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China calls for halt to 'odd' European-designed buildings

European architects will no longer be able to flex their experimental muscles in China after the state issued a crackdown on the growing number of extravagant and expensive buildings.

The Chinese Construction Ministry has announced new guidelines which aim to deter government officials from sanctioning public buildings that needlessly waste money and electricity.

China has, in recent years, experienced an extraordinary rate of economic growth and, with the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the country is now witnessing a massive construction boom, leading to an explosion of controversial buildings.

Swiss practice Herzog and de Meuron, which is designing the main stadium for the 2008 Olympics (pictured above), claimed in a recent press conference that it 'couldn't do what we are doing in Beijing anywhere else in the world'.

Rem Koolhaas is another who has been given free rein in China, building one of the world's largest structures in the shape of his China Central TV building (pictured below). The Dutch starchitect is currently constructing an enormous 230m-tall building, which has a floor space of 405,000m2.

A statement posted on the Chinese government's official website said: 'In recent years, in some places there's been a fever for international tenders for major public buildings, especially landmark projects.

'Some foreign architects are divorced from China's national conditions and single-mindedly pursue novelty, oddity and uniqueness.'

by Richard Vaughan

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