Guardian – Beneath smoggy clouds in the Chinese mega-city of Chengdu, waves lap against sandy shores and a salty breeze blows across the beach. 6,000 holidaymakers look out on a glowing sunset, dining on platters of “the rarest oceanic fish species”, while a stage rises from the water, ready for the evening’s multimedia music spectacular. China‘s fourth largest city may be 620 miles from the coast, but that hasn’t stopped it having its own seaside – newly opened inside the biggest building in the world.
A 100m tall cliff-face of blue mirrored glass, stretching 500m along a triumphal plaza, the New Century Global Centre houses an entire seaside resort, along with a 14-screen Imax cinema, Olympic-sized ice rink, two five-star hotels and its own Mediterranean shopping village – all wrapped with a vast ribbon of offices. Sprawling for 1.7m square metres, it could fit 20 Sydney Opera Houses beneath its glass roof. It is declared by its creators to be “a landmark which commands the world and is looked upon by the world with respect,” a pleasure dome that Kubla Khan could only dream of.