China’s bizarre phenomena: buildings die unnaturally

| September 24th, 2010

As one of the most architectural productive country, China aggregates 2 billion m2 of new building area every year, consuming about 40% of the world’s concrete and steel. Many of these new steel and premium prefab buildings are constructed quickly due to advancements in technology rendering older models obsolete. However, on the flip side of the new building fever, there lie the rubbles and remains of other “older” buildings: people tear down four-star hotels to build five-star ones and bulldoze newly developed construction sites before they are even finished. Lots of young strong buildings are down, fulfilling their unnatural destiny in the roaring noise of blasting. (Source from ifeng.com and people.com.cn)

1. Vienna Wood Community in Hefei City(合肥维也纳森林花园小区), died before born on Dec. 10th, 2005. The community covered about 20,000 m2 construction area with the main structure raised to 58.5 m high. The tens of millions yuan worth building was blasted as a whole when its 16th floor was still under progress. According to local government, the community punctuated the central divide of Hefei City, blocking the scenery between Huangshan Road and Dashushan Mountain. They couldn’t straighten Huangshan Road unless the community was out of the way.

2. The Bund Community in Wuhan(武汉外滩花园小区), 4 years old, blasted on March 30th, 2002. “I give you the Yangtze River” the slogan of the community captured many people’s hearts, so did its view over the magnificent Yangtze River and Wuhan’s historic spot Yellow Crane Tower. It took only 4 years to build the community that was documented and verified by relative departments. Then it also took only 4 years for the once legitimate community to be identified as illegitimate buildings that violate the country’s flood protection regulations. Force demolition soon took place, resulting in over 200 million yuan direct economic losses, not to mention the costs that were times of its original investment government had to cover for the demolition and restoration of bund environment.

3. Yuxi Exhibition Center(瑜西会展中心), 5 years old, down on Aug. 20th, 2005. The landmark building in Yongchuan City, Chongqing Municipality cost 40 million yuan to build, and 250 kg dynamite and about 5000 detonators to blow up. Besides holding exhibition, the center was also used as administrative reception center due to its convenient location and sound facility. However, the mine boss who bought the center for 30 million yuan decided it was an even better idea for the center to become the city’s first five-star hotel instead of holding some stupid exhibitions. Thus down with the landmark exhibition center and here was 250 million yuan to build the glorious five star hotel. To welcome the city’s first five-star hotel, vice mayor of Yongchuang City came down to the site in person and helped monitor the blasting process.

4. Zhongyin Building in Wenzhou City(温州中银大厦), 6 years old, life ended on May 18th, 2004. Situated at the city’s golden area since 1997, the 93 m high building was never put into use as it was identified as unsafe building and soon brought out the city’s biggest financial crime ever, involving 43 suspects and over 30 million yuan corruption. And for that reason, it was also remembered as corruption building. Solving all of the building’s safety problems would demand more than the cost of building a new one, the authority then blow it up.

5. Shouyi Sports Center(首义体育培训中心), 10 years old, blasted on June 16th, 2009. It was called “champion’s cradle” for fostering a good many sport talents for Hubei Province, including badminton     world champions Gao Ling and Wei Yili. But when its existence bothered the 20 billion worth museum project for the 100th anniversary of Revolution of 1911, it had to give way, even though it was only 10 years old and still upgrading its sport equipments up till the demolition.

6. Five Lake Hotel in Nancang City(南昌五湖大酒店), 13 years old, blasted on Feb. 6th, 2010. The four star hotel building was finished in 1997 and viewed as one of the landmark building in Nancang City too. The hotel was taken over by a Hong Kong company who decided to turn it into a five-star hotel. It was estimated that the demolition would result in 40,000 ton of construction waste, taking up a large area of refuse landfill.

7. Shenyang Summer Palace(沈阳夏宫), 15 years old, blasted on Feb. 20th, 2009. Completed in 1994, the palace is a water entertaining center that cost 200 million yuan to build. It was the biggest arched architecture in Asia then. For a long time, Shenyang Summer Palace was viewed as the greatest fun in the city, receiving over 400 million tourists in its first 5 years. However, the city’s greatest fun was blown up within 2 seconds for the sake of real estate development.

8. Zhejiang University’s No. 3 building in lakeside campus(浙大原湖滨校区3号楼), 16 years old, downed on Jan. 6th, 2007. Standing 67 m high with 20 floors, the No.3 building was the highest on West Lake side. But the university transferred part of the campus land into commercial property for 2.46 billion yuan, thus torn down the building to hand over a flat land. On the day of the blasting, teachers and students flocked together to witness the spectacular and tragic moment.

9. Tsingtao Railway Building(青岛铁道大厦), 16 years old, blasted on Jan. 17th, 2007. The building was designed in accordance with three star standard and meant to be there for about 100 years. Opened in 1991, it was seen as one of the landmark buildings of the city at that time. Still it had to give way when it countered the construction program for the 2008 Olympic.

10. Shenyang Wulihe Stadium(沈阳五里河体育场), 18 years old, blasted on Feb 12th, 2007. Known as China’s blessed football land, the stadium costs 250 million yuan to build. It witnessed the one time China football team became World Cup qualifier on Oct. 7th 2001. Two years later, Shenyang City successfully applied for football competition venue of the 2008 Olympic. The government switched its alteration and addition plan to tearing down the 18-year-old stadium instead. The land was then auctioned at 1.6 billion yuan and gulped up 1.9 billion yuan investment to build a new Olympic Center.

