China’s President Xi Jinping has been busy this year fighting off fears of an economic collapse, rooting out corrupt officials and attempting to calm protests in Hong Kong, but the leader of the world’s most populous nation still had time last week to serve a warning to China’s creative architects.
Speaking at a literary gathering in Beijing, China’s paramount leader pronounced that art should serve the people, and that it should “be like sunshine from the blue sky and the breeze in spring that will inspire minds, warm hearts, cultivate taste and clean up undesirable work styles,” according to an account in The Wall Street Journal.
Taking a break from his lung-stretching sentences, Xi singled out the country’s architecture as an area in need of reform, mentioning the Rem Koolhaas-designed CCTV tower in Beijing as an example of buildings that don’t belong in the president’s vision of China.
Xi called for art to serve patriotic purposes, apparently without further clarifying what this means.
In recent years China’s building boom has helped to foster some of the most iconic, and at times some of the most bizarre architecture in the world.
In addition to the CCTV tower, which is frequently called the ‘big underpants” by China’s fun-loving public, the nation’s capital is also now home to the famous Bird’s Nest stadium. Both buildings have won acclaim for their innovative and eye-catching designs.
On the minus-side, the country is also now home to many more questionable designs, including a 33-storey doughnut in Guangzhou built to look like a giant imperial coin, a plan for pair of “phoenix towers” in Wuhan complete with feathers, and the world’s largest building shaped like a drum which was recently unveiled in Anhui province.