Race for the Skies

Race for the Skies

A Chinese construction company is claiming to be the world’s fastest builder after erecting a 57-storey skyscraper Mini Sky City in 19 working days in central China.

Broad Sustainable Building, a prefab construction firm, put up the rectangular, glass and steel Mini Sky City in the Hunan provincial capital of Changsha, assembling three floors a day using a modular method.

It worked on Mini Sky City in two bursts interrupted by bad weather and red tape. Its time-lapse video of the rapid build has become popular on Chinese video sharing sites since it was first uploaded to YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6f_sayw0mM

Liu Peng, the associate director of the engineering consulting firm Arup Beijing, said the method was worth developing because it could become a safe and reliable way to build skyscrapers quickly. “But it is not perfect, and it does not meet all kinds of personalised demands,” Liu said. “People nowadays want more personalised architecture.”

Mini Sky City has 19 atriums, 800 apartments and office space for 4 000 people. Broad Sustainable Building spent four and a half months fabricating the building’s 2 736 modules before construction began. The company had honed its technology to speed up its construction from two floors to three floors a day, he added. “This is definitely the fastest speed in our industry.”

The company has for some time had ambitions to assemble the world’s tallest skyscraper, Sky City, at a record breaking 220 floors, in only three months. But the project commencement has been delayed many times and is still awaiting approval for this 838 m tall sky-scraper. Currently, the world’s tallest building is the 830m tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE.

The Sky City project which will also be in Changsha was set to break ground in June 2013, but the government approval process caused delay after delay. It is now hoped that construction could start early in 2016, but don’t hold your breath.

If it is built as planned, Sky City could be the tallest building in the world at 838m, but not for long. The tower was initially planned to be 1 600m high, however, the geology of the area proved unsuitable for a tower of that height. The 202 floor Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is currently under construction and plans to open in 2019.  The developers of Kingdom Tower are keeping the final height secret, stating only that it will be at least 1 000m high. The state of construction in June 2015 at 23 floors high is shown below.

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