General Question

alossforwords's avatar

What is the most impressive thing (architecturally) that man has built or plans to build?

Asked by alossforwords (602points) March 30th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

62 Answers

GAMBIT's avatar

The Pyramids

dynamicduo's avatar

If you consider getting it to where it is currently, I would say the ISS currently, and the Lunar colony to be the best candidate for the future.

robmandu's avatar

I dunno about best thing ever… but for parking structure, I nominate Volkswagen.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

Either the Panama Canal, or the space station.

VzzBzz's avatar


KatawaGrey's avatar

@GAMBIT beat me to it. The pyramids are definitely very impressive.

alossforwords's avatar

Playful The Pyramids don’t move. This inspired me to ask…

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

To date, the ability not only to escape the confines of our own planet but to find practical uses for that technology back here on earth.

jonsblond's avatar

Three Gorges Dam in China is quite impressive, though controversial.

Mr_M's avatar

The Great Wall of China.

alossforwords's avatar

@Mr_M Only man-made structure that can be seen from space… except for satellites. Nice.

Mr_M's avatar

That’s right!

laxrrockr18's avatar

Stone hedge or fallingwater

SeventhSense's avatar

The Pyramids at Giza for ancient engineering marvel
The Chrysler Building for sheer Art Deco beauty and the Hoover Dam for modern engineering marvel

TheIowaCynic's avatar

Great question. I’d say the Pyramids. I read somewhere that if humans evaporated, in 10 million years, the only sign on earth that we ever existed would be the Egyptian Pyramids.

Blondesjon's avatar

@alossforwords…Being able to see the Great Wall of China from space is a myth. Our current freeways are just as wide, just as long or longer, and just as invisible until you use satellite imaging.

Do Mt. Rushmore or The Crazy Horse monument count? They are not technically “built” but they are man made and impressive nonetheless.

gambitking's avatar

I’m going to go ahead and follow the presumption that man built the pyramids, and say The Pyramids as my answer. The question as to whether humans actually built the pyramids, and how/when… is perhaps for another day.

The pyramids are a marvel, and rightly so (as well as earning a well-deserved place on various wonders-of-the-world lists.)

They were the tallest building on Earth until the 20th century. Not only do they represent the pinnacle in architectural engineering, they are (were) considered ‘perfectly’ levelled – both in terms of the common horizontal leveling… AND in vertical leveling. The builders of the pyramids (and of course, the architects) used astrological reference points (stars) to align the structures vertically. Many architects even today still use the uncanny methods of vertical alignment precision used on the pyramids that have yet to be bested.

The actual accomplishment of building the pyramids was a feat in itself as well. This is why they are so mysterious. Considering what historical data is available, the completion of the great pyramids seems impossible. It would have required every able laborer to work non-stop 24/7 for their entire lives AND still put a block into place every two minutes in order to stay congruous to our known timelines and construction methods.

The Pyramids clearly win this one, with bonus points for the awe and mystery that surrounds them. Did you know…if you put a glass of milk in the very architectural center of a pyramid…it will never go sour?

alossforwords's avatar


Not everything cool is a myth. But I found a cool little NASA blip about your response. You learn something new every day.

TheIowaCynic's avatar


I don’t mean to be argumentative, but there are many myths about the pyramids. The milk one is a myth, the idea that grain stored in the pyramids and fed to prisoners will lead to lower violence in prisons or that razors will become sharper are all part of the “mystique” of the pyramids but they’re not correct.

There are about 3 million stones and the population of Egypt during Kefron and Snefru was about 60,000. If the workforce on the Pyramids was 15,000, each worker would have been responsible for 210 of the stones. That is remarkable when you consider that each stone averages a few tons, but it’s not unimaginable, particularly when you consider that they took 25 years to build, on average.

Also, things like their perfect 45 degree angles aren’t impossible either. You just simply make sure the each brick is as far in, on top of the one below it, as it is high and ta-da…perfect 45 degree angle.

The perfect leveling of the pyramids is also not impossible to figure. They cut groves in the bedrock and saw which way the water ran. They kept leveling until it was perfect.

The best person in the world to hear talk about the Pyramids is Bob Briar. He gives a course from “The Teaching Series” that I couldn’t recommend highly enough

Blondesjon's avatar

@alossforwords…I agree with your link. It also claims that the Great Wall is not visible “at least to the unaided eye in low Earth orbit. It certainly isn’t visible from the Moon.”

I do believe that my statement contained a nod to the satellite imaging that your link provided.

i think just seeing the Earth itself from space is cool

TaoSan's avatar


I second Hoover Dam. I live 15 minutes away from it and see it quite often, but it never ceases to amaze…

SeventhSense's avatar

As per Wikipedia
The Bureau of Reclamation engineers calculated that if the dam were built in a single continuous pour, the concrete would have taken 125 years to cool to ambient temperature. The resulting stresses would have caused the dam to crack and crumble.[10] To solve this problem the dam was built in a series of interlocking trapezoidal columns. Each pour was no more than six inches (152 mm) deep. Because of this depth it is extremely unlikely that construction workers were accidentally buried alive in the concrete, contrary to popular folklore.[11
There were 112 deaths associated with the construction of the dam.[11

Blondesjon's avatar

@SeventhSense…For me personally, the sheer balls of the fellas who built the dam, is the dam’s most impressive attribute.

have you ever seen some of the shit they had to do to make it happen

SeventhSense's avatar

No doubt, the concrete that they poured alone was just staggering. And then to top it all off it had to stop a wall of water for the next couple of hundred years. Those types of engineering feats are mind boggling even to conceive.

