From Star Trek Enterprise replicas, massive rings, and even a piano-shaped building, there are plenty of weird Chinese buildings to see. There’s already a lot about China that makes the country unique, but few people consider that crazy architecture in China might be one of them. Here are a few examples.
Up until about 20 years ago, most of China’s buildings were concrete squares void of any creativity or hint or architectural ingenuity. Even the Chinese buildings that were interested ended up being a rip off of some foreign architecture.
Times have changed, however, and not only has China become more creative with some of its architecture…it’s become borderline weird.
These are twelve of the most weird Chinese buildings with unique China architecture you’ll find scattered across this vast country’s landscape.
1. Star Trek Enterprise Building – Fuzhou
Built by a Star Trek super fan (obviously!), this building houses the tech company DragonNet and is modeled after the USS Enterprise – the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E to be exact. The inside features 30-foot slides made of metal for quick access to the ground level, automatic sliding doors between rooms, and a huge replica of a T-Rex (wait…what?).
If this isn’t an example of ingenious architecture in China, I’m not sure what is 🙂
- Total cost: $97 million
- Location: Fujian, China
2. The Piano House – Huainan
This house located in Huainan, China is every music lovers dream. It was built by students studying architecture in China at Hefei University of Technology in 2007 and is currently being used by city planners as a showroom.
The main part of the house is located in the grand piano which can be accessed via a staircase in the glass violin.
3. “The Pants” CCTV Headquarters – Beijing
The headquarters of China Central Television calls this non-traditional skyscraper home. The building has 54 floors and sports a unique, geometric design. The building is actually shaped like a loop with the two “L” shaped buildings connecting at the top and the bottom.
It is from this building that most of China’s television broadcasts are filmed, produced and broadcast. I’ve been in this building and at the furthest corner of the cantilevered portion, the floor is glass that looks straight down to the ground. It’s not a place to stand for the faint-of-heart!
Curious to see what this building looks like on the inside? Check out my behind-the-scenes video of my interview at the CCTV building.
4. The Lotus Building – Wujin
Located in Wujin, China this amazing building appears to be growing right out of the water. Built by Studio 505, an Australian architecture firm, this beautiful structure- modeled after the lotus flower- hosts the city’s planning bureau.
The entrance can be found below the lake and the inside holds meetings rooms, conference centers, and exhibition halls. It’s more for show than for practical use, but it still displays a fascinating take on architecture in China.
5. Ring of Life – Fushun
This stunning structure is located in Fushun, China and stands a whopping 515-feet tall. The giant steel ring has an observation deck that can be accessed by an elevator, and is lit up by 12,000 LED lights at night.
During the major Chinese national holidays you can get a good bird’s eye view of all the festivities, including the fireworks along the river!
- Total cost: $16 million
6. The Beijing Tianzi Hotel
This hotel, also known as the “Son of Heaven Hotel”, was featured in the Guinness World Record in 2011 as the ‘biggest image building’. The three giant figures depicted on the façade of the building are the gods Lu, Fu, and Shou.
The figure on the left in orange (Shou) is holding a peach which is actually a suite, the holes you see are windows.
7. New Century Global Center – Chengdu
This building takes the prize for being the biggest building by volume in the world. It’s so large, in fact, that 20 Sydney Opera houses could fit inside of it!
Upon entering this giant structure, visitors will find a university complex, a shopping center, an IMAX theater, and a Mediterranean village among other attractions. It may not look like it on the outside but on the inside, this is definitely a weird Chinese building.
8. Zoho Peaks – Beijing
These towers live up to their name as they look like 3 mountains nestled into the landscape – a very interesting example of modern architecture in China. Designed by Zaha Hadid, these beauties are located between the airport and Beijing City – you’ll pass by them if you take the airport express train. The towers are used for both retail space and offices as well as decorating the skyline.
Unfortunately you won’t find any Chinese apartments in these buildings, but that’s probably for the better since those suckers would be expensive!
9. Guotai Arts Center – Chongqing
This building is a blend of traditional and modern style built to resemble chopsticks and a hot pot. This building is used for recreation by locals; performances, shows, and other art events take place here.
If you look closely, you’ll see some of the walkways, windows and porticos sticking out of this weird Chinese building.
10. Henan Art Center – Zhengzhou
While these buildings may look like futuristic golden eggs, they are actually inspired by ancient Chinese instruments. Although abstract, the wind instruments portrayed are the Xun, Bone Flute, and Pan-Flute.
The buildings were designed by Carl Ott and feature a grand theater, an art gallery, a concert hall, VIP lounges, and a museum.
11. Wuliangye Yibin Building – Yibin, Sichuan
This building doesn’t leave much to the imagination when it comes to guessing what it’s used for. Fashioned after a Wuliangye bottle, the Wuliangye group brews up some pretty potent drinks including the popular Chinese liquor known as baijiu inside.
Life-sized bottles dot the landscape completing the experience. Warning: try this liquor at your own risk!
12. Sheraton Hotel – Huzhou
Located in Huzhou, Ma Yansong and MAD Architects didn’t hold back on this hotel. Shaped like a horseshoe, the Sheraton appears to be emerging from the water.
The 27-story building made of glass and steel has amazing views and an impressive light show. These are definitely not the places you’ll find on every person’s bucket list, but it’s certainly an example of unique Chinese architecture!
Conclusion | Weird Chinese Buildings & Architecture
China’s been known for decades as a country that either has boring concrete buildings or rips off architecture from other countries. While this is often still the case, as you can see there are plenty of weird Chinese buildings with some unique architecture that are being built around the country.
Which of these weird Chinese buildings was your favorite? Leave a comment below to let us know!