Is this the end for China's weird architecture?
China is well-stocked with unusual and copycat architecture, and the vast country boasts its own versions of Western landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, White House, Tower Bridge, and even an entire Austrian village. However, the New York Times reports that the days of weird Chinese architecture may well be numbered following a new directive issued by Chinese government.
The New York Times reports that the State Council, China's cabinet, and the Communist Party's Central Committee issued a directive on Sunday to the effect that the construction of zany projects that are devoid of cultural tradition should be dropped in favor of those that are deemed more "suitable" for China.
The move echoes a speech made by Chinese President Xi Jinping's in late 2014, in which he railed against what he termed "weird architecture."
No doubt Thames Town was on Mr Xi's mind as he made his speech. Located around 30 km (19 miles) from central Shanghai, China, Thames Town (pictured below) is styled as a little slice of England in the Middle Kingdom. Founded in 2001 and opened five years later, it certainly looks the part, and boasts authentic-looking British touches including cobbled streets, Victorian-era buildings and even a regular Catholic Sunday Mass, according to its official website.
Lest you think that Thames Town is a one-off, another massive counterfeit project seeks to realize the beautiful Austrian village of Hallstatt in China. As its sparse Wikipedia page details, the modern version of Hallstatt – named Hallstatt, naturally – was built by a Chinese mining company and is still under construction.
In addition to the above projects, China contains numerous copies of western landmarks, including London's Tower Bridge, the Château de Maisons-Laffitte and Pont Alexandre III, both of which originally hail from France.
Time will tell as to whether or not the edict has an effect on the country's billion-dollar industry of fake and wacky architecture projects, but if so, at least we'll always have the Doughnut-shaped hotel (above) to look back on.
Head to the image gallery to take a look at a short selection of some of the more weird and wonderful Chinese architecture projects we've covered.