At the beginning of February, construction workers gathered at a sparse building site in the city of Changsha, south-central China.
A little under three weeks later, a 57-story skyscraper stood on the very same the spot.
The “Mini Sky City” tower is the work of Broad Sustainable Building, a Chinese firm that specializes in prefabricated construction.
By preparing more than 2,700 modules in a factory for four months before site work began, BSB says it was able to assemble the structure at the rate of three stories per day — like a giant vertical jigsaw pieced together from a minutely detailed set of instructions.
A timelapse video of construction went viral on Chinese websites before finding its way onto many western news sites and broadcast media at the beginning of May.
To put the pace of BSB’s construction into context, it took almost five years to build London’s 37-story Walkie Talkie building which opened in August 2014.
Although some may point out that the Changsha tower is less architecturally distinct than the likes of the 20 Fenchurch Street (the official name of the Walkie Talkie), the Chinese skyscraper remains a considerable structure with more than 800 apartments and office space for 4,000 workers.
The first 20 floors of Mini Sky City were already completed at the end of 2014 before construction was delayed, BSB’s senior vice president Juliet Jiang told CNN by email. […]