China continues to live up to its larger-than-life reputation with its most extravagant new opening: a gargantuan mega-structure that could contain 20 Sydney Opera Houses.
The New Century Global Center in Chengdu (population 14 million), capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China, isn’t a skyscraper, but it sprawls to almost three times the size of the Pentagon—it’s 1.7 million square meters of pure consumerism.
The building also contains more trees than the Pentagon—the "Paradise Island" waterpark inside features palm trees aplenty on its mock beach, which blasts visitors with an ersatz sea breeze intended to "make one intoxicated, as if he were enjoying himself in the fabulous heaven."
The building, “themed with a comprehensive and profound oceanic culture and inspired by the design concept of sailing seagulls and undulating waves,” also contains an IMAX cinema, luxury shopping malls, offices, hotels, a university complex, a pirate ship (yep, a pirate ship), a skating rink, and an entire faux Mediterranean village, among other features.
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Declared the "largest freestanding building in the world" by Chinese officials, the Global Center is located in an entirely new planned area of Chengdu called Tainfu New District. The center is a city unto itself, "where recreation has become to core value of modern business concepts and business will become a way of life," according to the promotional video.
The building opened June 28, and is part of a larger, ongoing initiative to transform Chengdu into an economic and cultural hub in western China. The capital hosted the 2013 Fortune Global Forum, and announced a GDP of around $130.5 billion at the end of 2012. An expanded subway line and a new airport are expected in the city by 2020.
Photo credits: all photos courtesy of Exhibition & Travel Group