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23 July 2024

Will really Sky City, China, overtake Dubai's Burj Khalifa by March 2013?

By Parag Deulgaonkar

Standing 838 metres high, 10 metres higher than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest tower, Sky City in Changsha, China, will be built in mere 90 days and completed by March 2013, according to media reports.

Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) Senior Vice-President Juliet Jiang told The Malay Mail that the company’s plan to construct the skyscraper “will go on as planned with the completion of five storeys a day.”

“We have not issued any press statement on this and it will go on as planned ... we have not said anything about 210 days,” Jiang said, adding they were still waiting for approval for the project from the Chinese government.

The tower, the company says, will be able to withstand earthquakes of up to 9.0 magnitude, will be fireproof resistant for up to three hours and have 10 fire escape routes for evacuation of a floor within 15 minutes during an emergency.

Sky City will also have 15cm thermal insulators, four paned windows, fresh air heat recovery system, non-electric air conditioners, cooling-heating power system and LED lighting.

Although the Malaysian newspaper did not report on when the project will be completed, Construction Week Online said the foundation work is expected to go ahead by the end of the month, while the planned three month construction period runs from the end of the year to the end of March 2013.

Sky City will use BSB modular technology which features 95 per cent factory prefabrication with a construction pace of five storeys a day. The projected cost is four billion yuan (Dh2.35 billion) and will be able to house 31,400 people. People will use 104 electricity-saving auto-power generated lifts in the 220 storey hi-rise.

BSB says the residential area will use 83 per cent of the building, while the rest will be offices, hospitals, restaurants, shops and schools. People will travel up and down using 104 high-speed elevators.

Last month at a meeting of the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in Shanghai, Adrian Smith, who worked on the design of Burj Khalifa and is currently working on the one-kilometre-high Kingdom Tower, Saudi Arabia, said that rapid urbanisation in China would fuel major expansion in tall buildings.

William Baker, a structural engineer at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill who worked with Adrian Smith on designing the system that allowed Burj Khalifa to be built, told theatlanticcities.com in September that the buttressed core design of Burj Khalifa can be used to build structures even taller than the world’s tallest tower.

“It’s totally feasible to build much taller than even the one-kilometre high Kingdom Tower, which is expected to be completed by mid-2017. We could easily do a kilometer. We could easily do a mile,” he said.

BSB, which has built 20 “modular” structures in China, showcased its construction abilities to a wider audience in January, when it constructed a 30-storey hotel in 15 days.

In July, Zhang Yue, Chief Executive Officer, Broad Sustainable Building, told a Reuters magazine that he plans build at a two-kilometre high, 636-floor tower.

Yue was quoted, saying: "One hundred per cent! Some say that it's sensationalism to construct such a tall building. That's not so. Land shortages are already a grave problem. There's also the very serious transportation issue. We must bring cities together and stretch for the sky in order to save cities and save the Earth."

In June, Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) Chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said the 1,000-metre high tall Kingdom Tower in Jeddah will be completed by mid-2017.

Following KHC announcement, an Azerbaijan company said it plans to build the tallest tower in the world, standing at 1,050 metres, surrounded by number of artificial islands and a Formula One racetrack. The project is likely to be completed between 2020 and 2025.

Burj Khalifa has 900 studios, one-, two-, three- and four-bedrooms, while the Armani Residences has 144 fully furnished private apartments. It offers luxurious recreational and leisure facilities including four swimming pools, an exclusive residents' lounge; health and wellness facilities; At.mosphere, the world's highest fine dining restaurant at level 122 and At the Top, the world's highest observatory deck, with an outdoor terrace on level 124.

Dubai is also home to three tallest residential towers in the world - the 414-metre Princess Tower, the 395-metre 23 Marina and the 381-metre Elite Residence. All the three towers have been completed and the handover process to unit owners has already commenced.

Earlier this year, Barclays Capitals Skyscraper Index report found an “unhealthy correlation” between the building of skyscrapers and impending financial crashes as “remarkably accurate”.

In January, Andrew Lawrence Director, Property Research, Asia Ex-Japan Equities, Barclays Capital, told ‘Emirates24|7’ that the index had not taken into account the Kingdom Tower as it only includes under construction towers, but on completion it will raise a concern over the country’s economic outlook 2016/17.

China is set to complete 53 per cent of the 124 skyscrapers under construction over the next six years. The country now has 75 completed skyscrapers above 240 metres in height.



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