Zhang Yue, a Chinese entrepreneur has revolutionised the building industry with his use of modular construction. Modular construction is a process in which a building is constructed off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities – but in about half the time. Yue and Chinese architecture company, Broad Sustainable Building, utilised this method and created a 57-story skyscraper in just 19 days.
It is called the Mini Sky City and averaged a production rate of around three floors per day. However, as the name implies, the ‘Mini’ Sky City is just the beginning, with the Broad Group wanting to build the tallest building in the world. It will be called Sky City and stand a full 220 stories high. Using the modular construction method, Yue predicts the build should only take about seven months. When you contrast that to the five years it took to build the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, it could pave the way for a phenomenal amount of skyscrapers to be built all over the world.
Modular design isn’t a completely new concept and has been used most recognisably in a smaller scale with companies such as Ikea. Broad Group’s skyscrapers have been described as “like the Ikea Sofas of construction”. The Mini Sky City was assembled from thousands of factory-made steel modules which are then snapped into place in a ‘Tetris’ style manner. It is a method that is not only fast, but safe and cheap.