China is without a doubt the skyscraper boom country of the world. One of the many cities that is riding this zeitgeist of tall building growth is Zhengzhou with its Zhengdong Newtown master-plan.
The master-plan for the city is ambitious to say the least. Designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa, the aim is to create a city of 1.5 million people orientated around a massive loop that will host the central CDB, almost a Plan Voisin come to life.
Looking like a science fiction version of Atlantis, this utopian vision will be ringed with dozens of skyscrapers occupying the middle area of the 5,040 hectare scheme with the centrepiece being a massive new television tower set in parkland that has growing in it some 200 different varieties of plants, all found locally.
The TV Tower comes in at a whopping 388 metres in height. It has a central blue glass core rising out of a decorative circular podium with vine-like crossbracing wrapped around it that tapers in to the head. The crown of the tower will have public viewing platforms in it plus technical levels for the television mast that towers above it.
This will be complimented by the Henan Art Centre, a complex of five domes that would make Buckminster Fuller proud. They will be separated into two groups down a central axis of sweeping glass arcs and atriums surrounded by a generous amount of public space.
That said, Zhengzhou is not turning out half as Atlantian as it could have been. Amongst the projects that were turned down for the city include a 360 metre tall glass pyramid called the New Zhengzhou Hotel that if built it would have had 68 floors above ground. Although eventually reduced to make it more commercially viable in the hope that the project would be able to proceed, the scheme was not realised.
At the heart of this is the geographical location of Zhengzhou that has it in a rather remote area of China that whilst experiencing an economic boom is so far behind the likes of Shanghai and Shenzen.
Despite being second league and somewhere most westerners will never have heard of, the boom still puts most places in the world to shame and throws into sharp relief just what China is doing as almost a world unto itself.