11. “Asian First Arc” in Shanghai(上海“亚洲第一弯”), 11 years old, demolished on Feb. 13th, 2008. The beautiful arc was seen as the best viewing spot in Shanghai bund. The bridge was designed to service for at least 100 years, but the bund passage remodeling program decided it should die at 1/10 of its life span. “We architect designers, should look further in future planning.” Said Zhao Lizhong, designer of the arc.

40 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Jay K says:

    sofa!!! sweetness

  2. enid says:

    there’s an insane amount of corruption behind this crazy building fever. and no matter how much you pay the local party boss to build, if you fail to pay the local boss’ boss you’ll be deep in shit. guanxi, it’s all about guanxi and corruption
    sorry for the people who bought these houses though

  3. Laoshi says:

    Those are some crazy photos.

    • Bill Rich says:

      Any only the photos are crazy. The facts are not. They are very normal and just what is required for China today. Build, blow them up, build again, blow again… This is the way for economic growth, and stability.

  4. Curren$y says:

    Environmentalists are gonna go crazy for this

  5. meh says:

    Good way to create GDP, bad way to create anything of value.

  6. xino says:

    lol..that’s what happens when you use cheap fake sement and bricks to build a tower:P

    • kitajec says:

      it is not sement which is the problem
      the problems are in heads of some fast decision making government officials who would like to earn more money 🙂

  7. tim says:

    chinese officials should answer for there , however that will never happen

  8. Cleo says:

    “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.”

  9. m says:

    aww, what’s the use in trying to reduce my carbon footprint again?

  10. AlleyCat says:

    In a positive sense, destruction precedes creation. Old habits die hard.

  11. GuoBao says:

    “As one of the most architectural productive country, China aggregates 2 billion m2 of new building area every year”

    I am certain Christopher Wren would rotate in his grave if he heard that the monstrous, monotone and abysmally looking concrete monsters that are built everywhere these days for housing are described in any kind of way that involves the word “architecture”.

    • AlleyCat says:

      “Reader, if you seek his memorial – look around you”. Those were the words inscripted on his grave. Apparently Wren was a freemason. Those types have never seized to amaze me.

    • V says:

      Wren got his chance after the great fire of London in 1666 opened up some prime real estate for development. As for the quality, you are correct. China builds cheap and quick, so might as well knock the buildings down before they collapse naturally.

  12. Mark says:

    Almost free state money chasing corrupt deals produces this type of madness.

  13. Boo says:

    They got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul.

  14. Schamotnik says:

    To be honest I don’t find this bizarre at all.. I’m actually surprised it’s has only been 11… I would bet a lot of money that in the next couple of years this number will increase 10-fold.

  15. Zhuer says:

    In india it takes 10 years to build a new road, it China it takes less time than that to rebuild it twice. Two absurd regimes leading its people blindly to an inevitable end.

  16. Lin says:

    Changing to rapidly i suppose
    Does make me wonder if demolishing and rebuilding stimulates the economy.

    • Bill Rich says:

      Yes, it does. Blowing up buildings do not create a negative entry into your GDP. Actually the costs of blowing them up – labor, dynamite, etc. – create additional positive entry into GDP, and so does building new buildings.

  17. hushashi says:

    looks just like Japan. just not as nice…

  18. kels says:

    wow…..america must be nicer ha

    • Bill Rich says:

      No. Americans can’t afford to blow up perfectly good buildings. Only China is rich enough to do that. Viva China. Keeping blowing and building. Keep Chinese employed with harmony.

  19. AlleyCat says:

    a talented hawk hides its claws

  20. V. Jones says:

    Bush hates Chinese people! Look at the way he blows up their buildings 🙁

  21. Andy says:

    China “architectural productive country”??? the buildings in China are so ugly! Having been to a dozen cities in China….. for example, Shenzhen, Beijing….. the buildings are atrocious. Architectural blight! 4 star hotels in China would not pass for 3 star hotels in the US. I’ve stayed at 5 star hotels and they are really just 3 stars.

  22. Decimus says:

    Look at the sky.
    It is so dirty and full of particles.
    The land is poisoned.
    The air is unbreathable.
    The water is black or grey and full of PCBs and Dioxin
    The people are dying inside because cancer is killing them slowly.
    China is consuming the planet Earth in its race to dominate everything economic.

    The wounded Earth will respond and China will not be able to resist.

  23. concerned says:

    WTF. This is shocking. Why does’t China focus on a HEALTHY environment? What the hell…

  24. Bill Rich says:

    There is limited land area suitable for building, and unlimited money for GDP growth. Old buildings must make way to new buildings to keep up the GDP growth demanded by the current situations in China. All these activities demonstrate the creativity and fast pace growth of China, and is supported by all Chinese people.

  25. William says:

    Bill you say that this is supported by all chinese people? Interesting to me that you would know what “all” chinese people want.

  26. William says:

    The most efficient use of capital is more important than focusing on gdp growth. Imagine how much more gdp growth would have resulted from a more efficent use of capital.

  27. nicolas says:

    nations of the world should unite and nuke china in one day,they are and will be a serious problem to the rest of the world.

  28. Within the next 20 years, list of countries that will fall apart, China is listed #2 due to heavy pollution.

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