Supersized Statues

COURTESY OF MICHAEL GRAVES ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN 

JIM MCMAHON/MAPMAN®

After three years of construction, engineers are close to completing the world’s tallest statue. The Statue of Unity, in Gujarat, India, will stand 240 meters (787 feet) high—two-and-a-half times as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

The Statue of Unity sits on a small island in the middle of a river. Its size and location have presented unique design challenges. “The statue is top-heavy, which can be problematic when dealing with earthquakes and high winds,” says Peter Neilson, an architect working on the project.

To ensure the monument’s stability, architects and engineers used concrete and steel bars to reinforce, or strengthen, the rock underneath the statue before constructing its base. In addition, a concrete pillar in each leg of the statue will help keep it upright.

When completed, the statue will depict a towering likeness of India’s first deputy prime minister, Vallabhbhai Patel. He helped the country gain independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.