The Prefabricated Skyscraper Revolution Could Be Near

Pop-up skyscrapers constructed using pre-assembled pieces could forever change the way we perceive city planning and construction.

Here's a really neat article authored by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan for Gizmodo about what may very well be the future of skyscraper construction. In the piece, Campbell-Dollaghan describes the process of rapid construction pioneered by a company in China called Broad Sustainable Building Co. You know how when you purchase a piece of furniture from IKEA and it's already got the necessary holes drilled and measurements taken? Or perhaps even a better comparison: Lego sets that arrive with instructions so all you have to do is snap everything into place. That's the sort of thing we're looking at here except instead of coffee tables or spaceships, we're talking 57-story towers constructed in less than three weeks.


"Broad buildings are born on a factory floor. Their floors, ceilings, and walls are assembled almost entirely inside its warehouses, right down to floor tiles, plumbing, electrical wiring and air conditioning vents that are normally installed while a building is under construction. These components are stacked and loaded onto trucks, which transport them to the site.

The only work done in the field is lifting the floors into place and bolting them together. Construction crews prepare the building site by laying the foundation incredibly fast. 'No sawing or welding is required,' says the company, 'reducing the time spent, and noise and traffic disruption to neighboring communities.'"

While Broad boasts that these pop-up buildings are both safe and sustainable, Campbell-Dollaghan writes that there are doubts as to whether they'd hold up in an emergency. Yet if Broad ends up vindicated, we could be looking at a revolutionary new mode for city construction. In theory, writes Campbell-Dollaghan, this system could be used to construct and disassemble entire cities in a matter of years. 

Read more at Gizmodo.

Photo credit: Alexander A.Trofimov / Shutterstock

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