No taller than 500M, no plagiarism: China signals 'new era' for architecture

No taller than 500M, no plagiarism: China signals 'new era' for architecture

But according to Chinese architecture experts, some of the less eye-catching suggestions -- such as an appeal for heritage protection, a credit system for designers and the appointment of chief architects -- may signal a subtler evolution in the way China's cities are planned. "The document is really not just about height," said Li Shiqiao, a professor of Asian architecture at the University of Virginia, in a phone interview. "It's about Chinese culture, the urban context, the spirit of the city and the appearance of modernity." "This has been in the academic discussion a lot, but somehow not in a government document until now." Of the 10 completed buildings measuring above 500 meters around the world, half are found in mainland China. Among them are the planet's second-tallest skyscraper, the twisting Shanghai Tower at 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall, and Shenzhen's Ping An Finance Center, which is 599 meters (1,965 feet) from base to tip. Fei Chen, a senior architecture professor at the UK's Liverpool University, described the 500-meter limit as "quite arbitrary," adding that skyscrapers measuring 499 meters are "still very, very tall buildings." But the new document confirms growing intolerance for buildings that are "out of scale or out of context," she said. Chen also pointed to official concern around the "reckless" use of tall buildings, whereby expensive and unprofitable towers are used by real estate firms to brand their developments -- or by local governments to put their cities on the map. "(The guidelines) respond to the identity ...
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