Chinese Company Attempts to Make Pop-Up Cities a Reality

Friday, 20 March 2015 - 3:37PM
Weird Science
Friday, 20 March 2015 - 3:37PM
Chinese Company Attempts to Make Pop-Up Cities a Reality
When I hear the phrase "pop-up city," I think of inflatable bouncy houses the size of skyscrapers. But, this is cool too, I guess. A Chinese company called Broad Sustainable Building is working to make "instant" skyscrapers a reality, in the sense that they can build a fully functional hotel in a matter of hours, they recently built a 57-story building in a record 19 days, and they are planning to build the world's tallest skyscraper at a rate of five stories per day.

BSB's latest achievement is 57 stories high, 2 million square feet, and was built at a rate of three stories per day. It is composed entirely of Lego-like blocks, which are specifically designed to be energy-efficient. These modules allow for the incredible rate of construction, as it reduces the need for concrete and therefore the time concrete needs to harden. Architect Xian Min Zhang claims that the air is 99.9% pure as a result of the built-in air conditioning and the tight construction, and also that it will save literally tons of CO2 emissions as a result of its quadruple-pane glass.


Chinese Company Trying to Make Pop-Up Cities a Reality

[Credit: Xian Min Zhang]

Two years ago, BSB announced plans to build a 220-story skyscraper, called Sky City, in record time, at five floors per day. They intended it to be essentially a self-contained city, in which people could find everything they needed "from cradle to grave" without ever having to step outside. It has been delayed indefinitely, however, as a result of blowback from the media alleging that the building would be unsafe and possibly environmentally unsound. 

"In Sky City, you can find anything you need from cradle to grave, except a crematorium," BSB chairman Zhang Yue wrote in a public response to criticisms of Sky City. "I hope this striking feature can awaken those who have turned the livable cities into vehicle-dependent cities."

The advent of these self-contained cities could potentially be a positive development, as the location and tight quarters guarantee that it would be cheap to live there. Yue, for his part, intends for it to solve the middle-class housing problem. But, on the other hand, it could also lead to an ultra-segregated slum-like environment, a dystopian city comparable to Tom Hiddleston's High-Rise.

But would the building be safe? The "pure air" claim seems to be true, since the buildings are essentially bunkers that block out the pollution outside. But some engineers question whether the modules would be structurally sound in such a tall building, especially since other buildings made from prefabricated modules have had enormous trouble withstanding wind and other lateral forces as a result of their lack of a structural core. Others claim that the process of building would be dangerous in itself, because there would be so many people working at one time that BSB could not guarantee their safety in an emergency.

But, if these safety issues are worked out, this building and others like it could revolutionize the way we think about cities. Theoretically, these buildings could be disassembled as quickly as they are assembled, which would mean entire cities could be dismantled in just a few years (literally pop-up cities). And many environmentalists believe that urbanization, with the shared energy and the public transportation, is the future of clean living. For now, it's a moot point, as the plans for this city are on hold, but judging from their latest building, Sky City won't be too far behind.

Via Gizmodo.
Weird Science

Load Comments