A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Changsha, Hunan Province on Saturday for a building that is intended to set a new record for the world's tallest.
When complete, Sky City, designed by the Chinese firm Broad Sustainable Building (BSB), will be the tallest building in the world, with 202 floors above ground and a total height of 838 meters, making it taller than the 162-story Burj Khalifa in Dubai by 10 meters, currently the tallest building in the world, the Changsha-based Xiaoxiang Morning Herald reported.
Sky City has a planned construction time of only 10 months, leading people to voice skepticism about both the quality and safety of the building, and of the overall capital construction costs compared to other skyscrapers.
The China Construction Fifth Engineering Division Corporation signed the 5.25 billion yuan ($858 million) contract with BSB to develop Sky City Thursday.
The total cost of the building has been set to be about 9 billion yuan.
The Burj Khalifa took five years to build, and construction on the 632-meter Shanghai Tower, currently the tallest skyscraper in China, has been ongoing for three years. It is slated to be finished in 2014.
As for cost comparisons, the Burj Khalifa's has been estimated at $1.5 billion and the Shanghai Tower is projected to cost 14.8 billion yuan.
In addition, BSB faces questions over whether its steel framework is safe and stable enough to build the 838-meter ultrahigh building.
Experts from Hubei Housing and Urban-Rural Development Department held a review meeting over BSB's steel framework in October last year, and said that they believe that this type of steel framework can only be used for buildings lower than 100 meters tall.
The People's Daily criticized the blind worship for ultrahigh skyscrapers via its official Sina Weibo account, and pointed out that the landscape that corresponds to the character and function of a city should not be related to being shortsighted about urban development and also to planning image projects.
"The trend of building skyscrapers is partially due to the encouragement of local governments that want to get good performance ratings, and is also a show of strength from companies," said Sheng Guangyao, assistant researcher at the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies, under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.