Towering 101 floors high and a staggering 492m tall, Shanghai's World Financial Center is a gleaming symbol of China’s rapid rise to power. It will take almost a decade to complete this record breaking project. The result - a sleek tower of glass, steel and concrete stretching high into the sky.
But this mega skyscraper is not just about appearances. It needed to be strong enough to stand up to the most extreme forces of nature – killer typhoons, powerful earthquakes and a new and even deadlier human threat as the building's designers and engineers considered the possibility of a 9/11 type disaster.
Construction of the Shanghai World Financial Center has been no easy task. In the late 1990’s the project came to a standstill due to the Asian Financial Crisis. Construction did not resume until 2003. Problems occurred once more when the developers decided, once construction had already begun, to increase the height of the building. Finally, protests from the Chinese public also forced the redesign of the wind hole at the top of the building.
In Beijing a building like no other has emerged. It is a bold experiment in architecture and a cutting-edge vision of construction engineering. When Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympics the eyes of the world will be riveted on this building.
Its official name is the National Swimming Centre but in the world of mega-architecture it is reverently known as the Water Cube. It’s a brilliant fantasia of steel and plastic – a honeycomb of fifty six miles (ninety kilometers) of steel framework, supporting pillows of high tech plastic inflated onto shimmering translucent bubbles.
We go behind the scenes to learn more about the vision behind a building destined to become one this century’s leading architectural feats.
Chinese technology, imagination, confidence and sheer tenacity have resulted in some of the world's most startling buildings. The Yangshan Deep Water Port is the latest to join a remarkable list of engineering and architectural achievements that underpin China's rapid economic growth.
Built on a four square mile (ten square kilometres) stretch of reclaimed island in the Yangtze-Changxing Island near Shanghai and located eighteen miles (thirty kilometres) out to sea, Yangshan Deep Water Port is linked to mainland China by the world's second longest ocean bridge.
Although still under construction the port's massive cranes, cutting edge control systems using state of the art technology and focussed personnel are already shattering records for loading and unloading gigantic container ships.
Yangshan aims to be of one of the most high-tech container ports in the world. Using CGI we show how a fully automated port identifies, unloads and sorts containers on the waterfront. Using time lapse, we record this complex manoeuvre as one of the biggest container ships ever to visit Shanghai arrives, docks and is unloaded at the new Yangshan Deep Water Port.
The first stage of the port opened in December 2005. When completed, China's ultimate port will be able to handle 25 million containers a year - that's 70,000 containers every day.