China is the capital of supertall skyscrapers. Why is it banning them?

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China is the supertall skyscraper capital of the world. It’s now home to 10 of the 20 tallest buildings in the world, all of which have been built in the past 15 years. But new rules just announced by the central government suggest that era may be ending.

As reported by the South China Morning Post, new rules from China’s National Development and Reform Commission prohibit the approval of any new buildings taller than 500 meters (1,640 feet), strictly limit buildings taller than 250 meters (820 feet), and require that any building taller than 100 meters (328 feet) match the spatial scale of the city and comply with local fire and rescue capabilities.

These new guidelines follow a recent string of architectural rulings from on high. In 2014, President Xi Jinping urged architects not to “engage in weird building”— pushing back against a quirk of China’s hyper-speed urbanization that led to the development of ersatz neighborhoods modeled on idealized English Towns, replicant White Houses and Eiffel Towers, and ambitiously engineered structures like the looping China Central Television Headquarters building in Beijing designed by OMA. The national government doubled down in 2016 declaring that “odd-shaped” buildings would no longer be allowed. “Bizarre architecture that is not economical, functional, aesthetically pleasing, or environmentally friendly will be forbidden,” the directive proclaimed.

+INFO: Fast Company

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