guangzhou’s tallest building

In Yuexiu Park there is an old drum tower which is most of what remains of the once city-encircling walls. Inside is a brief pictorial history dating back as far as the great opium-trading days and European concessions, and then further back into the past of what is an almost 2000 year old trade centre. Unlike Beijing and Shanghai, or even more archaeologically fashionable suburbs like the three gorges, it’s pretty hard to find much written on the most important southern city in China.

The ground floor of the tower is devoted to a monolithic diorama of the city, remarkably detailed in it’s minor roads and topography. What was always the joke of the entire place though was Tian He. The new city is dominated in the real world by the 90 storey 中国电信, China Telecom building, affectionately known by local Star Trek fans as the Borg Cube. The diorama though, rigorously accurate in all other areas, did not feature the Borg Cube as the tallest building, instead further south near the river was a laughably monstrous black tower, a Jeff Stryker dildo planted splat in the middle of downtown.

Except now the joke is on us. News of the day is that Guangzhou plans to build a 600 meter skyscraper right on this site, and while the news is ricocheting around the internet with all usual breathless haste, every Guangzhou local it seems, who goes to Yuexiu Park has known about it for years. China Daily makes background noise out of what is a essentially a vanity project in a city littered with derelict and unfinished 30+ storey buildings, emblematic of the rampant corruption, short-sightedness, and vacuous lack of town planning.

Construction of a television tower that is claimed to be the world’s tallest TV tower is due to start in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province next month.

This landmark tower, which could be up to 600 metres high, is expected to be a new tourist attraction, competing with the 320-metre-high Eiffel Tower in Paris and the 468-metre-high Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower in Shanghai.

The Guangzhou municipal government is currently busy selecting a design from three foreign companies that have entered the final round of competition, according to Huang Jiatian, deputy director of the General Office under the Headquarters for the Construction of Guangzhou New TV Tower.

A total of 13 domestic and overseas companies have participated in the public bidding for the design of this massive project, said Huang.

The final three companies come from Germany, Britain and France.

All three designs for the new TV tower require the project to reach between 580 metres and 600 metres, becoming the world’s tallest TV tower.

Located on the banks of the Pearl River in Guangzhou’s Tianhe District, the new TV tower will reach a construction floor space of 100,800 square metres. And it will occupy a ground area of 84,880 square metres in Guangzhou’s premier business district.

About 200 families will have to move away from the site, Huang said.

The Guangzhou municipal government has agreed to pay compensation to most people living in the area and relocation work have already started.