China Plans to Build the World’s Largest Skyscraper in Just 90 Days

  • Share
  • Read Later
Broad Construction

If only constructing a skyscraper were as easy as stacking Legos. Then, we’d be throwing together 200-story towers in a matter of weeks, just clicking blocks together until we got bored. But the idea isn’t so far-fetched: if China’s Broad Sustainable Building Corp. is doing its math and crossing its ts properly, it could be topping out a 2,749-ft.-tall skyscraper — the world’s tallest — in just three months.

Starting in January, the race will be on against what seems to be an impossibly short deadline. Broad is allotting just 90 days to construct the 220-story tower, dubbed Sky City, in the city of Changsha, in China’s southeastern Hunan province — meaning the building will go up at a rate of about five stories a day, according to Construction Week Online.

(MORE: Top 10 Tallest Structures in the World)

It’s not only the speed, though; it’s the height. Upon completion, Sky City will be 32 ft. taller than the Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building in the world. It’ll also go up 24 times quicker. Upon completion, the tower will contain a school, hospital, 17 helipads and apartments for 30,000 people, according to online design magazine Dezeen. It’s unclear, though, if it will have a lobby — the regimented prefab construction has prohibited wide open spaces on the ground floor of previous Broad buildings, Wired explains.

Broad began as an air-conditioner manufacturer but diversified after developing a new method of constructing prefab skyscrapers, whose components slot together like Erector Set pieces. According to Wired, the company’s founder and chairman Zhang Yue was inspired by the immense devastation of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, which killed more than 68,000 people, to develop quake-friendly building designs; the sturdy modular style Broad pioneered is 95% prefabricated in the company’s factories in Hunan province.

As of September, Broad had built 17 of the prefab structures, all but one in China, and fast: the company put up a 15-story hotel in just two days, and a 30-story tower in just 15. The structures are as bland as a Sears Catalog Home, and as pretty as a stack of plywood, but for Zhang, it’s not about style. Broad’s buildings use less concrete in the floors and less steel in the support beams, reducing the weight and increasing its earthquake resilience — Zhang says his buildings are meant to withstand a 9.0-magnitude temblor.

(MORE: London Skyscraper Takes Title of Tallest Building in Europe)

Indeed, the towers’ blandness and adaptability is part of the plan: Broad plans to monetize its housing concept by licensing the technology to countries across the globe. Franchisees can then build the pieces locally to prevent the exorbitant cost of shipping the prefabricated pieces.

As for Sky City, Broad plans to start laying the foundation at the end of November, with the three-month race against the clock starting at the end of the year and running through March. Ladies and gentlemen, get out your stopwatches — this one could be a nail-biter.

PHOTOS: Exclusive from NASA: The New Tallest Building in New York City, from Above

163 comments
frankwall1965
frankwall1965

I am very sceptical about this project. A building like this needs time to construct - it must be safe, both from earthquakes, fire and a 9/11 type scenario. A prefabricated skyscraper catching fire could end up killing thousands upon thousands of people.

bcbooo
bcbooo

This story is untrue,because I'm a chinese.

ttkrishnan
ttkrishnan

China is displaying awesome capabilities. It looks as if rest of the world is sleeping

PapaFoote
PapaFoote

THE POSSIBILITIES JUST CONTINUE TO STRIDE FORWARD - The Old Mountain Goat!

raidx259
raidx259

hmm, putting 30,000 people in such a small footprint (even if it's 24 time thicker that other buildings) will require some additional innovation in transportation infrastructure. Chinese roads are already overloaded. Imagine moving the masses of people that need to get in and out of that building every day to go to work. 

Unless of course they are expecting people to live, eat, work, go to school, get medical attention, shop and do everything in the building which in itself then might be a solution to the urban sprawl and the cost of building bigger and bigger roads. They might be on to something, but I wouldn't like to spend my life in the same concrete labyrinth.

Iamjb
Iamjb

John Hancock on the right - 100 stories.

Sky City on the left - 200 stories.

Something doesn't match up here...

BarryAMoulds
BarryAMoulds

Expect inferior Chinese engineering and construction techniques ...

Ol'Bob
Ol'Bob

Wow - looking at the artists depiction of the building, I just gotta ask - did Ivo Shandor have anything to do with designing this thing?

anie
anie

This report is untrue . The authorities have also not approved

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

Revelation 16:12[ Sixth Bowl: Euphrates Dried Up ] Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared........Revelation 9:16Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them...

GrahamStrouse
GrahamStrouse

I'm dubious about the project, but I'm also curious. I don't really see the need for 2700 foot skyscrapers but if the technique works it could have a pretty dramatic impact on urban development in general.

