By this time next year, a walk along the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China, will come with an unusual bonus: a view of the completed Guangdong Plastics Exchange research center/warehouse. Far from being just another boxy building, this unique, 1 billion yuan (US$159 million) edifice is patterned after objects the Cantonese traditionally associate with luck and good fortune. One thing's for certain - at 138 meters (453 feet) in height, with a 47 meter (154 foot) diameter hole in the center, this is one landmark that will be difficult to miss.
"It's a real fusion of Western and Chinese design," says chief project engineer Wang Zhanshan. "The distinctive feature of the building is that it is shaped like an old Chinese jade or a waterwheel and also has good feng shui for attracting fortune. A golden coin, jade or waterwheel alongside the river means luck to Cantonese: Water brings money."
Alas, like most unusual architecture, the early response has been less than rosy. Some unhappy locals probably see a giant donut or Lifesaver candy, but just as the Eiffel Tower and San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid building initially had vehement detractors, both structures are now well-loved and synonymous with their respective cities. The Italian architect behind the GDPE design, Joseph di Pasquale of the firm AM Progetti, hopes that his structure will evoke similar sentiment from future visitors to the city of Guangzhou.
The video below showcases the completed GDPE project's contribution to the skyline.