China impresses with having many biggest, fastest, longest… all the superlative feats you can imagine. It is the country with the largest population. It not an overstatement to say that China is probably the oldest continuous civilization on earth. The world’s longest bridge, opened in June 2011 spans 165 kilometers. That is the is the Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge, along which the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway runs. Financially, China has amassed the largest foreign reserves in s short few decades. On the negative side, there are many to name too. Infamously, it has the most polluted cities in the world.
It is good, and feels good to be on the top of the peck all the time, so long as the accolade gained is for good and meaningful acts or feats. It is fantastic to be competitive, as long as losing is taken gentlemanly in its proper stride. Sometimes we lose or fail. Failure per se is not a disaster. Failure is a key to success. Hence, while the adrenalin is flowing, striving for the best is a noble ambition.
China has just completed another technological feat. Try building a 57-storey skyscraper in 19 days. Some would say that’s impossible. But China did it, defying skeptics once again. A time-lapsed video (watch here) in an article reported in Sploid says:
This building has 19 10-meter-high atriums, 800 apartments, and office space for 4,000 people. Zhang claims that the use of modules reduced the use of concrete by 15,000 trucks, which he says almost eliminated all the release of dust in the air, an important advantage in pollution-ridden China. Talking about pollution: He claims that all of the air inside is 99.9% pure thanks to the tight construction and built-in air conditioning system. The building has quadruple-pane glass and, he says, is so energy efficient it will save 12,000 tons of CO2 emission compared to a building of the same size and use.
The building is a witness to this marvelous engineering feat. Only China can undertake a 24-hour non stop construction program supported by endless labour supply. There are serious concerns in this feat though. The pace of construction does not permit rigorous supervision and safety enforcement. In striving to be the fastest, lapses of safety attention is highly probable. One inconspicuous oversight may be the Achilles heel of the structural soundness the building. A few loose bolts and nuts is all that you need to render the structure unsound.
In the 19 gruelling days and nights, can the construction team be assured that the building’s safety is not compromised. Nobody knows, especially in a country that is known for corruption and disregard for human safety. Winning and “face” matters more than life. The brave ones can make the edifice their home or office. Still, there remains some queasy feel about this miracle structure.
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.