China is probably not the best place to try an experiment like this, though. The entire nation is crisscrossed with faultlines & at most large Chinese cities are literally sinking, and at an alarming rate. And it's mostly do to a combination of three factors--depletion of water reserves, too much concentrated biomass and two much concentrated physical mass--things like skyscapers, for instance.

Still, I can think of a lot of useful implications for these construction techniques at the smaller scale.

frizztext
frizztext

good luck that there never will be a 9/11 in China ...

gtothreg
gtothreg

If China only had unions, this building could have been built in 20 years and for 10x more.  How long has it taken NYC to build the new world trade center?  10 years and its still not done and its how much over budget?  Its a national shame that we have to deal with such red tape and bureaucracy while other countries easily pass us by.  And we wonder why the economy is in the $htr and our jobs are going to countries with less regulation.  Wake up America.

yeonsandong
yeonsandong

Amazing accomplishment. It's not just regulations. To the dummy who said the building

on the right is copy of Hancock. It's a photoshop you IDIOT.

russo
russo

This is what can be accomplished when you remove all  restrictions and regulations that prevail in the US in nearly every trade. Efficiency, productivity and ingenuity prevail when you take all of the obstacles away. Government regulations and union demands have and will continue to take down Americas economy and our standard of living.  A moderate level of regulations and employee  representation is a good thing....but when these two entities are powerful enough to take down entire industries....it becomes obvious the balance of power is skewed...and the effect is and will continue to be inefficiency, lack of productivity and a shrinking wealth for America.  Very sad....ask the employees of Hostess. 

srajdb
srajdb

Good for them.  Now it's time to put Frank Lloyd Wright's "Illinois" design into fruition. One mile high.

ShaneMeeker
ShaneMeeker

Is it just me, or does the building to the right of it look like a rip off of the Hancock building design.

marvino
marvino

Stupid ch*nks.......it's all about the corrupt chinese provincial politicians trying to pad their "GDP" scores (it's how they get promoted by the CCP -- by artificially inflating the local GDP in their provinces -- not by increasing wealth of the common chinese)....   the stupid skyscraper will go largely unoccupied and it will be torn down the following year only to be rebuilt again to somewhere else, along with the many useless highway & bridge projects, the many empty airports and super high-speed rails that the average chinese can't afford to ride.

AmandaJohnson
AmandaJohnson

Just imagine the USA without our Federal government in its current form.  Imagine if we just had a national defense, a congress, executive and legislative branches and maybe the FBI for multi-jurisdictional issues.

Just imagine that 42% of all GDP wasn't going to pay interest on Debt borrowed by your government via the Federal Reserve to kill everyone in foreign countries to keep the high price of oil.

The USA is RICH by default, it takes a Government to make the USA poor and in debt.  So sad.

DarrinBell
DarrinBell

@raidx259 That sounds like an arcology. I don't know why we don't have any of those already, the concept's been around for decades.

containthevirus
containthevirus

@raidx259 youd be surprised to learn that china is actually (for a country its size with its population)china has a very small footprint compared to its population counts. 3/4 of the population walks. uses's buses or trains. for their population they are very good at keeping down their carbon footprint.and chinese roads are not "overloaded" maybe sometimes during rush hour but thats in every country. people rarely use cars there anymore. its all trains, and buses.-coming from personal experience being in china many many times.

DarrinBell
DarrinBell

@gtothreg So you'd rather workers here accept horrible working conditions, forfeit weekends and holidays, and work for next to nothing just so you can see a building go up in 90 days instead of several months. The construction of the WTC replacement was delayed by 9/11 politics, not by labor unions.

jlav
jlav

That's probably because workers in the States are unionized, paid acceptable wages, and follow stringent labour codes. No mention on how many workers it will take to build this skyscraper in 90 days, what their wages are and how many hours they will be expected to put it in a day....you can bet that the labour conditions will be abominable....China has no qualms with forfeiting basic labour conditions for economic gain and recognition...so much for sustainability....!! I'd be interested in seeing the 'behind-the-scenes' on this project if it is ever actually conceived...

asssphincter
asssphincter

Do you have foreskin cheese as well as me?

Lucky2BHerre
Lucky2BHerre

@russo Reality check.

1. China's record on massive projects is checkered at best. The quality of their transportation systems and their buildings - unless there is substantial outside assistance - has been dismal. They might make that 90-day goal, but I seriously doubt all the system required to actually run the building safely will be executed properly. It would be damned scary to be in that thing during an earthquake or fire.

2. Hostess was making products that their *customers* didn't want. If they changed with the market, they'd still be around. No more, no less.

Life is a little more complicated than your black and white "solutions" to our problems.

ns1983
ns1983

@russo Take down what industry? Please enlighten me? 

