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China is banning Copycat Architecture
Published on: 2020-05-20
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An Eiffel Tower in in Hangzhou which is located in eastern Chinas Zhejiang provinceAn Eiffel Tower in in Hangzhou, which is located in eastern China’s Zhejiang province

Did you know that there’s an Eiffel Tower in China? Or that Le Corbusier’s famous Ronchamp chapel for a time appeared in Zhengzhou? For years, the world’s most populous country has been a site for an odd variety of architectural replicas. But now, it seems as if that’s going to change. The Chinese government has banned further construction of “copycat” buildings, a popular architectural trend wherein builders in cities across China pay rather direct homage to European architecture and other foreign landmarks.

The copycat construction of the Great Sphinx of Giza in Hebei ProvinceThe copycat construction of the Great Sphinx of Giza in Hebei Province

The policy, announced by joint decree from China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, as well as the National Development and Reform Commission, aims to “strictly prohibit plagiarizing, imitating, and copycatting designs of other buildings,”. The guidelines will also limit new skyscraper construction, imposing a maximum height of 500 meters in most cases.

Suzhous Tower Bridge based on the bridge found in LondonSuzhou's Tower Bridge, based on the bridge found in London
Examples of copycat architecture include a “Thames Town” 40 minutes outside of Shanghai, a makeshift Paris (complete with that Eiffel Tower) in Hangzhou, and a knockoff of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands hotel in Chongqing. There’s even a replica of the White House in Jiangsu province. The notorious practice has even inspired complaints from foreign governments. A re-creation of the Great Sphinx was demolished in 2016 after a complaint from the Egyptian government, only for it to be rebuilt two years later in the same spot.

Window Of The World ShenzhenWindow Of The World, Shenzhen




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