Thumbs down for 'lucky' office

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 February, 2012, 12:00am

A 138-metre-high building shaped like an ancient Chinese gold coin or jade disc that will stand beside the Pearl River in Guangzhou has sparked heated online debate in the city.

The 33-floor headquarters of the Guangdong Plastics Exchange, now being built, merged an ancient Chinese jade disc with the look of a contemporary office building, chief engineer Wang Zhanshan said yesterday.

The one billion yuan (HK$1.23 billion) project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Its exterior will resemble an ancient gold coin, with a diameter of 146 metres and a 47-metre-wide hole in the middle.

The building, the creation of Italian architect Joseph Di Pasquale, has been listed as one of 10 new key projects in Guangdong province and has the full support of Guangzhou's city government. 'It's a real fusion of Western and Chinese design,' Wang said. 'The distinctive feature of the building is that it is shaped like an old Chinese jade or a waterwheel and also has good fung shui for attracting fortune.

'A golden coin, jade or waterwheel alongside the river means luck to Cantonese: Water brings money. I believe it will be a new symbol of Guangzhou.'

But the building has been widely criticised on the internet. 'It looks exactly the same as the ugly Fang Yuan building in Shenyang,' Guangzhou resident Luo Bihua said.

CNN Go, the travel and leisure website of the US-based network, listed the Fang Yuan building at No9 in its list of the 10 ugliest buildings in the world.

It is the creation of Taiwanese architect C.Y. Lee, who was also the architect of Taipei 101, at one time the world's tallest building. It also looks like an old Chinese coin - round with a square hole in the middle.

'I can't see any beauty in the two buildings,' He Huiying, a Guangzhou student said. 'Two golden coins? It only exposes the naked desire of the authorities and the property owners to chase money.'

Wang said the Guangdong Plastics Exchange welcomed all comments on the building's design.

'Beauty is different to different people,' he said. 'If the building is discussed before and after its completion, it will have already proved it is a successful piece of architecture.'



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