Is China Putting an End to 'Strange' Buildings?

Is China Putting an End to 'Strange' Buildings?

When cities undergo rapid development it typically results in cookie-cutter skyscrapers taking the place of old, abandoned buildings. While it seems harmless, China has realized that the culture of the city is slowly diminished as historic sites are replaced with the most modern architecture of the time. So in an attempt to preserve traditional Chinese culture, the central government has set a new policy that is set to protect their historic and cultural value.

image © CarolSpears

image © CarolSpears

As a way of enforcing the new policy, the document specifies that Chinese cities must avoid looking identical in their urban development and focus on each city's unique historical value. They believe this can be achieved if the architect was to focus on implementing special cultureal characteristics and symbols into urbanization and city planning. 

image © Wechselberger

image © Wechselberger

While the new policy may seem limiting to architects that want to explore their creativity, it's not too different from a sentiment that President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping mentioned at a conference in 2014. When Jinping spoke to the crowd he mentioned how he aimed to abolish 'strange' buildings in an attempt to introduce architecture that was “suitable, economic, green and pleasing to the eye”, in contrast to the “oversized, xenocentric, weird” buildings devoid of character or cultural heritage that have sprung up in mainland cities.  

image © Fred Hsu

image © Fred Hsu

Despite widespread approval for the preservation of historic buildings and culture, it was initially a bit of a surprise for Chinese citizen given that the country has become known as the place for more unique buildings. Some of the most well known architects have even contributed their most famous works to Chinese skylines.  The change however, has been welcomed and received well by citizens who want to restore their culture and regain their skyline's originality.  


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Source: Reuters Canada

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