Megatall, Weird Buildings No Longer Welcome in China

By Joshua Cawthorpe, June 11, 2020

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China’s Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) announced on April 27 that no further buildings over 500 meters will be constructed in the country. The height restriction is just one of a handful of new rules governing Chinese architecture.

In addition to a ban on future projects exceeding 500 meters, the notice also forbids xenocentric, copycat buildings. Instead, authorities encourage architecture that represents the ‘spirit’ of the city and landscape, as well as strengthening cultural self-confidence through Chinese characteristics. 

The new stipulations also reinforce protections for historical buildings and prohibit the removal of old trees and traditional homes.

The announcement states that throughout the remainder of 2020, the MOHURD will implement a new system for localities to compare and evaluate development proposals prior to issuing building licenses.

This is by no means a drastic shift in China’s policy towards architecture. A guideline on urban planning released on February 21, 2016 by the State Council already forbid the construction of oddly-shaped and bizarre buildings. The document called for greater oversight at a local level, and highlighted many of the same concerns associated with increasing urbanization, but this most recent statement establishes a more direct plan to enforce consistent oversight.

Image via 三联生活周刊

The focus on ‘green’ buildings will demand more stringent environmental protections and give preference to designs that strive to conserve water, energy and materials. 

Beyond simply reforming the management strategy, the form announces that a credit and blacklist system will be established to recognize and promote architects and firms that effectively apply the values of the new system into their designs. 

Furthermore, it suggests the creation of a ‘city chief architect’ position, with veto power, and a system to better integrate public opinion into the decision-making process. This last measure will surely be welcomed by residents of Shenyang, Liaoning province, who reportedly ‘felt like throwing up’ when commuting past new garish-checkered apartments, according to CNS.

The announcement may, however, come as a disappointment to some, as China is currently home to six the world’s 10 tallest skyscrapers. The second tallest building in the world today is the Shanghai tower, which measures 632 meters in height.

Image via

Less controversial is the decision to put a stop to shanzhai or ‘copycat’ architecture, with China being home to some hilarious, less-popular replicas of famous landmarks like the Great Sphinx and the Eiffel Tower in Shijiazhuang and Hangzhou, respectively.

Citizens of China should now be able to rest assured that we won’t have to deal with anymore penis-shaped buildings that ejaculate fireworks – here’s looking at you, Nanning.

WATCH: China's Penis Building 'Ejaculates' Fireworks for Mid-Autumn Fest

[Cover image via Pexels]

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