China To Erect Tallest Skyscraper In 90 Days? Not So Fast
It's hard not to be impressed by this 2011 video of a 15-storey tower going up in China in just 30 days. Ignore the pompous music and marvel at the night-becomes-day pace. The trick, if you can call it that, lies in the prefabrication of steel-and-concrete blocks that can be hoisted into position, just as bricks form a wall. Think Lego meets PC. Modular buildings aren't new, but the technique wasn't seen as applicable to skyscrapers until Broad Sustainable Building entered the picture. Based in Changsha, central China, Broad ('Yuanda') is known for making giant air-con systems; its founder and CEO Zhang Yue has built an estimated fortune of $860 million. In 2008, Zhang began experimenting with prefab construction that he says makes for buildings that are cheaper to build and consume less concrete and water. Architects have taken note of Broad's innovative approach rather than its aesthetics: the buildings are barely distinguishable from others in China's drab cityscapes. Zhang is a self-taught engineer, not an architect, and it shows.