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July 20, 2011

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Outcry at high-rises on the Bund plan

PLANS for a modern high-rise complex on the historic Bund have caused outrage among local residents.

The complex would feature five tall and narrow gold buildings, according to an artist's rendition released by SOHO China, the Beijing-based real estate developer.

Included in the development, due to be built in 2014, are two skyscrapers nearly three times the height of the nearby historic Bund buildings.

The buildings will be offices and hotels, SOHO said yesterday.

Many local residents say the high-rises are out of keeping with the Western-style historic buildings on the Bund that have long been an icon of the city.

Details of the plan posted on last Friday by SOHO have been re-tweeted more than 1,000 times on the Website and received around 400 comments, mostly criticism.

"These kind of modern buildings can be built in any other places in Shanghai but not on the Bund because they damage the overall atmosphere of the area in both the height and the architectural style," said Chen Guan, a local white-collar working in the area.

The Bund features more than 50 buildings of various architectural styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque built around 1900s.

The buildings lining the Huangpu River once housed numerous banks and trading houses from the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Italy, Russia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Belgium.

It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai.

Zheng Shiling, director of Institute of Architecture and Urban Space of Shanghai Tongji University, urged city planners to change the plan.

"The planner could make the buildings shorter and change the color to make them more harmonious with other Bund buildings," Zheng told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

However, Qian Zonghao, a Bund architecture expert and a professor of the Tongji University, supported the plan and said it would look more strange if the developer built an antique-style building.

SOHO spent 2.25 billion yuan (US$348 million) to buy the 22,462 square meters of land on Zhongshan Road E2 and Yong'an Road in June, according to previous media reports.

The developer declined to comment on the criticisms but said the artist's rendition would be the final design, as the city government and urban planning authority have approved the plan, according to Shanghai Evening Post.

An official with the Bureau of Planning and Land Resources of Huangpu District told Shanghai Daily the bureau had submitted the plan to the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Planning and Land Resources for final approval.


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