The Chinese construction industry has been busy for the past 15 years, it’s like a new building is being commissioned each week, many of these buildings are stunning but many are just over the top, out of this world
I was tasked at looking at some of them and conveying the way I feel, I will not talk about the experience of living or working at the buildings but will look at the design itself. that said, let’s dive into the world of doughnuts and teapots and deities.
1. Starship Enterprise Building
This might just be one of the sanest buildings on this list, the office building shaped after the USS Enterprise was built by Liu Dejian, the building looks relatively normal when you view it from street level but tells a totally different story when you look at it from above and did I mention that its the only building in the world with a star trek license from CBS, I am a science fiction nerd and totally love the idea.
2. CCTV Headquarters
The guy that approved the CCTV headquarters must have had a lot of guts, honestly, that guy is my hero, it’s as if the design brief was like, let’s take a skyscraper bent it a few times, and then put the other end in the ground, the building had the internet up in flames for a while because it looks like pair of pants, many even said that the building was a waste of money but I got to say that having a building like the CCTV headquarters changed the skyline, they didn’t follow the traditional two-dimensional look but went with something more experimental, which sometimes works but can also fail miserably, I can tell you one thing, this building will not feel out of place in Dubai
-Beijing Central Business District
3. Linda Haiyu Plaza, Beijing
The Linda Haiyu Plaza was designed to look like a fish, this is more a miss than anything else it looks more like a giant caterpillar, this is actually why 3d renders are important, there is no way they would have said yes to the building if they saw a giant caterpillar in the render, even so, this is an interesting building,
Side Rd of E. 4th Ring Rd S, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China
4. Teapot building, Wuxi
The teapot building doesn’t actually look as out of place as I thought, it looks more like a monument than a building, the building is about 164 feet (50 meters) in diameter and is 127 feet (38.8 meters) high, the Teapot building is mostly mocked for being a teapot, I personally don’t have a problem with the building, it might be strange but it serves a purpose, except for the spinning.
5. Tianzi Hotel
Why just, why, Is it just me, or are the guys behind this building totally literal, so you are building a butchery make the building look like a steak, your building a bakery, I’ve got let’s make it look like a loaf of bread, this work of art represents 3 Chinese deities dating back to the Ming dynasty, who knows, to stay in the hotel might just turn out to be incredible… I give a 10 out of 10 for creativity, but seriously why
6. Gate of the east, Suzhou
another pair of pants, it’s a shame that the Gate of the east is mocked on the internet and even traditional media, I do agree, it looks like underwear and I can understand why it was okayed, one look at the artist render and it looks amazing, it’s a pity that the final building looks weird, the design intent was to create “a mix of westernized pure form and Chinese subtlety” there’s a trend in Chinese buildings, they get built and the people mock them, the same building would be regarded masterpieces anywhere else even if they looked like underwear.
7. FANG YUAN BUILDING Shenyang
This is what happens when you don’t want to pay a world-renowned architect what he’s worth, at least that’s what I think happened here because this can’t be the work of the same guy that designed the Taipei 101 (Chu-Yuan Lee), are the buildings designed well and the construction is sub-par, I just don’t get it, what is this, the FANG YUAN BUILDING was voted the ugliest building in the world in 2012, and it deserves it, its an oversized coin on concrete, intriguing idea bad execution, it does, however, get to you after a while, it’s different and it doesn’t hurt that it’s got a MacDonalds next to it.
8. National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing
I love this building dint have any quarrels with it till I read that it looked like a giant egg pooped out by a robot, I believe that I still don’t have any issues with this building, there are so many oval-shaped buildings in this world that this one doesn’t surprise me at all, the only reason the National Centre for the Performing Arts on this list is because of the online noise associated with it, it’s a great building, it does not even look out of place in the artificial lake, love it or hate it.
9. Galaxy Soho, Beijing
why is this on my list? Again because of the negative hype, the hate mostly comes from architects, used to rectangular blocks (geometry must have been a problem at school) I am not just saying that this building is amazing because it’s a Zaha Hadid building, but because of its design and construction, its a pity the government doesn’t do anything about the shamelessly pirated replica in Chongqing, why is there no law in China that has specific provisions on IP rights related to architecture.
10. Henan Art Centre, Zhengzhou
Henan Art Centre is an example of how out-of-place innovation looks like because of location, it probably seemed like a great idea on paper, but looks horrible on-site, many say that this is the ugliest building in china, Not By A Long Shot, I always thought design freedom is the answer to great buildings, was I wrong, at least it serves a purpose
11. Phoenix Island, Hainan
I honestly don’t see why these buildings are labeled monstrosities, is it because they are in china, or are people just looking for something to ridicule, the world is changing, and this is the direction architecture is going, I’ve certainly seen the worst on a small island of the coast of Europe, they have a dildo for god’s sake.
12. Mobile phone building, Kunming
I really, really hate novelty buildings, what if the Tesla mega factory looked like a Tesla, no, just get a billboard, please ban novelty buildings, the Mobile phone building in Kunming is one such building, people say that its a landmark, of course, its a landmark, look at it, its a phone, with a blue hand holding it, they at least succeeded in one thing, It’s Unique.
13. Piano and violin building, Huainan
The Piano and violin building in Huainan actually looks good, I know I said I hate novelty buildings, but this one looks amazing, the glass violin contains escalators and a staircase to the pianos which has two concert halls
14. Meitan Tea Museum, Guizhou
Not another teapot, must have been an interesting design meeting, I read articles that said the building is uniquely shaped like a teapot, There is nothing unique about a bloody teapot, its a teapot, this is just lazy, I want to build my father a house lets make it look like his head, this Lazy teapot takes the uniqueness of the other one away
maybe I am wrong for slamming the Meitan Tea Museum, its built at the perfect place for a teapot building, Meitan is known as the hometown of Chinese green tea and is actually famous outside china for it, but still
15. Lotus building, Wujin
The Lotus Building is beautiful, strange art, again location plays a big part here, the building itself has no flaws but is mostly ridiculed by what I can only call traditionalists, and locals that have issues with foreign architects, go to the site at night for a glorious sight, how many times will you get a chance to say that you saw a building that looks like a lotus flower, kudos to the designers.
16. Guangzhou Circle
This is a poorly done Aldar HQ with a hole in it, I know breaking records is a thing in architecture but at what cost, don’t get me wrong this is a landmark, the tallest circular building in the world at 452 feet (138 meters), All I want to know is what it is supposed to be, I see a doughnut, the designer was inspired by the “Chinese way of perceiving and understanding” … I still see a doughnut, I actually had to go to the architect’s website to understand what the design is trying to convey, and now, I see a beautiful Chinese doughnut, it does look good from really far, the facade spoils everything as soon as you got close to it
It seems like I was harsh on some of the buildings on this list, but it’s purely opinion, there’s always someone that will hate what others like, and many of the buildings were actually really great but did not fit that well into their surrounding landscapes, others were downright stupid,
the beauty is that it’s a good lesson on what too much free reign can cause, novelty buildings are the worst, stay clear of those, please, stay clear, I wonder, what if McDonald’s looked like a burger,
I started out with disbelieve and ended up in total confusion, in some cases gained total respect for the bravery of the architect that did some of the designs, one thing is for sure, there is never a dull day in Chinese architecture,