engineering challenges involved with constructing something that tall.
People will dream, then one day someone will do.