Sebastien Blanc (2012, December 21). China is building a structure 20 times bigger than the Sydney Opera House. Business Insider.
A thousand kilometres from the nearest coast a towering glass wave rolls over the plains of Sichuan, the roof of what Chinese officials say will be the world’s largest standalone structure.
The 100-metre-high “New Century Global Centre” is a symbol of the spread of China’s boom, 500 metres long and 400 metres wide, with 1.7 million square metres of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses according to local authorities.
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.
The Global Centre is just a few kilometres from the US consulate where the police chief of Chongqing fled to seek asylum, triggering the fall of his patron Bo Xilai and exposing the biggest scandal to rock China’s Communist Party for years.
But it represents a different side of China, where lower costs and government subsidies are still fuelling double-digit growth in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.
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.”
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