[22 Jan 2012, Colombo, Dhaneshi Yatawara-Sunday Observer]
Standing a massive 350 metres tall on the banks of the beautified Beira Lake, the Lotus tower would definitely make this paradise isle more stunning. This, the world’s nineteenth tallest building started its construction work last week. This multi-functional tele communication tower and Entertainment Centre is the brainchild of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
This tower started its construction on an auspicious moment on Friday (January 20) by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and is built under the auspices of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Sri Lanka on a 3.06 hactares of land at the Beira Lake waterfront and alongside the D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha. “This will be an important landmark building being the tallest in South Asia when completed,” said Director General of TRC Anusha Palpita explaining about this striking city symbol under construction. This will be a free standing tower with a four storey high podium; a concrete tower shaft of moderate diameter, eight storeyed tower head and a steel framed antennae mast surmounted at the top.
The lotus is a local design which is a key symbol deep rooted in the Sri Lankan culture. The concept and preliminary design is by local architects. The Faculty of Architecture of the University of Moratuwa provides the indigenous technical and architectural expertise. A team of consultants led by Emeritus Professor Nimal de Silva, Professor Samita Manawadu and Professor Chitra Weddikkara of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Moratuwa provides professional advice on this mega project.
The construction of the multi-functional Telecommunication Tower and an Entertainment Centre will cost approximately 104 million US dollars. The mega project is funded through the EXIM Bank of the People’s Republic of China.
The Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Director General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka Anusha Palpita, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Karunaratne Amunugama and several high ranking officials from relevant local institutes attended the signing ceremony.
A Chinese conglomerate comprising China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC) and Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co. Ltd will be completing the project on a turnkey basis.
“The tower will provide telecommunication facilities to at least 50 separate broadcasting and telecasting services which will surely bring a significant development to the electronic media field. And this tower also can facilitate 20 telecommunication service providers,” Palpita added. This tower will relay defence signals. The advantage would be that this facility provided to the telecommunication sector would help remove high powered TV and FM antennas placed on top of various buildings in the Colombo city.
The tower podium will house food courts, administrative offices, exhibition spaces, telecommunication museum and many other amenities.
This will be a hollow concrete cylinder accommodating high-speed lifts and stairs for vertical circulations and ducts for various types of building services.
This comprises eight floors. This accommodates an observation deck and a revolving restaurant! A Banquet Hall with space for 1,000 guests will also be in this section. Super luxury hotels with its star class accommodation facilities will be on two floors of this section.
Surmounted on the tower head, the mast will be the base for antennaes of TV, FM and telecommunication service providers. According to the TRC these will be installed at a height of between 250 to 350 meters from the ground level.
When completed, it will stand 26-meters above the Eiffel Tower and 17.4 meters higher than the Tokyo Tower. Lotus has been the symbol for honour and purity among Sri Lankans over centuries. It is the flower that bloom and brighten the world, standing on mud soil. It is the symbol of prosperity achieved through hardships like blooming out from mud into something beautiful.
Thus will be the end result of this world class lotus tower – the symbol of prosperity.
“We plan to provide a chance for high end shopping especially for foreign tourists. Yet that doesn’t mean this is only for a specific class. This will be a place where anyone can enjoy at leisure, spend time. Facilities will be available to suit their capacity. This will be a place for everyone,” Palpita said.
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