Architecture purists, turn back now. Star Trek aficionado and wealthy tech exec Liu Dejian purchased the rights from CBS to build a home and office space that’s a deadringer for the sci-fi film franchise’s famous starship, the USS Enterprise.
Located in the coastal city of Changle in China’s Fujian province, the 853-foot long building features the circular contours and tubular features of the iconic spaceship, which appeared three times in Star Trek films released in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The building’s cleverest design quirk is that when viewed from the ground, it looks like a somewhat typical office mounted on columns with a parking space beneath. However, satellite and Google Maps imagery reveals it to be a starship with a football field and four tennis courts on a roughly circular plot of land surrounded by water.
As the only licensed Star Trek building in the world, it has become the headquarters of online game developer NetDragon Websoft, founded in 1999 by Dejian, also a board member of Chinese search engine giant Baidu. Inside, the 43-year-old tech exec has installed a lifesize replica of a T-Rex named Stan after the paleontologist who discovered parts of its skeleton in South Dakota in 1987.
True to Star Trek legend, the work spaces are divided by automatic sliding gates, and 30-foot metal slides on the third floor whisk employees down to the ground floor in a flash. Regarding the company’s first attempts to contact CBS to purchase building rights, NetDragon Websoft told the Wall Street Journal: “That was their first time dealing with an issue like this and at first they thought it was a joke. They realized somebody in China actually did want to work out a building modeled on the USS Enterprise only after we sent the legal documents.”
Construction commenced in October 2010 and completed late last year, costing a reported 600 million yuan ($97 million). The building has inspired heated debates online among Trekkies as to which ship it is modeled after, but general consensus maintains that it’s the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E.