China’s Contest to Name Ugliest Buildings Comes on Heels of Government Decree

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Robison Wells
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China cites a contest, which began all in fun, as an argument to decree against “ugly” architecture.

A 12 years and running hall of shame contest lists the top ten ugliest buildings in China. Contributors have submitted 87 structures so far to archcy.com. The website hopes the contest will “encourage people to ponder the flexible notion of beauty.”

The list features a large church in the shape of an upright violin, the Inner Mongolia hotel, which takes on the form of a massive babushka doll, and a national broadcast building colloquially dubbed “Big Pants” for its similarity to pair of trousers. Finally, a glass bridge known as “Welcome to Hell” leads the contenders because of the monstrous statues standing at its mouth.

The contest began one year after the Chinese government issued a rule banning the construction of “ugly buildings.” Beijing’s top economic planning body said that buildings needed to be “suitable, economical, green, and pleasing to the eyes.” However, China offers no definition for the meaning of “ugly.” Instead, the government poses that buildings built in strange styles waste resources.

Still, the contest continues. Users of the Chinese social media application Weibo used the hashtag #BanningUglyArchitecture more than 170 million times.

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