Metal Masterpieces: Famous Fabrication Projects Around the Globe

Metal is everywhere in our lives, yet sometimes its role of behind-the-scenes hero makes it harder to spot in the buildings where we live, work, and shop. This month, we’re bringing metal fabrication into the spotlight by showcasing some superstar steel projects from around the world.

  • San Diego International Airport Terminal 2 West. The “Green Build” of San Diego’s International Airport Terminal 2 West was completed in 2013, including the stunning “Sunset Cove” portion of the terminal. This 2.5-story structure features floor-to-ceiling windows supported by 140 columns clad in stainless steel. The design promotes natural light and contributes to the airport’s claim to fame as the world’s first airport to achieve the highest level of LEED® certification.

  • The Empire State Building. One of the most iconic buildings ever made, the Empire State Building was constructed in 1931 and has stood the test of time in part due to its strong steel frame. Builders utilized over 57,000 tonnes of steel to create the 102-story 1,454 foot structure. While it no longer holds the title of the tallest building in the world, it is still known as an exceptional example of an Art Deco skyscraper and the most famous building worldwide.

  • Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia is one of the most well-known bridges in the world thanks to its striking arch. Completed in 1932, it has been connecting the Central Business District and the North Shore of Sydney for almost a century. It is composed of 79% steel and weighs almost 53,000 tonnes, is 1.5 miles long, and is 440 feet high. Fun fact: in the summer, the heat often causes the steel to expand, adding an extra 7 inches to the bridge!

  • Beijing National Stadium. Built for the 2008 Olympic games in China, the Beijing National Stadium utilized approximately 42,000 tonnes of steel for its creation. Known as “the bird’s nest,” this 8-level nest-like structure boasts a self-supporting steel frame with a retractable roof in a unique woven design. A marvel of steel fabrication, the inner trusses of the stadium weigh a whopping 1,000 tonnes each!

  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is a local icon in Chico and Northern California. Metal Works provided steel for the project and used around 273 tonnes of steel for the trusses in the roof supports and columns, along with the exterior rails and trellises. It’s not only a fine example of tilt-up construction, but it’s also a beloved community hub producing fine craft beer.

Image above: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company steel trusses in Chico, CA.

Innovative and artistic designs rely on steel to become stable, long-lasting structures. It’s inspiring to see how steel can contribute to building community spaces and a more sustainable environment for future generations to enjoy. What you choose to create with steel today can be a practical addition to your community or even become a cultural icon. 

At Metal Works, we’ve been serving the community for over 30 years. As the premier steel fabricator in Butte County, we specialize in structural steel fabrication for public works buildings as well as for companies in the storm drainage, aviation, and fabrication industries. Find out more about what we do and contact us today!

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