Still no sighting of Wangcheng's 838m 'tallest tower'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 2:25am

Wangcheng, a small district outside the centre of Changsha in south-central China, has been in the limelight since last June, when a local developer announced plans to build an 838-metre earthquake-proof building there in record time.

Broad Group, a home-grown enterprise in Changsha, said the main structure would be completed in three months with the help of prefabricated steel-and-concrete blocks that can be hoisted into position. Subject to government approval, the building, taller than the 828-metre reigning world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, was expected to be built by January.

But a year has gone by since the plan was announced and there is no sign of the skyscraper. The site, which was to supposed to have been home to the 220-storey tower on the Daze Lake by now, is still a verdant expanse playing host to the cattle of local villagers instead.

Mainland media recently reported the building would break ground soon, though Broad Group denied it. The company has not provided any timetable so far.

Wang Jinyun, who works for a company that obtained a contract to build a main road in front of the proposed Sky City tower, said: "Construction work will begin in September and the target will be to complete construction by December."

The government still has safety concerns, Wang told the South China Morning Post in May, adding: "Come again in three months, you will see a big difference."

Bernard Lim Wan-fung, a professor at the Chinese University's school of architecture, said such a tall building would hardly be practical and would instead be a symbol of the aspiration and wealth of the city and the person making it.

"Imagine evacuating a building as tall as that in a orderly and timely manner in the event of emergencies such as fires or gas leaks. That would be a problem," Lim said.

Broad Group said Sky City would have total gross floor area of 1.2 million square metres, consisting of a 220-storey main building, four wing-buildings of three to seven storeys and a four-storey basement.

A Barclays Capital report last year, released before the Sky City plan was announced, said China, which has the most skyscrapers in the world, would complete 53 per cent of the 124 skyscrapers being built over the next six years.