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Enough with the 'weird' buildings: China's Cabinet

KNICKERS IN A TWIST: Beijing's "Boxer's Shorts" (above) houses state broadcaster China Central Television. It is one of several "weird" buildings in China that the State Council wants fewer of, according to its blueprint.


    Feb 23, 2016

    Enough with the 'weird' buildings: China's Cabinet


    THE Chinese government has issued a blueprint urging builders to avoid creating any more "weird" urban architecture and aim for simpler construction that is utilitarian, environmentally friendly and pleasing to the eyes, reported the local media.

    The blueprint might spell the end of more than a decade of churning out "weird" buildings whose nicknames say it all, such as the two infamous ones in Beijing: "Boxer's Shorts", which houses the state broadcaster China Central Television and "The Phallic", where the flagship People's Daily is headquartered.

    Lesser-known ones include Suzhou city's "The Trousers", Hebei province's "Fu-Lu-Shou" (in the shape of three immortals from Chinese folklore) and "Ingot Pavilion", Sichuan's "Wuliangye Bottle", Chongqing's "Hot Pot Chopsticks", Anhui's "White House" and Liaoning's "Ancient Chinese Coin".

    The blueprint came two months after the State Council, China's Cabinet, held its first Central Urban Work Conference in 37 years to tackle urban ills such as pollution, illegal structures and traffic jams, reported the China National Radio (CNR).

    President Xi Jinping is long known to have a distaste for strange-looking buildings, attributing their emergence to "a lack of cultural confidence".

    However, while copies of famous Western landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and London Bridge, can be spotted in many towns across China, buildings often voted the "ugliest" by Chinese netizens are those that embody local themes.

    Yang Baojun, from the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, told CNR yesterday that the blueprint has avoided defining what is meant by "weird" so as not to circumscribe the creativity of architects.

    But he also emphasised that public taste could provide guidelines, suggesting that architectural styles that had been widely mocked should not be repeated.

    Apparently, names like "Boxer's Shorts" and "Ingot Pavilion" are nothing to be proud of, CNR commented in its broadcast.

    Designed by Dutch architectural firm OMA, "Boxer's Shorts" comprises two 54-storey L-shaped structures, reminding onlookers of the undergarment.

    Although only two-storey tall, the "Ingot Pavilion", in the shape of a Chinese ingot, is reviled by most Chinese as its facade was painted entirely with a dull shade of gold.