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On the Horizon: Tianjin’s Goldin Finance 117. World Records and Skyscraper Trends
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Tianjin’s Goldin Finance 117:

World Records and Skyscraper Trends

By Richard J. Cook

WBT201510_160_On_the_Horizon_001_-_GoldinF2China is without a doubt the global centre for skyscraper construction. It may not boast the world’s tallest building but it does boast one of the tallest building projects in the world. From a historical perspective China has generally built big. All you have to do is look at the Forbidden City, the Great Wall etc. As with any nation experiencing rapid development, China must account for factors of urbanization like any other. However, in comparison to other experiences across the world, China obviously stands out with its population of about 1.4 billion. One of the current goals is to accommodate an extra 350 million people in urban zones by 2025, meaning there is an excessive demand to build tall. This figure does not account for the potential Jing-Jin-Ji super city project either, so this quantity requires a new and increased estimation. Up to 50,000 new skyscrapers are expected to be built between now and 2025.

Characteristics for modern urban building prestige are still largely Americanized, drawing from the influence of the Big Apple and early 20th century developments. Therefore, the taller the building the more national prestige goes the trend. This narrative is furthered by the likes of the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia and spans global dogma as far as North Korea’s Pyongyang Ryugyong Hotel, all again contemporary symbols of national prestige.

World Records and Diamonds

On September 8th the vast Goldin Finance 117 tower topped out at 1,957ft (597m) making it China’s ‘tallest structure’ and the second ‘tallest structure’ in the world in terms of the main structural size with 117 floors, second only to the Burji Khalifa in Dubai. However, due to technicalities it will not be the tallest in terms of ‘measurement to the tip’, upon its completion. But a small yet significant ceremony for the workers was held on the rooftop to mark a Guinness World Record achievement for having the world’s highest concrete pump.

The apex of the structure will be crowned in its entire splendor with a diamond like design magnifying its symbolic stature to the city. The diamond will house a luxury 6-star hotel with revolving restaurant and swimming pool, providing China’s highest viewing point. Early designs had four fin-shaped objects mounted as the roof but eventually this was dismissed. On a clear day, looking out west the structure can be seen from afar, surrounded by nothing similar in height meaning the true height of the tower appears taller.

Situated in the Huayuan Industry Park, soon to be referred to more commonly as the Goldin Central Business District, it will be surrounded by the full works. Goldin Finance 117 will be accompanied with two much smaller sister buildings referred to as the ‘Twins’ and all three structures will house a convention centre, entertainment centre, vast retail spaces and a notable artistic shopping mall that will house renowned international and domestic brands for the brand hungry Chinese consumers. Numerous high quality and spacious residential buildings will also surround the site, serving for the ever-growing international and high-end residential sector in Tianjin. The district will also feature China’s largest polo club with multiple first class polo facilities. The immediate area of the complex also contains a new university city, a vast technology park and residential zones – all modern Chinese urban development trends.

The project owner Goldin Properties Holdings Limited, a well renowned and successful group, is striving forward with its “Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Project” (The official name), expected to be finished next year. The group is a leading specialist in the mainland property market, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In 2007 the company began focusing on developing business properties. Due to the demands within the mainland economy it began targeting the high-end property margin. With the completion of the Glodin finance 117 project next year, the group is preparing to further expand its quality developments to other major cities around China. However, slowing market factors may well influence a more cautious approach.

WBT201510_160_On_the_Horizon_003_-_003Other associate project groups involved in the project are the well known and established Arup Group, P & T Group and East China Architectural Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd (ECADI). Goldin Finance 117 making the international headlines is expected to further demonstrate that these companies are at the apex of structural engineering and architectural design.

Plain Sailing?

Despite the symbolism and the glorification of the structure, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Proposed in 2008 construction began in 2009 but then stalled two years later due to undisclosed postponements. Just recently there was an incident in which local fire services were dispatched to the site to tackle what was thought to be a blaze halfway up the structure. It will come as a relief to note that the building is aiming to achieve a LEED Platinum certification suggesting that the project will have considerable green properties, although the construction company has yet to release sourceable information about these features. Aside from this, international commentators have bizarrely branded the structure as a ‘walking stick,’ stating that the tower has a fairly simplistic look about it. On the other hand, onlookers have preferred to reference its symbolism and have hinted at the excitement for what the project can do for the regeneration of Tianjin’s western side.


Economic Hierarchy and the Skyscraper

As mentioned at the start, skyscrapers are a factor of developmental demand and a factor of international prestige. They act as a milestone for increasing international economic authority and more importantly economic hierarchy. We are in the midst of a global skyscraper race and new economic powers are playing the game. Building tall to supply urban density for urbanization demand may well be the primary point, but there is an added aesthetic these days. Tianjin is in the epicentre of global economic multi-polar discord and is jostling for its place at the top. To be a part of the global economic hierarchy it needs to have an aesthetic edge and an element of height to supply demand. As far as geo-economics goes, Tianjin already occupies the most significant position in northern China, being the primary port for the capital Beijing. Goldin Finance 117 represents all these modern, local, regional and international principles whilst promoting the ‘economic brand of Tianjin’.


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