“Vanity projects”: China to introduce stricter limits on skyscrapers

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China has said it will prevent small towns from building “super skyscrapers,” as part of a wider crackdown on “vanity projects” and to reduce energy consumption.

Skyscrapers over 150 meters (490 feet) will be strictly limited, and those over 250 meters will be prohibited for cities with less than 3 million inhabitants.

The authorities will also limit structures over 250 meters for cities with more than 3 million inhabitants.

This is not the first time that Chinese regulators have intervened to limit the height of skyscrapers. In July, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s main planning agency, banned new skyscrapers over 500 meters and restricted those over 250 meters.

He said at the time that new towers over 500 meters would no longer be approved and those over 250 meters would be strictly limited. Waivers can be granted after the government has verified detailed construction plans, such as those related to firefighting capabilities.

The regulator also tightened the rules for buildings over 100 meters this summer. They included requirements for the earthquake-resistant capability of the towers, and whether they could match the fire and rescue capability in the cities where they are located.

The latest statement was released jointly in recent days by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Ministry of Emergency Management, a cabinet-level executive department responsible for emergency management and workplace safety. .

He added that those who approve new projects that violate the latest rules would be held to “lifelong liability”.

China is home to some of the world’s mega tours. The 128-story, 632-meter-tall Shanghai Tower, for example, is the tallest building in China and the second in the world. China is also one of the biggest markets for designers like London-based Arup. And for years, this rapidly developing country has been an experience for ambitious international architects such as Rem Koolhaas and the late Zaha Hadid.

But in recent years, the authorities have found it increasingly difficult to manage these buildings. Reports of potential health and safety incidents at these skyscrapers often appear in state media and on social media.

In March, a fire broke out at a high-rise residential building in northern China’s Shijiazhuang city. And in August, another happened in northeast Dalian City, Liaoning Province. The two incidents sparked intensive discussions on Chinese social media.

In May, a 72-storey, A building nearly 300 meters in south Shenzhen began to mysteriously shake, causing people inside to be evacuated under the horrified gaze of pedestrians. It was later found to have been caused by a combination of winds, underground rail lines and fluctuating temperatures.

People flee in panic as 300-meter skyscraper wobbles in China - video
People flee in panic as 300-meter skyscraper wobbles in China – video

In recent years, regulators have openly criticized some of the bold designs, calling them “vanity projects” that would only encourage Chinese cities to compete in the wrong way. Earlier this year, Beijing banned “ugly architecture”.

“We are at a stage where people are too brash and eager to produce something that can really make history,” said Zhang Shangwu, deputy director of the College of Architecture and Town Planning at Tongji University. , quoted by the South China Morning Message in April.

He added, “Every building aims to be a landmark, and developers and planners try to achieve this by going to the extreme in novelty and strangeness. ”

Regulators published a document last year explaining how to further strengthen architectural management in Chinese cities, according to the state-owned newspaper Global Times. They concluded that large, oddly styled buildings were “a waste of resources.”

Architecture websites such as Archcy.com encourage citizens to spot curious designs across the country and vote for a “Hall of Shame” list of China’s Top 10 “Ugliest” Buildings.

The contest organizer said the purpose of the vote was to “make people think about the beauty and ugliness of architecture and promote the social responsibility of architects.”

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