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WEDNESDAY 30 JULY 2014

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Longxi International Hotel, Huaxi, China 
Monday 17 Oct 2011
 
Is Huaxi the next Shanghai? 
 
All images © Reuters 
 
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29/10/11 simon, shanghai
another very typical piece of gaudy chinese architecture already looks dated in comparison to what is happening in the west
20/10/11 Superich, HongKong
what an amazing building, while teh rest of the world is cerying and in depression over unemployement, here we have a city enjoying their new found wealth. Way to go!!
20/10/11 Tom, Beijing
horrible typical chinese building with a golden golf ball on top and horrible story.
that they really don't know where to throw the money.
just by looking at this areal view - its obvious just another faceless city.
planned and developed like the game "simcity"

probably its unavoidable to make "tabula rasa" and have a regular street grid for city extension
as there were since baroque period in europe for e.g.
just the outcome was a city worth living.

maybe my critizism fall on deaf ears - as the situation is a bit like in the US - a car oriented society.
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19/10/11 Peter Matters, Rural Victoria
Seeing that many countries, including China, have been humiliated for the best part of two hundred years by Europe and the US, it stands to reason that now the erstwhile underdogs are on the ascendancy, get a great kick by outdoing their tormentors at their own game.
Consumerism's values can easily defined in terms of money. So, now the former underdogs take pride in displaying their new powers by trying to outdo America's and Europe's worst examples of crass, decadent luxury.
Alas, at a time, when the planet is facing the greatest danger in history of being turned into a global rubbish tip due to gross, unsustainable, profligate overproduction, this sort of display of the power of money by anybody will not be appreciated by our children and most certainly by our grand children.
Peter, Anywhere.
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19/10/11 Iva, Sydney
Like so many cities, where is nature? The village-centre-city needs more
green spaces & ging by the photo looks like cleaner air!
The tower is impressive flow of space, hopefully it has minimal impact
in relation to energy use etc. At least the green colour and building forms
are nature complimenting. It has it is very asian in finish details, so tourist
and locals will not be bored with seeing something typical elsewhere.
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19/10/11 Andrew, Chicago
doesn't tickle my fancy. lots of money for something architecturally mediocre, that looks lavish and beautiful, yet hideous.
 

Editorial

China's richest village opens luxury 328m tower as it begins an architectural ascent 


In the 1950s it was home to around 600 hardworking farmers. Today this figure stands closer to 35,000. We are of course talking of Huaxi, a so-called ‘village’ in China’s Jiangsu province sprawling outwards at breakneck speed which last week opened a breathtakingly lavish 328m tower costing 3bn Yuan (£301m).

An Internet storm followed as blogs and Twitter users picked up on reports from reliable news sources listing seemingly impossible statistics: a £31m solid gold statue of an ox weighing over a tonne; a large proportion of the Huaxi villagers each donating 10m Yuan in shares; genuine flakes of gold inlaid on the reception floor...

The 800-suite building which acts primarily as a hotel and conference centre under the title Longxi International Hotel has become a symbol of China’s construction industry but for many, this is a bridge too far. Jonathan Watts, respected contributor to The Guardian, penned an enlightening article on Thursday detailing the troubles that may arise on the back of this luxury tower.

He explains: “In making the transition from third-world village to first-world skyscraper, Huaxi is in many ways a microcosm of China. But the next step will be harder as it tries to cope with the declining competitiveness of its core industry [iron and steel], the inflated cost of land and worries about the environment. In this case, an even wider comparison can be drawn: like the global economy, Huaxi may be bumping up against limits to growth.”

This isn’t a new phenomenon in China. Many of the nation’s most industrious cities have expanded swiftly through diversification into new fields, turning from agriculture to the iron and steel markets in the pursuit of rapid riches. Hong Kong and Beijing both swallowed up handfuls of minor villages on their perimeters as additional square miles were needed for the influx of new residents attracted by the growing financial rewards of such industrious developments.

It is in Shanghai that we find the closest comparison however. Once a modest coastal town relying on the textile and fishing industries for income, Shanghai’s economy boomed in the nineteenth century as international trading began to increase. Slowing in the mid twentieth century, the community (now considered a city) has grown extensively in the last two decades in terms of commerce and architectural development and is now home to some of the world’s most impressive (and expensive) buildings.

So has Shanghai set a sustainable business model for Huaxi? Potentially, but many put the latter’s recent wealth down to one man as opposed to pre-existing geographical elements for economic development. Wu Renbao is Party Chief of Huaxi Village, has been a delegate to two Communist Party National Congresses and is an elected deputy to the National People’s Congress. His work in escalating the living situation of Huaxi’s original residents has also earned him a place on a list of ‘Top National Contributors to Poverty-Alleviation’.

Speaking to The Guardian, the 84 year old Renbao determined: “[Longxi International Hotel] is my idea. We learned from Dubai, but taking into account our domestic situation, we decided the height should be 328m. Why 328m? Because that is as tall as the highest building in Beijing ... We used to have a very difficult life. We lived in a thatched shed, ate bran and had nothing in our pockets. I think it will never be wrong to expand the economy and make ordinary people rich. In our opinion, that is the priority.”

Sian Disson
News Editor

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 345(m€)
Editorial

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