China Erects 15 Story Hotel in Less Than 6 Days! (video)

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Chinese Build Hotel in Six Days

The Ark Hotel's internal structure went up in just 48 hours!

There are many ways to get your message out to people, but one of the most impressive has to be making a building magically appear in less than a week. China's Broad Group wanted to showcase the speed and efficiency of its new construction technology, so it constructed the Ark Hotel in Changsha in record time. A team of 200 workers erected the 15 story internal structure in just 46.5 hours! External construction took another 90 hours, for a total of less than 6 days. According to Broad, the hotel is built to withstand a 9.0 earthquake while using one sixth the material and costing 20% less. They plan on constructing 15 similar structures in China and 30 more abroad. If successful, this could create a new wave of innovation in industrial construction. Watch the building of the Ark in the time lapse video below. Can you imagine leaving home for a week only to return and find a hotel in your neighborhood has sprung up out of nowhere?

As you can see in the video, Broad is cheating a little. The foundation and other ground construction was completed before main construction was timed. Also, the building is constructed from prefabricated parts which were manufactured off site and likely took weeks to fully produce. Still, even though there are hidden temporal costs, the sheer speed of the building's assembly is amazing!

However, speed is only one of the features that Broad is promoting with the construction of the Ark Hotel. The Chinese company is also out to prove that their buildings are simply better - for construction crews, the environment, and residents. Broad has tested its construction methods and claims they can stand up to an earthquake that measures 9.0 on the Richter Scale. If true, the Ark Hotel is a pretty hearty structure. Despite the speedy build time, no workers were injured in the Ark's assembly. The building itself uses one sixth the materials of a comparable facility with 15 stories and 600 square meters per floor (~5500 square feet). Waste generated by construction was only 1% of the total weight, not including waste generated during prefabrication. Ark Hotel was built to be extremely energy efficient with 15cm thermal insulation, triple pane windows, external solar shading, fresh air heat recovery, and LED lighting. Broad claims that it is roughly five times more energy efficient than similar structures. The air inside the building is supposedly 20 times cleaner than the outside thanks to a triple purification process.

These features of Broad's construction methods were more clearly showcased in the pavilion they built for the massive Shanghai World Expo 2010. The majority of that construction was accomplished in just one day! In the video below, you'll see the Broad Pavilion going up in 24 hours, as well as some closer looks at the various energy saving and environmentally friendly techniques.

Of all of the advantages to Broad's streamlined construction techniques, the one I'd be most excited about would actually be the air quality control. No sooner had the Shanghai Expo ended than China stopped tightly controlling air pollution in the area. The result was a massive upswing in air pollution. Suddenly that "20 times air purification" doesn't sound like nearly enough.

No matter which features of the Ark Hotel and Broad Pavilion appeal to you, it's clear that China has hit upon some innovative methods to improve their industrial construction. None of these techniques are really new, but Broad has placed them all in one place, and shown them off with spectacular building speed. That speed could be a selling point, but I think it's the improvements in efficiency and safety that will really impact people around the world. We already have the means to overhaul our buildings and improve energy efficiency, but it may take projects like the Ark Hotel to convince developers to invest the money needed to proceed with these new types of construction.

It should be illuminating to see if Broad actually manages to build another 45 such structures in China and elsewhere. A hotel going up in a week is cool, but if it doesn't lead to some real change in the way we house humanity, it's little more than a publicity stunt. As the global population continues to grow exponentially, and increasingly become urban, we will need efficient and quick means to produce new residential and commercial spaces. Broad's methods are promising. I hope they lead to improvements that will be as helpful as their demonstrations have been spectacular.

[screen capture and video credits: DifferentEnergy]
[sources: Broad (CN)]

Discussion — 18 Responses

  • Kurt_johnson January 25, 2011 on 6:38 pm

    It fell aprat on Day 7!

  • Kurt_johnson January 25, 2011 on 6:39 pm

    Fell APART!

  • Kurt_johnson January 25, 2011 on 6:40 pm

    It fell APART on the 7th Day!

  • Anonymous January 25, 2011 on 9:50 pm

    lego much? 🙂

  • Rob Mason January 25, 2011 on 9:51 pm

    The global population is not growing exponentially; the rate of increase is falling exponentially.

    • Jbradley Rob Mason January 25, 2011 on 9:59 pm

      I was going to mention that too he got a bit carried away with describing things as exponential when population is projected to top out at about 9 billon in 2050 if I’m not mistaken.

  • Rob Mason January 25, 2011 on 9:59 pm

    Its about time. Building is infuriatingly conservative. Developments in materials and factory automation made building worth doing this way some time ago. Further developments in materials, techniques and automation will make this the norm in developed countries in five years by which time replacing obsolescent buildings will be worthwhile too and the proportion of obsolescent buildings will then soar because replacing them will be progressively a no-brainer.

  • Anonymous January 26, 2011 on 1:41 pm

    Almost two decades ago; I joined a school, down the street from this school a 6 story apartment complex was being built. It took three years…

    • Hywel January 26, 2011 on 6:33 pm

      this looks like the crap they built across Britain in the 1960s

      • Chrisk826 Hywel January 27, 2011 on 8:49 pm

        I’d have to agree; I’m not a fan of the apperance of the final product, but the complexity of the design potentials will increase as this type of construction catches on.

  • Jamesroussel January 29, 2011 on 4:45 pm

    Government regulation would not allow us to but it that fast. We have thousands of rule and regulations and inspections to follow. You need to see the 10,000 page code book.

  • Anonymous February 1, 2011 on 12:49 pm

    Five years of the time replace the old buildings will be useful for the share of obsolete buildings will then increase as replace gradually become obvious.

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  • Dave1234 February 3, 2011 on 3:24 am

    This is exactly what you can do when you have an underpaid over-explioted workforce.

    • Argus Dave1234 February 3, 2011 on 11:10 am

      Sounds great for a whole load of third-world countries. Haiti anyone?

  • Peter February 5, 2011 on 3:02 am

    If this can survive a Magnitude 9 earthquake, I suppose it can also survive a large meteor impact and a nuclear blast (not necessarily simultaneously)…….

  • Guest February 5, 2011 on 7:36 am

    I think the scary part about this is that the 20x indoor purification points to a position where China’s strategy is to ignore outdoor pollution and is addressing it through employing air pollution in their indoor environments. The air pollution is so bad in Shanghai it feels like breathing water.

  • Hakan Kirkan May 10, 2013 on 10:11 am