And finally… China puts ban on ‘weird architecture’

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has reportedly called for an end to “weird architecture” in a country that has seen a huge construction boom.

Much of China’s older building stock is made up of Soviet-style concrete blocks, but in recent years property development has played a huge economic role.

The phenomenon has drawn architects from around the world, from big names such as Zaha Hadid to younger unknowns who see opportunities to design towers long before their careers could reach such heights in the West.

But some unconventional and costly buildings, often owned by state-controlled institutions, have been controversial, sparking criticisms of wasted public funds.

The futuristic new Beijing headquarters of state broadcaster China Central Television were designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas but popularly nicknamed ‘The Big Underpants’.

There have meanwhile been complaints that a pair of bridges over the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing are remarkably reminiscent of female genitalia.

Xi, who took over as Communist leader nearly two years ago, told a group of artists last week that China should build “no more weird architecture”, reported the website of the People’s Daily, the ruling party’s mouthpiece.

The newspaper’s own new home - an unmistakably phallic tower - was so widely mocked by internet users last year that China’s censors blocked the discussions.

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