CCTV Tower in Beijing
Image: Imaginechina / Corbis
China it not exactly do anything half way. Whether it's building gigantic golden Chairman Mao sculptures or creating huge traffic jams, the world's most populous country likes to do it up big.
And that sense of scale is reflected in its architecture, too: Over the years, it's gained a reputation for its strange, over-the-top buildings that would put one's most futuristic of fantasies to shame. But now, that golden age of weird architecture could be coming to an end.
As Cao Li writes for the New York Times, China's central government recently called for the end of "oversized, xenocentric, weird" architecture that is "devoid of cultural tradition." Instead, builders are being asked to comply with the design standards that favor function over form and focus on green building methods.
It's not the first time the government has tried to crack own on its weird buildings. In 2014, president Xi Jinping gave a two-hour speech lambasting Beijing buildings like the CCTV headquarters, a skyscraper with a loop structure that has been to to-pants, Weird watchers interpreted the speech as everything from an attempt to reduce corruption to a way to curb tourism.
Public opinion on the buildings seems to be mixed. But do not look for Chinese cities to stop pushing the architectural boundaries of taste, imagination and scale just yet. As CityLab's Linda Poon notes, "architecture has always been a way for China to flaunt its wealth and power. "That impulse may well be stronger than any appeal for aesthetic moderation.
Will you mourn the death of crazy architecture in China? Do not ever forget these strange structures:
A Giant Lotus
Image: Studio 505
What better addition to an artificial lake than a building that resembles an artificial lotus? Wujin's lotus building houses municipal government offices. Can not figure out how to get inside? No worries: Visitors enter the futuristic floral structure from a subterranean complex located beneath the lake.
A Hotel Made of Gods
There's not much information about the Tianzi Garden Hotel available in English, but the hotel, which is constructed of three Chinese gods, can turn heads in any language. Located in a Beijing suburb, it features the gods of prosperity, fortune and longevity.
A Mountaintop on Top of a Skyscraper
This mountaintop villa perched atop a huge apartment building can no longer be seen in Beijing, but it's worth taking a moment of silence for. The villa, which was built without permission by a rich doctor, was torn down after authorities cracked down on its illegally majestic crags and trees-all of which were built on top of an existing building.
The USS Enterprise
Speaking of rich, architecturally inclined tycoons: A Chinese executive spent nearly $ 100 billion to finance the construction of this USS Enterprise-themed building in Changle. As the Wall Street Journal's Yang Jie reports, the company contacted CBS, which produces Star Trek, to secure the rights. The fun does not stop once you enter the bridge. Inside the building, which is used as a game development company's headquarters, is a full-sized replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.
A Surreal Ring
Look beneath the mesmerizing neon lights and you'll see a hotel that stuns with its horseshoe-like shape, suggesting a ring well below its aquatic setting. It's the Sheraton Huzhou, and if you imagine it continues on underwater, you're shore right The structure does not stop once it touches the Taihu Lake-rather, it continues on with two underground floors to complete its oval.
A Futuristic Egg
This glowing egg is not the world's biggest tribute to Easter-it's actually China China staggering, futuristic national performing arts center. Featuring an opera house, a concert hall and several theaters, the Beijing-based egg can be seen at at night, revealing all the artsy yolk within.
A Piano and a Violin
Of course, Beijing does not have a monopoly on creating innovative architecture designed with music in mind. This instrument-themed building is located in Huainan and was dreamed up by architectural students eager to encourage more tourists to visit to the city. Yes, it's made entirely out of glass.
A Gigantic Drum
Then there's Hefei's big red drum-the world's largest drum-shaped building, according to Guinness. The $ 21 million building is home to a tourism center.
A Deconstructed Flower
Image: ART on FILE/Art on File/Corbis
This strangely shredded flower does not just look cool-it's made entirely of glass. You can find it on the facade of the Liuili China Museum in Shanghai, a museum that features more than 250 pieces of glass art in a structure that can compete with any of the pieces within for "most amazing piece of glasswork."
Source: The Smithsonian