Tsinghua Prof Says China’s “Weird Buildings” are a Safety Hazard

Charles Liu , February 5, 2015 7:46pm (updated)

cctv buildingChinese President Xi Jinping declared that he didn’t want to see anymore “weird buildings” in China earlier this year, but he didn’t say why. Now, we might know: a Tsinghua University architecture professor has explained that “weird” usually means “unsafe”.

In an interview published on iFeng, Professor Wang Lifang argued that the proliferation of all the “weird buildings” that have been appearing in China are a mistake, saying they are “the result of a fickle and impatient mood”:

There are a few strange and unacceptable buildings that honestly have a hidden danger to them. For example, there’s this one building that has this large suspended horizontal component at its top. It’s so high, and yet this component is so large. This is not conducive to maintaining the safety of the structure. What’s more, this structure has two “legs” that are splayed, and yet the elevators inside are running vertically. This gives the builders and safety coordinators added problems.
In terms of fire prevention, once a problem arises, the people inside the building can only escape using the two “legs” of the building. (In the same way,) firefighters going to extinguish the fire can only go up using these same two “legs”. (All this time,) there’s no escape for (the people located) in the middle beam, and that’s what makes this a fire safety risk. What’s more, the distance of the suspended beam is so long that there’s a great possibility that it exceeds the reasonable distance required to be able to safely escape. Since none of these are reasonable arrangements, then it could be said that the price of being weird is great by sacrificing safety standards.

Hmmm, which building could he possibly have been referring to?

He also said these “weird buildings” are purely a Chinese phenomenon:

Weird buildings only appear in certain niche situations, and can not be considered mainstream. Recently, construction of new buildings in the West is very rare because they are already full of buildings. When they do have a project, such as to build a new conference center or a small-scale exhibition hall that may be a few thousand square meters large, it may become a little strange. But since construction space is limited, the (strange) influence will also be limited, meaning that they have little room to play around.

Photo: iFeng

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor