Chinese city lopping a few towers for World Heritage designation

Here’s a new one. In a world where architects and urban planners are often focused on how to pack more into taller buildings, the Chinese city of Hangzhou is looking into the possibility of chopping off the top of several of its tallest buildings. Why? To help with the city’s bid to have its scenic lake area listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The victims include two high-end hotels and a TV tower.

I’m all for beautification as long as it’s done intelligently, but I had no idea that a World Heritage designation was prestigious enough to prompt such drastic measures. Hangzhou, judging by the description from the BBC, sounds nice enough to visit without a visitation from Procrustes: “Hangzhou was the capital of China in the 12th and 13th centuries and is considered to be one of the country’s most beautiful cities. Its lakeside temples and historic buildings draw large numbers of tourists each year.”

This is a trend to watch, though. Will other ancient cities be clamoring to cut their space-saving yet phallic buildings down to size?

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