Epic construction projects seen through timelapse and short videos

Short videos, especially timelapse videos, offer a great way to get an impression of the vast scope of large construction projects. We present some incredible, yet short videos of tall towers and large-scale construction projects.

Construction sites can be a beautiful thing to stop and admire. But when it comes to large-scale construction projects like skyscrapers, it can take many years to prepare and build just the foundation, and then several more to complete the actual structure. For people living in the area, progress can often seem very slow, and construction site fans may eventually stop looking. Videos – timelapse videos in particular – offer those of us with shorter attention spans an insightful glimpse into the enormous complexity that is a construction project. Construction voyeurs can enjoy bite-sized looks at tall towers and large infrastructure projects.

Hudson Yards, New York City, USA

Hudson Yards is a $25 billion megaproject in New York City, consisting of a brand-new, 11.3-hectare neighborhood that includes six skyscrapers of over 200 meters in height. And what’s more: the entire complex is built on two massive platforms hovering above the most active railway hub in the United States. It’s hard to imagine they captured all of that in a timelapse video of just under three minutes.

Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai, China

The Shanghai World Financial Center was built to symbolize the city’s status as a world capital. Practically designed as a vertical city, this 494-meter building contains the world’s highest hotel, along with office space, retail shops, and restaurants. Watch it rise up in this brief timelapse video below, and learn more about its high-speed, double-deck elevators.

One World Trade Center, NYC, USA

One World Trade Center is not just the tallest building in the United States or the sixth tallest in the world (as of early 2020), it’s an important symbol to an entire nation. It took a staggering 11 years to build, but that entire time was captured on film to create an impressive timelapse summary of the process.

Elevator Test Tower, Rottweil, Germany

In this impressive timelapse video, it appears as if a 246-meter concrete tower is squirted out of a tower-making machine. This form of building is called slipform construction because concrete is continuously poured into a constantly moving form. The result? The TK Elevator Test Tower Rottweil.

Panama Canal Expansion, Panama

The entire Panama Canal Expansion, a four-billion-Euro infrastructure project that lasted from March 2011 to June 2016, was captured on film and condensed down to a two-minute video. The project made the Panama Canal capable of handling more and larger containerships – and in order for workers to get from one side to the other, or up into the control towers, they rely on lifts from TK Elevator.

Makkah Clock Tower, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Overlooking the holy city of Makkah is one of the tallest buildings in the world: The Makkah Clock Tower. There is a prayer room inside the crescent at the top of the 601-meter building. Although it’s not the tallest building in the world, it is the tallest clock tower and the building itself breaks over 30 world records. Watch the video to find out more.

181 Fremont, San Francisco, California, USA

Modern architecture buffs and tall tower fans love 181 Fremont in San Francisco. This building is one the safest, if not the safest building in the world. It features 44 caissons that go approximately 80 meters into the ground that, together with its exoskeleton, make it highly earthquake resistant. 181 Fremont also has fire-safe elevators that can be used for evacuation.

Istanbul Airport, Istanbul, Turkey

Replacing the Atatürk Airport in 2018, the Istanbul Airport is a modern, global hub for Asia, Africa, and Europe. It’s on track to become the world’s biggest airport when all four phases of expansion are complete in 2025. It was designed by London-based Grimshaw, along with Haptic and Nordic, to reflect the Ottoman legacy of Istanbul. The main terminal hall was made in the shape of the Bosphorus Strait and the air traffic control tower was designed after the shape of a tulip, which is native to the region. The project also broke a world record with the largest airport solutions contract ever.

Video Credits
Hudson Yards, video by EarthCam
Shanghai WFC, video by iamcapohorn
One World Trade Center, video by EarthCam
Panama Canal, video by EarthCam
Makkah Clock Tower, video by Khyber Trolls
181 Fremont, San Francisco, video by Level 10 Construction
Istanbul Airport, video by İGA Istanbul Airport