Sep 9, 2013

chinese doctor builds illegal mountaintop villa on bejing hi-rise

thanks alejandro!

chinese doctor builds illegal mountaintop villa on bejing hi-rise
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zhang biqing, a doctor of traditional medicine and owner of a successful chain of acupuncture clinics, has spent the past six years building a mountaintop villa-- albeit on a bejing hi-rise rooftop. the illegal penthouse, while striking with its shrub-filled, bucolic-looking rocky expanse, has quickly become a symbol of systemic disregard for authority and regulation in contemporary chinese building culture. the sprawling synthetic landscape is essentially a private mountain peak embedded with a luxury villa and adds an extra two storeys to the 26 level building. the high-end residential compound in beijing's haidan district, aptly dubbed park view, is conspicuously topped by the rocky terrain, winding walkways and garden trellises. the unabashed complex of staggered rooms has been subject to years of complaints by neighbors, but only recently have authorities deemed 1000 square meter mansion prime for demolition. the owner, a successful director of a traditional chinese medicine practice and former member of the district's political advisory board, has 15 days to demolish the 15 million yuan (over 2.4 million USD) structure or provide incontrovertible proof that it is safe and structurally sound.

the issue of illegally built architecture is symptomatic of greater issues of economic disparity and the vague limits of ownership in the space-hungry country. in china, technically all land belongs to the state and homebuyers are merely bestowed a 70-year lease, thereby creating an opportunistic climate for wealth-based  impunity and rampant corruption to quickly manifest in the formation, alteration and acquisition of contested spaces. see recent designboom coverage of a cloned zaha hadid building in china here.

neighbors comment on the sizable and intrusive endeavor of the illegal mountaintop villa beijing
video © al jazeera

although the owner was reportedly cleared to build a two level villa, the addition of a full-on landscape, complete with trees, shrubbery and sizable rocks is well outside the law
image © imaginechina

elements of the addition are significantly outside safely buildable borders in the illegal mountaintop villa beijing
image © imaginechina

view of the conspicuous addition
image © imaginechina

the 24 storey structure now has an additional two 'mountain villa' levels 

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