Modern Wonders of the World
Architectural Wonders of
Wall of China
House of Pharos in Alexandria
of Angkor Wat
Warriors of Xian
in Osaka Bay, Japan, is the world's first offshore airport. It was
1994. This spectacular airport has a futuristic steel and glass
and stands on an entirely man-made island. The terminal is 1.7
which makes it one of the world's longest buildings. Engineers used the
up-to-date technology in creating the island and its airport.
Why build an airport in the
sea? One reason is that there is an increasing problem finding space to
large airports near cities. Another reason is to reduce noise
new Kansai Airport lies 5 kilometers off the coast of Honshu, Japan's
Aircraft take off and land at Kansai over the sea, so the airport can
24 hours a day without disturbing people.
Once the idea for a new island
had been discussed, engineers drew up plans to create an island 4
long and 1.25 kilometers wide. At first they considered building a
island, but this would have cost more and been less stable. The island
five years to construct.
TO BUILD AN
First sand and earth were piled
onto the sea bed, 20 meters deep in Osaka Bay. Then crushed rock was
the site by huge barges and dumped on top. The weight of the rock
squeezed water out of the sea bed, creating a solid foundation.
space satellites were used to make sure the barges and their loads were
right place. Finally, a large steel boundary was sunk all around the
the rectangular island.
A competition was held to find
an architect to design the airport. The winner was Renzo Piano, one of
architects of the famous Pompidou Centre in Paris. Building work
started on the
airport even before the island was finished.
company decided to
build a 1700 meter long terminal in which passengers could move easily
end to the other, from the entrance to their waiting plane. The central
a four-storey building with a huge, curved roof designed to look like
aircraft wing. Computers constantly monitor the building's 900 columns,
their height can be slightly adjusted. This is important, because the
still settling and will go on sinking slightly for some years.
The airport island is connected to the mainland
by a two-level bridge, with railway lines on the lower level and a road
Kansai has only one runway, but can handle 160,000 flights and 25
passengers each year. In time, the world's most amazing airport may be
even bigger and other islands may be built near to it.