Kempinski Blog Article
Man's ability to craft beautiful, iconic structures is truly remarkable. Since the Great Pyramid of Giza first reached up into the sky in 2584 BC, all kinds of wonders have risen and fallen, from the white marbled columns of the Temple of Artemis to the near-100ft-tall bronze Colossus of Rhodes.
As the Great Pyramid is the only ancient wonder still standing, in 2007 over 100 million people voted for the New7Wonders of the World, choosing Chichen Itza, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Petra, the Colosseum and the Taj Mahal as the modern line-up. Nine years later, are there any truly modern structures that could be added to this list?
The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa is a truly iconic landmark, rising 828m up out of Dubai's dry shores and commanding the Emirate's skyline. Constructed between 2004 and 2010, the tower's aims are clear: gain Dubai increased international acclaim and signify its rapidly diversifying economy, becoming the world's tallest building in the process.
Over 250 million visitors to Paris have scaled the stairs of the 324m-tall Eiffel Tower, an instantly recognisable structure that was constructed in 1889 prior to the World's Fair of that year. Crafted out of 10,000 tonnes of material, including 7,300 tonnes of iron, visitors standing at the top of the tower can see around 59km out over Paris and the surrounding region.
Designed by the celebrated modern architect Norman Foster and opened in 2004, the Millau Viaduct is a gleaming bridge that spans the picturesque Tarn Valley in France's Aveyron department. The viaduct is both the world's longest and highest multi-span suspension bridge, and certainly worthy of wonder status.
Spring Temple Buddha
Located in Lushan County in Henan, China, the Spring Temple Buddha was completed in September 2008 and is the largest statue in the world – at a height of 128m it easily dwarfs icons such as the statue of Liberty and Christ the Redeemer. Constructed in response to the 2001 destruction of the Afghan Bamiyan Buddhas, the statue is made out of 108kg of gold, 3,300 tonnes of copper and 15,000 tonnes of steel – a massive marvel by any account.
China's tallest building and the second-tallest in the world, the 632m Shanghai Tower's charming, undulating form is truly modern, resisting high winds and conforming to green building principles. The top of the tower features a number of wind turbines, while each of its nine zones are built around a plant and natural light-filled sky lobby, designed to create the feel of a traditional town square.
The world's wonders of today are crafted out of metal and glass rather than sandstone and marble, though they make just as great an impact as the creations of antiquity.