1. Built environment
  2. Architecture & design
February 18, 2015updated 30 Jul 2021 1:28pm

Chinese president asks for less extreme architecture; Foshan responds with this opera house

By City Monitor Staff

Back in November, China’s president Xi Jinping issued a directive calling for less “weird” architecture in the country’s cities. The move was presumably inspired by buildings like Suzhou’s “pair of trousers” (sorry, “Gate of the Orient”) building:

Image: Mudaxiong at WIkimedia Commons.

Then there was this nightmare in Guangzhou:

Image: Midip at Wikimedia Commons. 

Xi, some commentators have suggested, was motivated by a number of trends at work in China’s construction boom. Many of the country’s cities are vying to build bigger, bettter, and, yes, weirder buildings. Prrojects are frequently beset by delays and corruption, too: in his speech, Xi also referred to the “stench of money” around certain projects. 

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That speech was three months ago now. To see how seriously the Chinese construction sector is taking the president’s plea, consider the new opera house proposed for Foshan, a city near Guangzhou in the country’s southeast. Designed by Danish architecture firm Godefroy Tang, the Cube Tower will look like a collection of blocks stacked up by a distracted toddler:

Image: Godefroy Tang. 

The design will require 34 lifts and 16 escalators to transport people between its many different levels; the outer walls will be built from a steel lattice.

At night, the building will light up like an exotic lamp:

The building should be completed later this year. We hope they invites the president along for opening night.

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