The World in 2014
Signs in the sky
Jan 15th 2014, 11:30 by M.S.L.J.
THE state-owned developer of the Shanghai Tower, a 632-metre-tall building once rumoured to be opening in China this year (now more likely to throw open its doors in 2015), looks set to hire a leasing agent in order to fill the property with tenants. The step, reported in the Wall Street Journal, may be a sign that the developer is struggling to find tenants as China’s economy slows. Neither of the two most recent tall towers to open in the city, Shanghai World Financial Center in 2008, or Jin Mao Tower a decade before, used such an agent. They both had claims to be China’s loftiest buildings at their time of opening, as the new Shanghai Tower may too.
The title depends on the development of Sky City, however, a project in the interior city of Changsha. Intended to reach to 838 metres, Sky City would be ten metres taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world since its opening in 2010. Intentions to build the tower within a year have grabbed headlines, but many doubt that Sky City will see completion in 2014, thanks to bureaucratic delays and stop-start construction.
The World in 2014 ran a competition inviting readers to make a prediction for the year that might, just possibly, come true. Entrants also identified figures in a montage. Thomas Wedler was our winner, and his prediction concerns correlation between the construction of tall towers, economic crises and Chinese atrology, as seen below. Cassandra congratulates Mr Wedler, and thanks all those who entered for their ideas.
“The completion of the tallest building in Asia, and possibly the world, will herald the much anticipated popping of the Chinese property bubble—with a smallish bank-run thrown in for good measure. Much has been written about the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, the Petronas Towers, the Burj Khalifa and others spelling doom for their respective eras, so here is a new spin on these pessimistic types of prophecy.
Arthur Gensler’s firm, architects of the Shanghai Tower, was founded in 1965. According to Chinese astrology, this was the last time a year of the fire “Earthly Branch” occurred during the “Heavenly Stem” of wood. This coincided with the “Panic of 1965” in Hong Kong when Canton bank had to be bailed out after the real-estate bubble burst. The next such constellation? 2014, of course.”