Why Japan’s Great Pyramid of Giza Can’t be Built Until 2110


(I’m Kento Bento) This video is made possible by Skillshare. Home to over 23,000 classes
to teach you a new life skill. London. October, 1992. A Japanese man entered a
government building near Chancery Lane, and made his way up to an office on the first floor. This was the London branch of the UK’s Patent Office. You see, this man was there on behalf
of Japan’s renowned Shimizu Corporation, a leading architectural and engineering firm
that was and is among the top in the world and he was there to apply for a patent. Note, to secure their ideas globally it
was necessary to apply not just in Japan. Now this particular patent, was for no ordinary idea. It was for something grand, something spectacular. The idea was to build giant pyramids in the middle of some of the largest
and busiest urban centers in the world, starting with Tokyo. These infrastructures would be so large,
they could house entire cities. But why? What was this for? And who exactly is the Shimizu Corporation? To understand this, we need to go back in time, back over 200 years ago to the company’s inception. Edo, 1804. A carpenter, Kisuke Shimizu, founded
a company in the nation’s capital. Of course, today the capital’s
Tokyo, but back then it was Edo. Now this small company would go on
to build the western section of the
famed Edo Castle, part of the Imperial Palace, Japan’s first Western-style hotel, Japan’s first bank, and later on, Japan’s first nuclear reactor. The company lived through many
important moments in Japan’s history, including the arrival of US Commodore Matthew C. Perry, who forced Japan to open up its borders, the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the rise of Westernisation, the earthquakes, wars, bombings, the rapid economic development, the still-ongoing population decline, the Shimizu Corporation saw all that in their time. Now that last point however, is of particular interest, because Japan’s population
has been declining since 2010, and is expected to drop by two thirds
within the next hundred years. And this has been causing
all sorts of problems for the country, problems that have been shared
by almost all Japanese cities. Except for one. Tokyo. In fact, Tokyo, now the world’s largest
city, ironically has the opposite problem. It suffers from extreme
overcrowding and overpopulation. At 37 million residents, the Greater Tokyo Area is virtually the only place in Japan to see sustained population growth. This is mainly due to internal migration
from other parts of the country. The Shimizu Corporation, having been
headquartered in Tokyo since the Edo period, had witnessed this growth first hand, and overpopulation had resulted in
some increasingly worrying issues like overcapacity, overpricing, and just a general lack of space. Various solutions had been proposed over the years like
moving the elderly, or creating jobs outside of Tokyo, but The Shimizu Corporation
had something else in mind. By this point, they had built up their company to be one of the elite architectural, engineering and general contracting firms in the world, with successful, large-scale
construction projects under their belt. Note recently, they’ve been known
for their futuristic megaproject proposals like floating cities, underwater cities, desert canals and space hotels. So, with this level of ambition and innovation in mind, it wasn’t surprising to hear what
happened one evening in 1982. After a hard day’s work, a Shimizu
engineer decided to head out to watch a movie. This movie was Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, set in a dystopian future, where synthetic humans
are bio-engineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation, this, a cult classic. Now during the opening scene, two huge futuristic pyramidal megastructures were shown representing the headquarters of the Tyrell Corporation. The Shimizu engineer was completely
transfixed by this architectural marvel, and he was unable to get it out of his mind. The next day he shared this with his engineering colleagues at the Shimizu Corporation, and it thus became one of the main inspirations for their solution to Tokyo’s overpopulation problem, a giant pyramid that could hold an entire city’s population in one self-sufficient building. Ten years later, they found
themselves patenting this idea globally. Of course, this was a crazy idea, but it wasn’t the first time something like this had been done. Egypt. Around 2500 BC. A huge pyramid was constructed on the edge of the Sahara desert, during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu. This was the Great Pyramid of Giza,
and it was an architectural masterpiece. Having likely served as a burial chamber for
Khufu, it has withstood the test of time, being the only one of the Seven Wonders of the World
that has remained intact to this very day. Sure, other pyramids had been built throughout history,
but the one at Giza is the tallest of them all, and was even the tallest of all man-made
structures in the world for over 3800 years. Of course, The Great Pyramid of Giza is dwarfed
by many of the current metropolitan high-rises, but, if the Shimizu Corporation is able
to get its way, the Pyramids may rise again. The Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid, designed to combat
Tokyo’s overcrowding and overpopulation, would be so large it’d be over
14 times the height of Giza, and 2.5 times that of the Burj Khalifa,
