Strange new building turns heads in Shanghai, goes viral online

People are excited about an unconventional new structure popping up in Shanghai, but they're also worried about how to look after such a novel space.
Imaginechina

An eye-catching new piece of architecture near Suzhou Creek in Shanghai.

Netizens are comparing an eye-catching new piece of architecture near Suzhou Creek in Shanghai to “the Hanging Gardens of Babylon,” leading pictures of the structure to go viral online.

The structure – designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the world-renowned British architect behind the UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo – is located east of the Changhua Road Bridge near Suzhou Creek, and looks surprisingly like a hill when viewed from above. It is still under construction, but will be completed by April next year.

The Internet has been wowed by the structure’s unconventional wedge-shaped pieces – said to be balconies – which are scattered high and low. There are currently about 400 such balconies, each with a tree planted on top, adding to the structure’s hill-like appearance. 

Imaginechina

An eye-catching new piece of architecture near Suzhou Creek in Shanghai.

After completion it is said that there will be up to 1,000 of these balconies filled with plants and trees.

As with most viral topics online, opinions are mixed. While many netizens have applauded the structure’s unconventional beauty, some have expressed their concerns over follow-up maintenance of the many plants and trees that will grow from it.

The multifunctional structure is expected to combine schools, residential areas, retail space, a hotel and offices. It will eventually be a nine-story building with a height of 59.9-meters, complete with a three-story basement.

Heatherwick’s other designs include the Summer Olympics and Paralympics cauldron for the London 2012 Olympics, and the Fosun Foundation Art Center on the Bund.

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