TaoSan's avatar

and imagine the limited machinery available to these guys!!! That’s all climb, explode, fill. It is almost ridiculous.

BTW, did y’all know that Boulder City still is the only city in Nevada where there are no casinos allowed?

jonsblond's avatar

@TaoSan Did you ever go to the bottom of Hoover Dam? I grew up in Vegas and we would visit the dam quite a bit. We took the tour to the bottom and it was absolutely amazing.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

There was a somewhat serious proposal to dam the strait of Gibraltar in the ‘20 and 30’s.

TaoSan's avatar


Oh totally. I haven’t even thought of those. Along with the Burj Al Arab!!!

Jiminez's avatar

So far, I would say Masdar City.

SeventhSense's avatar

Very Cool. I envision a day when there wil be a variety of low powered robots not unlike these walking about and doing menial tasks.

cak's avatar

@jonsblond – we watched the documentary on the Three Gorges Dam – a truly massive (I don’t even think that is enough to stress the scope of this project) project. From the relocation of the people to the change of the land.

The Hoover Dam is up there for me. The first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

jonsblond's avatar

@cak When I was young, I thought it was the neatest thing to drive across the dam and the time would change. It felt like magic. I’m talking really young here. ;)

I’m sure I saw the same documentary. Very impressive.

TaoSan's avatar


Every time I set 1 foot left and 1 foot right of the line. Never gets old. Except in DLS time of course

jonsblond's avatar

@TaoSan lol4rl I feel like I’m five. :)

gambitking's avatar

A man, a plan, a canal – Panama

Horus515's avatar

The Panama Canal.

Glow's avatar

Pyramids of giza. And ill say why:

Considering the technology of their time, im simply wowed by how something so large was created with out machines or anything else besides bricks and what ever they had around them…. provided that is that humans DID build the pyramids of Giza and little grey aliens didnt really aid them in :)

Horus515's avatar


I love that palindrome. Almost as much as

Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?


Neil, a trap! Sid is part alien!

z28proximo's avatar

I like the new skyscrapers that are being built that have built in wind generators and rotate to face the wind, reconfiguring what they look like. They generate enough power for itself and the surrounding city blocks.

gambitking's avatar

@Horus515 nice.

Swap God for a janitor, & rot in a jar of dog paws

Ria777's avatar

the Large Hadron Collider. the most complex machine ever built, and the largest.

jonsblond's avatar

@Ria777 Great answer!

alossforwords's avatar

@Ria777 A great many scientists argue that the Hadron Collider is the world’s greatest scientific acheivement to date, as well as a wonder of engineering… I wish we could give you bonus points for your answer.

Mamradpivo's avatar

@MooKoo That’s awesome!

alossforwords's avatar

Funny Little Side Note: Yesterday I found a Trivial Pursuit Card with the question, “What is the only man-made structure that can be seen from space?”

oratio's avatar

I would say the Internet, but since I reckon you mean more of an architectural object I would say the ISS.

LHC is up there as well. These are some of the pyramids of our time.

logzlo's avatar

Currently built: the jesus of rio
Being planned: the pheonix building( it’s goingg to be placed on the former site of the twin towers)

fireside's avatar

I like the Lotus Temple in New Delhi

yziabites's avatar

the pyramids.

deni's avatar

yes. the pyramids. they are my favorite thing in the world :P

although the international space station….well, and pretty much everything else that’s floating around in space is amazing too.

Hatsumiko's avatar

The Great Wall of China, hands down.

johanna's avatar

Petra, Jordan.

Most beautiful awe inspiring place I ever seen. It makes those silly pyramids look amateurish.

Cartman's avatar

Petra it is! The Great Wall is good but Petra is almost beyond belief. Almost an entire city carved in one piece, and in a nice way not just Neolithic grotto chiq. My money is on Petra.

deni's avatar

Well, all these things are real cool and impressive, but thousands of years later we STILL can’t figure out how they built the pyramids, and I think that’s what makes them more impressive than anything else. These people were so smart and they were able to build something so amazing, and now in 2009 we have all this dumb technology but we can’t figure out something like that. Boo us, yay Egypt.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Pyramids Seriously! How did they do that without cranes and stuff? Amazing!
Chrysler and Empire State Buildings Because they are each beautiful in their own right
Petronas Towers They just look cool and futuristic
Taj Mahal The detail on that building is amazing
Burj Khalifa Because it just looks cooler than anything I’ve seen

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