When Broad Sustainable Buildings (BSB) unveiled plans for a 220-story prefab tower—Sky City—that would not only surpass the Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest, but that would be built in just 90 days, the company drew excitement around the globe. But two years on, the project has floundered amid permitting issues and financial concerns. And as the Sky City foundations languish in Changsha, farmers in the region have taken over the site to dry grain, produce watermelons, and even establish a fish farm—all in plain view.
Sky City was—and arguably still is—supposed to be an energy efficient 838-meter tower that serves as a sustainable utopia, with apartments, office spaces, retail, organic farms, recreation spaces, schools and a hospital all contained within its glass walls. BSB broke ground on the project in 2013, but as delays took hold, weeds grew up around Sky City’s foundations, and rather symbolically around the foundation stone that had been triumphantly set down.
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So the residents of Changsha took the land back, in practical, if not formal regards. According to local media sources, the 2.6 hectares that are covered by Sky City’s foundations have filled with water and residents have established fish farms within the cement. One villager was quoted in the Xiaoxiang Chen Bao as having invested over 20,000 yuan in his business, stating “I raise fish on the construction site. It is not in secret, neither have I ever been stopped.”
On the ‘banks’ of the fish farm, other residents are growing watermelons, while the tarmac access roads built for the construction site are being used as a surface on which to dry grains. And as the Sky City foundations turn to farmland, BSB has successfully built other highly impressive prefab structures. But as for what will happen to Sky City itself, little is known.
Images via Xiaoxiang Chen Bao