Unions formed our middle class. Labor unions especially. They set guaranteed wage, retirement, healthcare, regardless of what company a tradesmen works for. Still, workers make peanuts compared to profits on a construction site. Unions are necessary in construction when jobs end, you don't lose your benefits if you decide to switch companies.

SinewStew
SinewStew

@russo You do realize that this is a totalitarian government that controls every aspect of human life?  I'd say they have regulations, they just don't care about human life.  

zdoctorman
zdoctorman

@marvino I think instead of being bitter and jealous of what other country is doing, we should focus on what we can do to improve our own country. who cares if their skyscraper is unoccupied when 10% of our working force can't find a job? the US is by far the strongest country in the world but we all must admit it has been falling. we must do something to stop that and being a racist hater ain't gonna do it...

Halfbad
Halfbad

Stupid and ignorant racist pigs like you will ensure the US' continued fall from the top.  Instead being bitter and jealous about other's achievements, maybe you should look yourself in the mirror and worry about your own problems instead.  We don't exactly live in a perfect society either.  Have you taken the high speed train or been to any major airports in China?

ns1983
ns1983

@AmandaJohnson You've never been to China, I can tell by this post. Please comment on what you know.

rickirs
rickirs

Just imagine that congress had term limits, nonpartisan agenda, behaved like adults, passed laws for the benefit of ALL Americans. And then you wake up and live in the real world.

kareny
kareny

Move to China where the government will give you a permit to live based on where you were born which means if you move to a city, you won't be able to register your children in school because you don't have a permit to live in a city.  You're only allowed to have one child (2 if you live in a rural area, your 1st child is a girl & you have government permission) otherwise it's mandatory that you obtain an abortion.

JackDesell
JackDesell

@AmandaJohnson 

Move to China!(I hope you get caught by a roving sterilization squad and chained to the floor of the Foxconn factory making iPad minis for a US government contractor.)

russo
russo

@SinewStew  Yes , a totalitarian government that allows industry to produce- unimpeded. I am not saying the form of government is desirable. I AM SAYING the Chinese government does not get in the way of industry. Again, some regulation and employee representation is a good thing but it should not be ALL POWERFUL and take away the incentives to actually produce

russo
russo

@SinewStew  Yes , a totalitarian government that allows industry to produce- unimpeded. I am not saying the form of government is desirable. I AM SAYING the Chinese government does not get in the way of industry. Again, some regulation and employee representation is a good thing but it should not be ALL POWERFUL and take away the incentives to actually produceBan userShareFlagDeleteRead more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/20/china-plans-to-build-the-worlds-largest-skyscraper-in-just-90-days/#ixzz2CyB47aHY

russo
russo

Yes , a totalitarian government that allows industry to produce- unimpeded. I am not saying the form of government is desirable. I AM SAYING the Chinese government does not get in the way of industry. Again, some regulation and employee representation is a good thing but it should not be ALL POWERFUL and take away the incentives to actually produceBan userShareFlagDeleteRead more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/20/china-plans-to-build-the-worlds-largest-skyscraper-in-just-90-days/#ixzz2CyB47aHY

russo
russo

@SinewStew @russo 

Yes , a totalitarian government that allows industry to produce- unimpeded.  I am not saying the form of government is desirable. I AM SAYING the Chinese government does not get in the way of industry. Again, some regulation and employee representation is a good thing but it should not be ALL POWERFUL and take away the incentives to actually produce 

zdoctorman
zdoctorman

@SinewStew @russo agreed.  i'm surprised the government is actually allowing this and wonder how many levels of officials he has to bribe to overcome this.  and life is cheap in china, relatively speaking. i do agree that this is some amazing ingenuity if the buildings are proven to be durable/safe.

gtothreg
gtothreg

@SinewStew @russo  - Have you ever been to China?  As long as your not protesting and speaking out again the governement, there aren't really any laws.... at all.  The US has more laws, regulations, and people in prison that any country in the world.  China has almost 2 Billion people, India has over 2 billion people.  The US has 300 million people yet over 2 million are caught up in the prison industrial complex.  Who's actually living in a totalitarian country now?  No where else in the world can police taze and beat you and the population justifies it and your guilty until proven innocent.

zdoctorman
zdoctorman

@kareny please check your facts (and your facts are very wrong and you should be ashamed).  this happened in the 80's (just like the japanese internment camp took place in the 40's) and does not apply today. i feel bad for you...

TomKitta
TomKitta

@kareny It is changing fast - they did realize that 1 child policy = 4 grandparents policy. So now it looks like you will be forced to have more kids ;)

asssphincter
asssphincter

QUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDD

Halfbad
Halfbad

Then you have even more problems than I thought.  I rest my case.