Chinese city to chop towers in bid for Unesco listing


While Penang is allowing high-rise buildings to be put up in George Town, thus risking its prized World Heritage status, officials in Hangzhou, the capital of ancient China, plan to slice off the top floors of high-rise towers, including exclusive hotels and a TV tower, in a bid to secure similar status.

Imagine, they are even talking about reducing the height of their Shangri-La Hotel. Now that shows real determination to maintain the historical character of their city.

Now I am not advocating that we slice off any existing buildings.

But here we are in Penang, merrily approving and allowing more high-rise towers in our heritage zone before and after winning World Heritage status.

What a contrast!

Check out this BBC report:

Chinese city downsizes for Unesco

The top floors of several high-rises in the Chinese city of Hangzhou are to be lopped off to help the city’s bid for world heritage status, officials say.

Two exclusive hotels, a TV tower and a number of other buildings around the beautiful West Lake area will all be made shorter, the developer said.

The 40m yuan ($5.8m) project is to help the city become a Unesco World Heritage site, Chinese media reports.

But one of the hotels named said it was unaware of the plans.

“We haven’t received any order or any notice about it. But we’re also very concerned and will pay close attention to this,” a spokeswoman from the Shangri-La hotel told the Associated Press news agency.

Prestigious title

Wang Shuifa, who is heading the project, earlier told a news conference that officials were wanting to lower the hotel’s east wing.

The east wing currently has seven storeys, with a penthouse presidential suite offering lakeside views costing as much as 30,000 yuan ($4,300) per night.

“We have hired foreign firms to draft detailed plans of how to reduce the height of the Shangri-La, whose owners will be compensated,” Mr Wang was quoted by the China Daily newspaper as saying.

He went on to say that the main tower of the Huabei hotel and a television tower were also among the buildings that needed to be made shorter.

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.

China applied in 1996 for the scenic area around the lake to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, a prestigious title aimed at preserving sites of cultural or natural importance.

The Hangzhou government warned in July that all buildings over 24m (79ft) high on the lake’s east bank would have to be shortened to clear the skyline, the newspaper reports.

Xinhua news agency says the shortening project is expected to be completed by April.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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17 Sep 2009 10.28pm

The state government is new, inexperienced…. LGE need a mentor, people like LKY…

What happen if you are a rebellious youngster, and suddenly become a parent, without your parent around to give you direction? continue complaining? or start to develop your parenting skills?

He need good exco, he need good councilors, he need good people and capable around him….

He become CM unexpected and I wonder he is prepared at the time…

He need help, from the people who voted him in…..

15 Dec 2008 7.00am

What baffles me is that we had so many stakeholders here. One of which is the PHT and also a reknowned architect to oversee the heritage thingy? In fact, why is PHT so quiet lately and why is the rest of the world condemming the current govt. if they knew there were height restrictions? I now make a straight forward comment – trust no one. In fact, the new govt should question those who were advisors why they never squeak at all. I seriously think self interest is at play. Anil – be real lar .Why don’t you write about… Read more »

nick chan
nick chan
15 Dec 2008 12.51am

redraw george town border to exclude those high rise building.

14 Dec 2008 10.35pm

If those commies hav common sense…I don’t see why doesn’t anyone knock some cow sense into Penang DAP goverment before we start losing the status n lives…

Andrew I
14 Dec 2008 6.00pm

Even the commies know a thing or two about heritage i.e. how much is to be made from the increase in tourist arrivals. Quite a contrast to that Mao fella, don’t you think?

14 Dec 2008 5.26pm

Let’s wait and see, if the Communist government makes the call, you think the developers in China have the balls to take them to court? They will probably be shot. Here it is different. Someone else controls the court. Allahyarham Tun Suffian said that he wouldn’t want to be tried in a Malaysian court, especially if he is innocent. You get the drift? So in Penang, it’s not that easy. I agree that Penang should maintain the status; the question is now the how. Give them romm and Let them work it out. I’m, sure there’s light at the end… Read more »

14 Dec 2008 5.18pm

The Penang Government must take into account the World Hertage Site status of Penang and make changes to any planning esp high rise buildings to conform to the status conferred.
Developers must NOT in seeking profits neglect or ignore the world heritage status as its a rare recognition and carries international recognition and a big tourist attraction.

14 Dec 2008 5.17pm

This is not something new. In Guilin another beautiful city, high rise buildings have a limitation on height, so as not to block the beautiful mountains as a background to the city. They have learned fast and learned well. That is why, tourists are still flocking there in great number to see this heavenly place.

14 Dec 2008 3.27pm

Let see how well LGE and its administration would pull things through! If LGE and its team would get UNESCO recognition plus 4 buildings intact without having to pay those developers. My guess is DAP shall be in Penang forever

UNESCO is no god. They are humans.