Aphelos, the building that will house Elon Musk’s SpaceX company in a hangar in a city in South America, is built from concrete and aluminium in a style that is almost unrecognisable from the concrete structures that dominate Dubai and the rest of the Middle East.
The structure is called the “world’s fastest building” by a German engineer who has been building the building for two years and it’s now almost certain to break the world record.
“It’s a really big challenge because it’s built with the same materials, same materials and the same engineering as Dubai, but the engineering is not as strong,” said Dr Jürgen Baumann, a German architect.
“That’s why we are building it so fast.”
“The problem is that it’s not a concrete building,” Dr Baumann said.
“You have to build with steel instead of concrete.”
Mr Musk’s company is building the massive, 40-storey tower on a property that was already used for a golf course and for other uses, including for luxury hotels.
But building a building that is so fast and tall was not an option, and it took several months of negotiations to make the deal happen.
“We didn’t want to use a hotel, because we have to be in a place that can withstand the earthquake,” Mr Musk said.
The project took five months to complete, and cost $50 million to build.
“When you’re talking about a building of this scale, you need a lot of space,” Dr Beumann said, explaining that it took a team of engineers to design and build the building.
“With the size of Aphelus, we wanted to use it as a place for high-speed manufacturing, not for the touristy hotels.”
The structure has to be built on a small plot of land that was then leased to SpaceX to build the rocket.
“The project is in the hands of SpaceX, but we need to find a partner for the financing,” Dr Jügen Bauman said.
In the US, Mr Musk is building an underground space park and a large hotel tower in California’s Mojave Desert.
The company also has plans to build a high-end hotel in Dubai.
“This project is also about to change our future,” Dr. Baumann told Wired.
“I am convinced that if we can build a building like this, we will be able to change the future of building in this country.”