When the sun is beating down so relentlessly on a scorched earth, blasting through what was once our ozone layer, we can rest assured there’s a place to watch the sunset without fears of instantaneous skin cancer: China’s New Century Global Center.
Did that come off a tad jaded? Sorry, we digress.
The New Century center is probably a very fine place; after all, Chinese authorities say it’s now the world’s largest building, or “standalone structure.”
Not the tallest, mind you, simply the man-made structure that occupies the most space.
You know, where the trees once stood. Sorry, again!
It’s a vast, wavy rectangular box of glass and steel that will house shops, offices and a water park with a huge LED screen for those aforementioned video sunsets.
The New Century center officially opened last month in Chengdu, in the southwest province of Sichuan, a city of 14 million people.
It has 19 million square feet of floor space, edging out the previous record-holder, the Dubai airport.
Here are some other jaw-dropping stats, courtesy the Associated Press, NBC and CNet:
- It’s as large as 329 football fields
- It’s 1,300 feet wide, 328 feet high
- The water park can accommodate 6,000 visitors – at once
- The largest video screen is nearly 500 feet wide
- It will contain not one, but a pair of 1,000-room, five-star hotels
- There’s a 14-screen Imax theatre and skating rink
- For your shopping pleasure, you’ll find a replica Mediterranean town
- It’s three-times larger than the Pentagon and could hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses inside
- It’s roughly the same size as Monaco
- It took three years to build
Oh, yeah, it has its own (fake) sunlight that also warms you.
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“We have borrowed a Japanese technique. There will be an artificial sun that will shine 24 hours a day and allow for a comfortable temperature,” guide Liu Xun told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Las Vegas casino owners take note.
Until now, Chengdu was known for its Foxconn factories churning out Apple products – and its world-class blanket of smog.
Now, the New Century project is a sign that China’s growth – what many believe is actually stagnant, but continues due to government money – might be spreading from the country’s more prosperous eastern and southern regions to the west.
Backed by local governments, the building will have offices, hotels, shops and an ocean park — all under one roof.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.
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