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BEIJING — A fierce fire engulfed one of the Chinese capital’s most architecturally celebrated modern buildings on Monday, the last day of festivities for the Lunar New Year when the city was ablaze with fireworks. Skip to next paragraph Multimedia Back Story With The Times's Andrew Jacobs By late evening the blaze was still raging and the cause remained unknown, but it seemed clear that the 34-story structure, not yet completed, had been rendered unusable. The building, a luxury hotel and cultural complex designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, is part of China Central Television’s new headquarters, an angular behemoth built to coincide with the Beijing Olympics last year. The structure consists of two slanting towers that are joined by spans at the top and bottom. Firefighters, their ladders only reaching up a dozen or so floors, could do little to contain the blaze, a spectacular wall of flames eerily reflected in the glass skin of the adjacent CCTV tower. The CCTV complex was an expensive trophy of the pre-Olympics building boom, the result of many billions of dollars that the Communist Party had devoted to making Beijing a city of the future. The main CCTV tower appeared untouched by the fire. The 241-room Mandarin Oriental hotel, which had been due to open this summer, was unoccupied at the time, hotel executives said.
Originally posted by leisuredrummer
I am seriously confused as to why this story hasn't gotten more attention on ATS.
Originally posted by Seymour Butz
You wanna know who's even MORE confused?
The building isn't steel, as the thread title states.
It's reinforced concrete.
Groundbreaking for construction of the World Trade Center took place on August 5, 1966. Tower One, standing 1368 feet high, was completed in 1970, and Tower Two, at 1362 feet high, was completed in 1972. The structural design for the World Trade Center Towers was done by Skilling, Helle, Christiansen and Robertson. It was designed as a tube building that included a perimeter moment-resisting frame consisting of steel columns spaced on 39-inch centers. The load carrying system was designed so that the steel facade would resist lateral and gravity forces and the interior concrete core would carry only gravity loads.
Twin Towers Engineered To Withstand Jet Collision
By Eric Nalder
Engineers had to consider every peril they could imagine when they designed the World Trade Center three decades ago because, at the time, the twin towers were of unprecedented size for structures made of steel and glass.
"We looked at every possible thing we could think of that could happen to the buildings, even to the extent of an airplane hitting the side," said John Skilling, head structural engineer. "However, back in those days people didn't think about terrorists very much."
Skilling, based in Seattle, is among the world's top structural engineers. He is responsible for much of Seattle's downtown skyline and for several of the world's tallest structures, including the Trade Center.
Concerned because of a case where an airplane hit the Empire State Building, Skilling's people did an analysis that showed the towers would withstand the impact of a Boeing 707.
"Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed," he said. "The building structure would still be there."
Skilling - a recognized expert in tall buildings - doesn't think a single 200-pound car bomb would topple or do major structural damage to a Trade Center tower. The supporting columns are closely spaced and even if several were disabled, the others would carry the load.
"However," he added, "I'm not saying that properly applied explosives - shaped explosives - of that magnitude could not do a tremendous amount of damage."
He took note of the fact that smoke and fire spread throughout the building yesterday. He said that is possibly because the pressurizing system that stops the spread of smoke didn't work when the electric power went off. Skilling, 72, was not involved in the design of the building mechanics.
Although Skilling is not an explosives expert, he says there are people who do know enough about building demolition to bring a structure like the Trade Center down.
"I would imagine that if you took the top expert in that type of work and gave him the assignment of bringing these buildings down with explosives, I would bet that he could do it."
Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.