Beijing’s Decade of ‘Weird Buildings’ Could be Coming to an End

Since the beginning of the millennium, Beijing has been leading the way innovative architecture in its skyscrapers. That is likely coming to a end though with vice mayor, Chen Gang, announcing a new direction going against the capitol city’s “weird buildings.”

Beijing will likely be implementing stricter building ordinances on new projects that aim at a more uniform look regarding buildings’ size, style, color, and materials. The skyscrapers currently in Chinese cities have a beautiful, eye-grabbing ascetic about them, but as CNN reports that doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to urban planning and creating a better functioning public spaces.

Following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks, which call for an end of “weird architecture,” to a symposium in October, it seems as though there might be a politically-motivated directive at hand. Chen’s announcement is ostensibly to allow urban planning a greater hand in creating public spaces and “a better cityscape” for residents.

A city that functions well for its citizens and visitors is essential in order for it to thrive and business to grow, but what about stifled creativity? By setting in place a cookie-cutter type of building plan for new projects, this would naturally limit architect creativity and their ability to develop buildings that are more resistant to natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes.

“That’s setting parameters on creativity and this will limit or kill a lot of great ideas,” said Hong Kong-based architect William To. “From creativity there shouldn’t be boundaries. For new ideas and new projects to take shape, thinking out of the box is essential. By putting parameters you’re limiting (architects) to remain in the box.”

Here are some of those “weird buildings that are likely the end of an architectural era.


If the Phoenix Towers in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, are built, they’ll be the tallest towers in the world at one kilometer in height.


This is the CCTV building in Beijing, and is regarded as one of the city’s most recognizable skyscrapers.


The $1.5 billion horseshoe-shaped is the Sheraton in Huzhou, Zhejiang province and lights up the night sky with its vibrant glow and unusual design.


The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel on Beijing’s Yanqi Lake looks like some sort of alien pod and is one of the city’s most anticipated hotel projects.


This giant metal doughnut building is the Guangzhou Circle, home to the Guangdong Plastic Exchange.


The Gate of the Orient in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, stands more than 300 meters tall and while it looks similar to NYC’s Washington Square arch, it’s also been compared to a pair of long johns.

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