A skyscraper in southwest China that boasts what its owner calls the world’s largest artificial waterfall is the latest example of over-the-top architecture to draw national ridicule.
The tower in Guiyang was built with a spectacular 108m cascade tumbling down its face, but cash flow could prove a problem for the ostentatious design.
Although the Liebian International Building is not yet finished, the water feature was completed two years ago.
However it has only been turned on six times, with the owners blaming the high cost — 800 yuan (US$117.40) per hour — of pumping water to the top of the 121m-high structure.
Constructed by the Ludi Industry Group, the building is to house a shopping mall, offices and a luxury hotel. Its signature waterfall uses runoff, rainwater and groundwater collected in giant underground tanks.
The company says the feature pays homage to the local region’s rugged nature, but Chinese netizens have mocked the project as a waste of money.
“If they could just turn it on once every few months, the company would save on cleaning windows,” one user wrote on Weibo.
China’s rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a construction boom, often including outlandish buildings that are criticized as a waste of public or shareholder funds.
The Beijing headquarters of state broadcaster China Central Television features a futuristic design now nicknamed “The Big Underpants” due to its resemblance to a giant pelvis.
Netizens also said that the offices of the People’s Daily in the capital looked like a penis during construction, and last year a building on the campus of a water-resources university gained notoriety for resembling a toilet.
The issue prompted Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in 2014 to call for an end to what he called “weird architecture.”
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