An urbanization drive perhaps unparalleled in human history has turned China into a continent-sized construction site. Some of the new buildings have won international acclaim, such as Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium built for the 2008 Olympics. But far too many are eyesores, complain architects and online critics.
When the architecture website www.archcy.com asked readers to vote for China’s top 10 ugliest buildings, Li Hu, a Beijing-based partner at U.S. Steven Holl Architects, said, “Choosing 10 is very hard, choosing a million is perfectly possible.
“Development is too quick. Architects don’t have time to reflect,” says Li, who blames the ugly edifices in part on interference by government officials, a lack of imagination by architects and corruption.