China bans cities from building skyscrapers taller than 1,640 feet

China bans cities from building skyscrapers taller than 1,640ft ‘to improve urban landscapes’

  • No new supertall skyscrapers are allowed except in ‘special’ circumstances
  • Cities must not ‘blindly’ build towers taller than 1,640 feet, a directive says
  • Construction of those measuring 820 feet or above will be ‘strictly limited’
  • Officials should design buildings that ‘represent Chinese characteristics’ 

China has banned all cities from building new supertall skyscrapers except in ‘special’ circumstances to improve urban landscapes, according to a directive.

The central government has prohibited regional officials from ‘blindly designing and building’ towers taller than 500 metres (1,640 feet).

The construction of those taller than 250 metres (820 feet) will be ‘strictly limited’, the document adds.

The Chinese government has banned cities from from ‘blindly designing and building’ towers taller than 500 metres (1,640 feet) except in special circumstances, according to a directive

The Ministry, however, has not explained what are the ‘special’ circumstances, under which cities can apply to construct supertall skyscrapers. 

China has the largest number of tall buildings in the world. 

It boasts more than 2,177 towers no shorter than 150 metres (492 feet) and 85 buildings taller than or at 300 metres (984 feet). 

In comparison, the United States, the world’s second-largest skyscraper country, has 807 buildings that measure 150 metres or above and 25 that stand at least 300 metres in height, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

But now, it seems that the Chinese government is determined to slow down the country’s breakneck construction to manage the appearance of its cities.

The new restrictions were rolled out by the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development on April 27.

China is home to six out of the 10 tallest buildings in the world, according to Emporis

China has been witnessing rocket-speed urban construction in the past two decades. The picture shows the central business district of Chongqing, a municipality in the south-west

The authority claims the regulation was approved in line with the nation’s ‘new-era architectural principle’ which requires urban structures to be ‘practical, economical, ecological and beautiful’.

The Ministry vows to clamp down on ‘huge, foreign-worshipping and wacky’ buildings. Copycat designs will be strictly forbidden.

Officials also demand cities to come up with building designs that can ‘strengthen cultural confidence’ and ‘represent Chinese characteristics’.

If any city does need to erect new supertall skyscrapers, relevant officials must first pass ‘strict inspections’ from the firefighting, earthquake and energy-saving authorities.

Then, they will have their proposals assessed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development – and eventually by the National Development and Reform Commission.  

The Ministry also instructs the local authorities to tighten the approval process for buildings taller than 100 metres (328 feet) and protect natural areas and historic buildings. 

China completed the 1,738-foot-tall Tianjin CTF Finance Centre in Tianjin last year. The skyscraper, situated in the eastern municipality of Tianjin, was the tallest new building of 2019

China has been witnessing rocket-speed urban construction in the past two decades.  

The nation is home to six out of the 10 tallest buildings in the world, according to figures from Emporis.

In the past year, Chinese cities built 40 per cent fewer skyscrapers compared to the previous year.

Nevertheless, it still completed the world’s tallest building of the year, the 530-metre-tall (1,738 feet) Tianjin CTF Finance Centre in Tianjin, according to a study.

Before that, the nation had achieved the feat four times in a row since 2015. 

The tallest complete skyscraper in China at present is the Shanghai Tower, which measures 632 metres (2,073 metres) in height and opened in 2016.


1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world at the moment. It’s set to be overtaken by the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, which boasts a height of one kilometres (3,280 feet)

One of the most famous buildings along the Persian Gulf, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world today, standing a mighty 828 metres (2,716 feet).

The mega skyscraper, complete in 2010, boasts 163 floors, which include a hotel, a restaurant, an observation deck and luxury apartments.

According to its developer, the total amount of concrete used to build the tower weighed as much as some 100,000 elephants combined.  

2. Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China

The Shanghai Tower (left) stands next to the Shanghai World Financial Centre (492 metres, 1,614 feet). It took the Chinese 11 years to build the nation’s tallest building

The pride of Chinese construction, the 632-metre-tall (2,073 feet) skyscraper dominates the skyline of Shanghai’s financial district. 

It is nicknamed ‘thermos flask’ due to its unique appearance to help it save energy.

The 128-storey structure has the world’s fastest lifts, which ascend at the speed of 18 metres (59 feet) per second. It also has the world’s highest observation deck at 561 metres (1,840 feet).  

3. Makkah Clock Royal Tower, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Home to a five-star hotel, the 601-metre-tall (1,971 feet) Makkah Clock Royal Tower is a part of a humongous seven-tower complex. The dramatic buildings were open in 2012

Located in the holy city of Mecca, the 76-storey building is the centre piece of a £10 billion ($15 billion) government-backed complex, called Abraj Al Bait.

Standing 601 metres (1,971 feet), the six-year-old building has the world’s largest clock face, which has a diametre of 46 metres (151 feet). The clock is so big that it could be seen from 25 kilometres (15 miles) away.

The building contains a 1,618-room luxury hotel.     

4. Ping An International Finance Center, Shenzhen, China

Ping An International Finance Center (centre) looms on the horizon of Shenzhen, one of China’s largest cities bordering Hong Kong. The tower is 599 metres tall (1,965 feet)

At 599 metres tall (1,965 feet), the impressive building is covered by 1,700 tonnes of stainless steel and sports a futurist look.

Complete in 2017, it is the world’s tallest office building with more than 100 floors devoted to Ping’an, a major insurance company in China.  

5. Goldin Finance 117, Tianjing, China

A general view shows the Goldin Finance 117, the third tallest complete building in China, being constructed in September, 2015. The building has 117 storeys

The diamond-shaped structure is just two metres (6.5 feet) shorter than the world’s fourth tallest building, also in China.

Measureing 597 metres (1,958 feet) in height, the 117-storey tower is set to have 85 floors of office spaces. It’s also expected to have a five-star hotel. 

The construction was complete in 2015, but it seems the building is still expected to open to the public.   

Source: Emporis

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