currently the world’s tallest building though soon to be overtaken by the Jeddah Tower. This two kilometer-high structure would
consist of eight levels, each 250 meters high, and would house one million people. Wait, but where exactly in Tokyo
would you place this monstrosity? Tokyo’s already overcrowded
so it’s not like there’s room, the area covered would be the
equivalent of 18 Vatican Cities. Fortunately, Shimizu had designed the
pyramid to be built over suspect terrain like parkland, forests, rivers, and even large bodies of water, making it perfect for Tokyo Bay, really
the only vacant real estate in the area. 36 piers made of special concrete
would form the pyramid’s foundations, which would make this the first offshore city ever built. Now if you zoom up, you can see the structure isn’t actually just one dense block of concrete, but rather an exposed network of megatrusses, suspended skyscrapers, accelerated walkways, inclined elevators, and rapid transit systems
moving through hollow supports. The bottom four levels would house
commercial and residential spaces, while the top four would have
facilities for research and leisure, which means you can pack your stuff,
leave your home, travel afar, then check into your hotel at your holiday destination. All within the same building. Ok, maybe this sounds awesome, but what about
the pyramid’s effect on the environment? Well, the Mega-City will be powered by
renewable energy: solar, wind, and algae, yes algae, otherwise known as pond scum,
making use of the surrounding waters. Since algae is able to break up water
into hydrogen, with the help of sunlight, hydrogen fuel cells can be used to
convert the chemical energy into electricity, which means the most technologically
advanced city in humanity’s history will, in part, be powered by pond scum. But what about waves? Ocean swells generated by high winds also contain an enormous amount of energy, which could perhaps be reigned in using
specially-designed power generators, but for this reliability is an issue, because
waves get big, really big, especially in Japan. Generators can get wiped out, but even more concerning is what happens when a giant pyramid decides to get in the way of a giant tsunami. And what about earthquakes? Japan sits on top of the
seismically-active Pacific Ring of Fire, which means Tokyo isn’t exactly the best place to set up an experimental architectural megaproject housing the lives of one million inhabitants. But on the other hand if there’s one place that knows how to make buildings earthquake- and tsunami-proof, it’s Japan. And the Shimizu Corporation is
indeed well aware of the structural dangers, in fact, that’s why the Shimizu
Mega-City Pyramid is a pyramid. The pyramid shape is the most
stable design in structural engineering, which makes it particularly suitable for cities like Tokyo. And with the building not being
enclosed, fully open to the elements, any impact from wind or water
would be dramatically reduced. For typhoons in particular, it would be safer
to just let the winds blow right through. Now despite all that, the greatest danger
to the pyramid is actually the pyramid itself, more specifically its own weight. If one truss fails, well, there goes potentially the lives
of one million people just like that. In fact, the structure is so massive, so heavy, that it wouldn’t even be wise for
Shimizu to attempt its construction. Yes, the design had been flawed from the start, because in order for the pyramid to even
hold itself up, a special material was required, one vastly lighter, and a
thousand times stronger than steel. And currently, that technology isn’t available. But it will be available in the future, because advancements are already being made in the field, and it’s just a matter of time. Of course there are also other issues to contend with, such as the proposed price tag, and whether the easing of Tokyo’s overcrowding
would even be significant enough, but the Shimizu Corporation has made clear that
in considering all these potential issues, the proposed completion date of the
project would be around the year 2110. A city for the future. Indeed quite a while away, yet
unlike, say, the X-Seed 4000, another Tokyo megaproject
by the rivaling Taisei Corporation, it appears to not just be a
ploy to gain mainstream attention. Now if for whatever reason the
pyramid fails to become a reality in Tokyo, there are still other cities in the world
with massive overcrowding problems that would benefit from this concept. The Shimizu Corporation, after all, had
always intended for this technology to be exported. Imagine a Mega-City Pyramid in Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai or Dhaka. Life in the largest man-made structure in
history would be like a world within a world, a condensed, exciting, more
sophisticated version of the real world. This confinement would, to an extent, lead inevitably
to a certain level of autonomy within. Yet, unlike Hong Kong’s notoriously depraved Kowloon Walled City, another example of an extremely high-density enclave of a wider population, it would, from the start, be a place
that’s well-governed and ahead of its time, filled with forward-thinking people
from different backgrounds with different skills, joined together by technology
and a sense of community. And it’s not just the pyramid that this applies to, but Skillshare. Because Skillshare is the best place
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