Beijing going five-tone for Olympic Games
Beijing's urban planners have released an Olympic-inspired five-tone colour scheme for the city which it hopes homeowners and districts will adopt in the lead-up to the 2008 Games.
The 'concept design' put together by a panel of planning experts convened by the Beijing 2008 Urban Construction Headquarters calls for buildings within the second ring road to be painted grey and structures in surrounding downtown areas to be one of four other colours - orange, blue, purple or green, the Beijing Times reports.
It was not clear why the nominated colours differed from the official Olympic scheme but the report said the aim was to reflect the event's five-colour concept.
Tsinghua urban planning professor Liang Wei was involved in the plan and said it was a 'concept' rather than a compulsory order to repaint the city.
The designers of the plan hope owners of buildings in need of repainting will follow the designated colour scheme - orange in the northern area, meaning centuries-old tradition; blue in the west, meaning modernity; purple in the east, representing cosmopolitanism; green in the south to suggest environmentalism; and grey in the centre to reflect culture.
The plan includes transport upgrades, vegetation programmes, lighting improvements and standardised signs in Beijing. Buildings with glass curtain walls will be washed at least once a year. Those with marble and painted exterior walls would be washed and repainted every five years.
The headquarters has also announced guidelines for the appearance of the city's hutongs, which state that shops in the areas should be built in a traditional style and the walls along the streets repainted in a similar fashion.
Veteran urban planner Wang Dong criticised the five-colour idea. 'Cities and architecture are not pictures [to be painted] and cannot be simply designated one colour,' he said.
'The Olympic spirit cannot be expressed in this way.'
Members of the public were also unimpressed. 'It can't be. It's crazy,' said Wang Nan , 28. 'It's just like in middle school in the past when all girls were required to have short hair. It's a crude way of eliminating variety.'