China eyes April opening of world’s largest building
Ready capital, cheap labor, loads of ambition.
With these magic ingredients, China is in the midst of one of the most phenomenal national construction booms in history.
The latest symbol of the country’s “bigger is much, much better” ethos is the nearly completed New Century Global Centre, located in Chengdu (population 14 million), capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China.
At 500 meters long, 400 meters wide and 100 meters high, Chinese officials are calling the 1.7-million-square-meter mega-structure the largest freestanding building in the world, capable of housing 20 Sydney Opera houses and almost three times the size of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
The Global Centre will be home to business offices, hotels, theaters, high-end shopping malls, a faux Mediterranean village, family-themed attractions, university complexes and more.
The building has an explicit marine theme, from its rippling, wave-like roof to a 5,000-square-meter artificial beach, artificial sun and “seafront promenade” with seafood restaurants and other nautical attractions capable of accommodating 6,000 people, according to The Age.
“Ground was broken for the New Century Global Centre in 2010 and [the building] is estimated to open to the public next April,” said an anonymous officer from the Exhibition and Travel Group, the building’s developer, as reported in Sichuan Daily (link in Simplified Chinese only).
“The building will shoulder key responsibilities in the Fortune Global Forum and World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention, which are to be held in Chengdu next year,” the officer continued.
Various media, including The Age, have reported on masses of Chinese workers rushing to complete the building in time for the June 2013 global forum hosted by Fortune magazine.
The New Century Global Centre is located in an entirely new planned area called Tainfu New District. Chengdu is also currently expanding its subway line and plans to construct a new airport by 2020, further suggesting official ambitions to make the city an economic and cultural capital of western China.