China bans 'weird' buildings, seeks green alternatives

In addition to working on decreasing its pollution levels, China has announced a ban on 'weird' architecture, and is instead seeking buildings that are, among other things, environmentally friendly. The announcement was made by China's State Council this past weekend, and it likewise bans architecture the government considers "oversized" and "xenocentric." Buildings that are "suitable" and "economic" as well as green are acceptable, however.

China, of course, is home to a wide array of buildings that could be classified as "weird," including ones that are based on/replications of notable landmarks from other countries and ones that are simply unique in a way the Chinese government has started to frown upon. The Central Committee is looking toward a future where buildings are pleasing to look at and possibly include some aspect reflecting cultural tradition.

This means things like the giant cell phone-shaped building above and other very cheesy buildings will no longer be built. Whether current buildings will need to be altered to shed their stigmatizing design isn't clear.

In another interesting move, the government agency has also banned the installation of gated communities in the nation, and existing gated communities will eventually have to be opened up to the public. The reason, it seems, is to ease general traffic in the nation by opening those currently sealed (private) roads to public use. This comes after about two decades of gated community construction in the nation.

The changes will more greatly affect public buildings that private ones, however, which will be given more freedom to "innovate" with their design. With public buildings, though, functionality is now the top priority over appearance. Cities in the nation have already started pursuing and approving more 'normal' and conservative building designs over grandiose ones.

The exact reasons for China's decision to move away from certain types of architecture in favor of more plain and conservative options isn't clear — it could be a mixture of reasons, not the least of which are financial. The mention of 'green' buildings as being an acceptable architectural choice is notable, however, given the nation's recent vows to improve its pollution levels. As it currently stands, the nation has faced record levels of smog, some of which is making its way across the ocean, and it has had to implement regulations like alternating driving days, car bans and more to help keep levels low.

VIA: New York Times