Thursday, July 1, 2021



Some of the world’s most bizarre buildings . . .


Ecology Centre, China:

The three-story building was inspired by the lake’s most famous inhabitants: Chinese mitten crabs. The palm-sized crustaceans have hairy, white-tipped claws (hence the “mitten” name) and are a Chinese delicacy during the autumn months. The architectural version is large, rising more than 52 feet high and measuring roughly 250 feet long.

In February 2016, however, the Chinese government issued a ban on “ugly architecture”, nearly seven years after President Xi Jinping famously criticised the “weird” buildings popping up across China in recent decades.

As China has experienced rapid urbanisation over the past 40 years, numerous projects turned out to be eyesores – from the “giant trousers” structure of the China Central Television headquarters in Beijing to the half-Temple of Heaven, half-US Capitol building in nearby Hebei province.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, issued a directive in February that said “the construction of ugly architecture should be strictly banned”. Under the new directive, buildings are to be "economical, functional, aesthetically pleasing" and "environmentally friendly".

Some Chinese examples:

Circular money-shaped skyscraper in Guangzhou, China:

The Guangzhou Circle was designed by Italian architect Joseph di Pasquale and opened in 2013. It is the world's tallest circle-shaped building at 138m and stands on the banks of the Pearl River. It houses the world’s largest stock exchange for raw plastic material and, according to di Pasquale, the form was “inspired by the strong iconic value of jade discs and numerological tradition of feng shui.” This is because not only does the 50m-wide hole punched through the centre make it look like an ancient Chinese coin, but when the building is reflected in the river it forms the lucky number eight. And an infinity symbol. And the insignia of ancient dynasty that reigned in this area 2,000 years ago.

The Gaungzhou Circle at night

The teapot building:

The tourist information centre in an area famous for its red clay teapots is in the shape of . . . a teapot. Funded by the second richest man in China, Wang Jianlin of the Dalian Wanda group, it is 10 stories in height and rotates as well.

The teapot building at night

Meitan Tea Museum in southern Guizhou province:

The tourist information centre teapot may rotate but it’s not the biggest teapot building in China. That title goes to the Meitan Tea Museum in southern Guizhou province, which has a height of 74m. It comes complete with a neighbouring tea-cup building. If it were ever filled it would hold 28m litres of tea. 

Chester teapot:

It trounces the previous Guinness World Record for the Largest Teapot Monument which was set by the Chester Teapot, built by William “Babe” Devon in West Virginia in 1938 – which stands just four metres high.

World's Largest Teapot postcard from the 1950s, 
Chester Teapot, West Virginia US

According to the postcard:
12 Feet in Height, 44 Feet in Width. "The Teapot" was originally brought to Chester, West Virginia to represent the largest pottery industry in the world at one time. It was a hires Root Beer Barrel advertisement and, in 1938, was brought in to Chester where it was converted to a teapot. In 1990, its restoration was completed by a group of citizens from the City of Chester, WV.

It originally sat on Carolina Ave, but was moved next to the Jennings Randolph Bridge and restored in 1990. Since then there have been two more restorations.
World's Largest Teapot postcard from the 1990s.
The little teapot/creamer on the left is presently in City Hall.

Gate of the Orient, China:

Dubbed “a big pair of pants”, the legs of the Gate of the Orient were joined together with a majestic crotch on the skyline of the ancient city of Suzhou in 2012. 74 storeys in height, the office building has been declared the largest gateway building in the world and no doubt takes the title of the world’s largest trouser-shaped building as well. Locals have also said that walking through its gaping arch is “like being forced to crawl between someone else’s legs.”

Headquarters of China Central Television (CCTV):

The headquarters of China Central Television (CCTV) was named the Best Tall Building Worldwide from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2013, yet some have called it "big pants" due to its resemblance to a pair of trousers. It has also been described as a pair of “big boxer shorts”, as well as likened to someone squatting above the city, ready to offload a nasty surprise.

Location of the China State-run newspaper:

The building which houses China's state-run newspaper People's Daily has often been remarked on for its phallic appearance. Can’t see it myself but that is probably because my mind is pure. The 150m-tall erection is situated close to the CCTV building in Beijing's business district.

North China University of Water Conservancy and Electric Power headquarters:

The North China University of Water Conservancy and Electric Power headquarters, which is shaped like a toilet, was constructed 5 months after the Chinese Government’s directive on no more weird buildings, leading to speculation that the directive has not been as effective as hoped. On the other hand, it has also been argued that the building does not intentionally look like a toilet.

Mobile phone building:

Rising above Huancheng Road in the provincial capital Kunming, the 11-storey mobile phone building features button-shaped windows and a penthouse office floor that looks out through the screen – plus a sinister blue hand, emerging from the ground and clutching its sides.

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