Enormous man-made structures won’t just clean themselves, you know. Thank goodness then for the brave few who seem more than happy to scale such beasts in an effort to de-grime them; apparently fearless as they swing next to, hang from, and climb up the world’s most impressively large landmarks with bucket and sponge in hand and sturdy stomach. To help you appreciate the job in hand, here are some stunning but often gut-wrenching photos.
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Above: Workers calmly clean the Empire State Building in 1932, attached to its exterior by way of a simple harness. Pedestrians on the streets below are nothing but dots in the distance.
Above: In 2007, a team of workers hang in front of Big Ben, bucket in hand, and clean the clock-face. In the next photo, a Mr. Larkin is lowered from the top of Big Ben to do the same job, but in 1930.
THE SPACE NEEDLE
Above: In 2008, three gutsy employees of Karcher GmbH & Co ascended Seattle’s 600ft-high Space Needle and blasted its exterior with pressure washers; its first clean since 1962.
THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
Above: Two brave men clean the North Tower of the World Trade Center, then the tallest building on Earth.
Above: In 2005, five pressure washers filled with cold water were carefully aimed at the Mount Rushmore sculpture in a bid to clean its four enormous heads. The job took three weeks to complete.
BEIJING AQUATICS CENTER
Above: Prior to its opening as a venue for the Olympic Games in 2008, the bubbled surface of Beijing’s huge ‘Water Cube” aquatics centre was cleaned.
THE BURJ KHALIFA
Above: The world’s tallest building requires a lot of cleaning; especially its windows as it boasts a whopping 1,292,500 sq ft of glass and is whipped by sand on a daily basis. The second photo shows one of many boom units used to lower workers.
THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER
Above: A fearless cleaner stands precariously on a ledge of the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, in 1961.