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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why China Terrifies Us

Posted by on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Seriously, a company in China (the land of the future—the US is the middle kingdom, Europe is the past) is dreaming about building the tallest skyscraper in the world in just three months.

[T]he 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.

If this even works, it will mean that junkspace can be extended to the heavens, junkspace will be among the clouds. We know only junkspace can be made in no time. Lots of time is one of the most important materials of architecture.


Comments (15) RSS

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care bear 1
I wouldn't want to stand under that building.
Posted by care bear on November 21, 2012 at 8:10 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 2
You're displaying some of that past kingdom thinking. The future involves building in factories where units can be built efficiently, cheaply, and with high tolerances. Yes, these manufactured pieces will be assembled quickly, but don't forget they took significant effort to build before this assembly begins.

You may long for a pre-Model-T car because of the handcrafted beauty, but I doubt you can afford to commute in one. China is trying to build affordable housing for a massive number of people. That's can't be done in wood-fired brick with carved stone gargoyles.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on November 21, 2012 at 8:14 AM · Report this
Charles, this technology would increase the efficient urbanization that you so often celebrate. Yes? Imagine 220-story buildings by every light-rail stop in Seattle.
Posted by David from Chicago on November 21, 2012 at 8:23 AM · Report this
Google some of China's past 'triumphs' when it comes to this kind of fastercheaperbigger engineering they've been doing over there - it's not a pretty picture.

The biggest threat China poses, as it has for the entirety of the 20th century and beyond, is to its own people.
Posted by johnjjeeves on November 21, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this
It's not really being built in 3 months, it's being assembled in three months.

@3 Why not? That is probably way too big for a city Seattle's size from an economic standpoint but why not turn the market loose by removing all height limits for certain areas?
Posted by giffy on November 21, 2012 at 8:57 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
If we treated workers like slaves, we could make stuff that fast and cheap too.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on November 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 7
I wish them well, I hope they succeed, and I would welcome the world such innovation would bring.

But I wouldn't be the first (or even the 10,001st) person to visit the top of a 220-story tower built in the three months by the Chinese. Or to rent space anywhere near it.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on November 21, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
@5 In previous posts Charles has argued for greater urban density. So I would think he'd love to see big, cheap buildings. Maybe just 40-story buildings? 20? Regardless, his post on this seems to contrary to his typical musings. I'm intrigued.
Posted by David from Chicago on November 21, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 9
it'll be a hell of a walk to the top floor after the oil runs out.
Posted by Max Solomon on November 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Yup, and they also dig mines faster than anyone else, and have the highest fatality number of mining accidents on the planet --- any other bright comments today???
Posted by sgt_doom on November 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM · Report this
@8 Why must density be cheap ugly buildings?
Posted by giffy on November 21, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
@11 except in the abstract, density is ugly.
Posted by mt on November 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
I wouldn't want to work in that building.
Posted by Patricia Kayden on November 21, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
Post_Mortem 14
Was the 'middle kingdom' thing an intentional (albeit odd) joke? I mean, that is a valid translation of 'china'.
Posted by Post_Mortem on November 21, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
It's silly to fear a country because it can get one amazing project done. The Soviet Union put the first man in space, then went and collapsed just three decades later. The strength of a nation is to be found in the many little things it does for its people; the few big things it does to show off are just fluff on top.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on November 21, 2012 at 4:23 PM · Report this

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