6 Record-Breaking Construction Projects Now Underway

Construction teams are building things larger, taller, greener and pricier than ever before.  

Architects continue their race to the top. But the construction industry has other firsts on the way as well. Check out these five record-setting projects that have started or are scheduled to start.

1. Tallest building

Construction began on the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2013, and it will likely be 2020 before it’s finished. The 3,281-foot-tall building, which will offer up office, hotel and residential space, will be the first manmade structure in the world to reach the kilometer mark. It was designed by architect Adrian Smith, who was also behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the current highest building in the world.

2. Largest rooftop solar farm

Tesla announced in January that its $5 billion “Gigafactory” near Sparks, Nevada, which will churn out batteries for electric cars, will be home to the world's largest rooftop solar farm — seven times bigger than the current largest rooftop solar installation, according to the company. Tesla plans to generate enough electricity to run the entire facility, making it a net-zero-energy plant.

3. Most expensive real estate development project in U.S. history

Construction of the Hudson Yards, a 28-acre development in New York City, got started in 2014, and developers Related Companies and Oxford Properties estimate that the entire project will be built out by the end of 2024. When complete, the complex, which is being built over a former rail yard, will feature several skyscrapers, 18 million square feet of commercial and residential space, 1 million square feet of retail and mixed-use space and 14 acres of public space. All that building is projected to create a total of 23,000 construction jobs.

Hudson Yards

Image Credit: Hudson Yards New York

4. Tallest wood building in the U.S.

A 12-story building called Framework, in Portland, Oregon, is slated to be the first mass timber high-rise in the country. It got its start as one of the winners of a 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture tall wood building design competition. The $1.5 million prize went toward additional research and development on safety and design. Construction should begin this fall.

Framework inline

Image Credit: Framework Portland, lobby rendering

5. The world’s largest airport

Crews started construction on the Istanbul Yeni Havalimani international airport in Istanbul, Turkey, back in 2015, but the airport won't be complete until 2028. Spread out over 19,000 acres, it will be able to handle 150 million passengers a year, with the capacity to eventually handle 50 million more. The first phase will be complete next year, at which time the main terminal will be able to accommodate 90 million travelers. 

6. The world's highest railway bridge

The 4,314-feet-long Chenab Bridge, connecting Jammu and Kashmir, India, will soar 1,178 feet above India's Chenab River and surpass by 115 feet the height of the Eiffel Tower. The $92 million arch-shaped span, which will be able to resist winds of up to 161 miles per hour, is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Tallest highway