10.) I-405 Renovation (Los Angeles, USA)
In one of its more ambitious projects, CalTrans shut down the infamously crowded 405 freeway in the heart of downtown Los Angeles for two days in July earlier this year. Dubbed ‘Carmageddon,’ the project was surprisingly completed ahead of schedule with minimal delays, thanks to a massive PR campaign and skilled crews.
9.) The United States Institute of Peace Headquarters (Washington D.C., USA)
Designed by Mosh Safdie and Associates, the United States Institute of Peace completed work on its new headquarters in March of this year. LEED certified with a contemporary architectural flair, the Institute will be a welcome addition to the National Mall, and a needed contrast to the war-oriented behemoths across the Potomac.
8.) Apple Company Headquarters (Cupertino, USA)
One of Steve Jobs’ final reveals, and what may prove to be his most lasting legacy, was plans for Apple’s new ‘spaceship’ headquarters to be built in Cupertino, California. The future home of over 12,000 employees, an onsite power plant, and a 150-acre inner courtyard, Apple is rethinking the corporate office.
7.) The National September 11th Memorial & Museum (New York, USA)
Construction for the 9/11 memorial began in March 2006. Over 9100 tons of steel were used in its construction, and more than 240 trees planted at the site. At nearly $530 million and five years to complete, this was one of the more emotionally charged projects of 2011.
6.) Wonthaggi Desalination Plant (Victoria, Australia)
In a bid to end water-dependency, the Victorian government proposed and pushed forward construction of the plant in 2009. At an estimated cost of $3.5 billion, the plant will produce 550 megaliters of fresh water per day, traveling over 85 kilometers of pipe to connect to Victoria’s infrastructure.
5.) Simplício Hydroelectric Complex (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Located at the Anta Dam on the Paraíba do Sul river, this power plant will produce over 330 megawatts of electricity at a cost of over $1.2 billion. Water from the man-made reservoir will be diverted through 16 miles of channels, tunnels, and reservoirs before returning to the river below.
4.) Spaceport America (New Mexico, USA)
Officially opened in October, Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America is the world’s first private spaceport, opening up the world of sub-orbital spaceflight and beyond to wealthy patrons everywhere. At $212 million, boasting a 10,000 foot runway and state-of-the-art terminal, Spaceport America represents a major leap forward for an emerging industry.
3.) Al Hamra Tower (Kuwait City, Kuwait)
Standing 1,354 feet above the Kuwait City skyline, the Al Hamra tower is the tallest sculpted skyscraper in the world. 500,000 tons of concrete was used in the project, pumped almost a quarter mile skyward, as well as 45,000 tons of steel at a total cost of almost $1 billion.
2.) Pan American Games (Guadalajara, Mexico)
In a global exhibition of the city known as ‘Pearl of the West,’ 23 stadiums were constructed, many hotels built, much of the downtown re-engineered, and a second terminal added to the international airport. $750 million alone was spent on venues and accommodations for the athletes, who arrived mid-October.
1.) Tsunami Cleanup and Rebuilding (Japan)
The 9.0 earthquake of March 11th and the devastating tsunami that followed killed 15,000 people, left 10,000 missing, and caused over $300 billion in damage. Raw video of semis, supertankers, and homes being swept through Japanese streets horrified viewers the world over. Then, reactors failed at the Fukushima nuclear plant, releasing massive amounts of dangerous radiation and forcing the evacuations of nearly 150,000 people. Combined, the events made for one of the worst humanitarian and ecological disasters in Japan’s history.
But thanks to heroic efforts from construction and cleanup crews, volunteers, and government agencies, the debris is being cleared and communities rebuilt. Despite the degree and extent of the damages, most streets have been cleared and damaged structures removed. Out of the awful devastation and human tragedy, Japan and its residents are rebuilding their lives and a sense of hope.