Just kidding; but sometimes you wonder at what point the limits of material science, economics, or plain old aesthetics begins to put a brake on the fantastical building projects in China. A recent post (Now That’s Stretch Goal!) focused on the building of the world’s tallest building in record time. Recently, the world’s longest bullet train line opened, the 1,425-mile high-speed rail system runs from Beijing to Guangzhou.
Not to be outdone, Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is building the New Century Global Centre. It will be the world’s largest standalone structure at 100 metres high, 500 metres long and 400 metres wide, and with 1.7 million square metres of floor space. By comparison the Pentagon in Washington — still one of the world’s largest office buildings — is barely a third of the size with a mere 600,000 square metres of floor space.
(Note: just as with the “world’s tallest building” title, the “world’s largest enclosed space” title is probably a mess of qualifiers. For example, the Boeing aircraft assembly building in Everett Washington encloses almost 13.4 million cubic meters whereas its floor space is “only” 400,000 square meters. In terms of floor space, the New Century will indeed lead the pack, besting Mecca’s Abraj Al Bait Towers’ 1.5 million square feet of floor space. Target’s warehouse, also in Washington state, is runner-up in enclosed space at 7.43 million cubic meters.)
The city of 14 million people plans to expand its subway from two lines to 10 by 2020, build a new airport and become a new Silicon Valley.
The Global Centre will house offices, conference rooms, a university complex, two commercial centres, two five-star hotels, an IMAX cinema, a “Mediterranean village”, a skating rink and a pirate ship, among other attractions. About 400,000 square metres will be devoted to shopping, most of the outlets high-end luxury brands.
Despite Chengdu being around 1,000 kilometres from the sea the complex has a marine theme, with fountains, a huge water park and an artificial beach, accented by the undulating roof, meant to resemble a wave.
“This is an ocean city built by man,” said guide Liu Xun. “There will be 1,000 rooms (in the hotel) and all will have seaside views.”
The thick smog that normally blankets Chengdu risks making it a sunless sea, but visitors will not need to worry about that, she said.
“We have borrowed a Japanese technique. There will be an artificial sun that will shine 24 hours a day and allow for a comfortable temperature,” Liu said. The system uses specialised lighting technology that heats as well as illuminates.
The centrepiece will be a 5,000 square metre artificial beach, to include a rafting course and a “seafront” promenade, complete with parasols and seafood outlets that can accommodate 6,000 people. A giant screen 150 metres long and 40 high will form the horizon and offer sunrises and sunsets, accompanied by nautical breezes.