10 Strange Structural Engineering Marvels

Ericsson Globe
Globe Arena, also known as Ericsson Globe, is the biggest spherical building in the world. © Claudio Cassaro/Grand Tour/Grand Tour/Corbis

Speaking of leisure activities, the Ericsson Globe, a sports arena in Stockholm, holds a number of records. With a diameter of 361 feet (110 meters), an inner height of 279 feet (85 meters) and a volume of 21,188,800 cubic feet (600,000 cubic meters), it stands as the world's largest spherical structure. And, amazingly, it didn't take long to get that way. Workers broke ground on Sept. 10, 1986, and the building opened for business on Feb. 19, 1989. That means the entire construction process took just 2.5 years.

The size of the Ericsson Globe makes it perfect for more than hockey games and live entertainment. It also plays a role in the world's largest educational model. You heard right. The astronomy department at Stockholm University decided to depict the proper scale of our planetary system using structures spread across the Swedish countryside. The Globe serves as stand-in for the sun, which establishes the model's scale to be 1:20,000,000. All of the inner planets are located within Stockholm city limits, but the outer planets range far to the north. For example, Neptune resides in Söderhamn, which is 153 miles (246 kilometers) from the Globe, and the dwarf planet Pluto in Delsbo is 186 miles (300 kilometers) away. There's a host institution for each model, so tourists can travel to the planets without ever getting lost in space.