Thursday, December 13, 2012





The growth of China's massive population has slowed in recent years, but migration to urban areas has increased, with almost half of China's 1.3 billion people living in or near cities. A booming economy, government housing initiatives, infrastructure programs, and private real estate speculation have all driven construction to record levels. New apartment, office, and government buildings regularly rise up over older neighborhoods, and thousands have relocated to modern housing complexes. The blend of old and new Chinese architecture is ever-present in cities and villages, as older buildings are torn down and newer ones built at ever faster rates. The images below show glimpses of Chinese architecture, both traditional and modern, as it appears today.


A reflection (left) mirrors a scene of offices and shopping centers in Hong Kong, on March 19, 2011. (Antony Dickson/AFP/Getty Images)


Ethnic Dong minority villagers walk through a covered bridge on their way to a Kam Grand Choir gathering in Tongguan village of Liping county, Guizhou province, on October 17, 2011. (Reuters/Sheng Li) #


A worker walks down a road between houses under construction in Huaxi village, in Jiangsu province, on October 7, 2011.(Reuters/Carlos Barria) #


A hostess stands below the newly opened Galaxy Soho building in Beijing, on October 27, 2012. Galaxy Soho, a new office, retail and entertainment building, was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #


A partially demolished "nail house", the last house in the area, at a construction site in Hefei, Anhui province, on February 2, 2010. The owner of the house attempted to seek more compensation before agreeing to the demolition of their house, local media reported.(Reuters/Stringer)

Remember Chinese homeowner Luo Baogen and his wife, who refused to allow the government to demolish their home in Wenling, China, leaving it stranded in a river of asphalt? (Previous entry) Apparently they have now accepted a somewhat larger offer of compensation, and the wrecking crew rolled right in. The Associated Press reported that Xiayangzhang village chief Chen Xuecai said the house was bulldozed on Saturday after Baogen agreed to accept compensation of 260,000 yuan ($41,000).

Excavators are used to demolish a house standing alone in the middle of a newly built road in Wenling, China, on December 1, 2012. Luo Baogen, the owner of the house, who earlier refused to sign an agreement to allow his house to be demolished, finally signed the agreement after discussions with the local government and his relatives. The demolition of the house started this Saturday, local media reported.(Reuters/China Daily)


(From last week) A half-demolished apartment building stands in the middle of a newly-built road thanks to a Chinese couple that refused to move in Wenling, Zhejiang province, on November 22, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


A November 22, 2012 photo of Luo Baogen showing a permit to the collectively-owned land as he stands before his half-demolished apartment building in the middle of a newly-built highway in Wenling. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


Baogen's building in the middle of a newly-built road, on November 22, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


On Saturday, December 1, 2012, excavators are used to demolish Baogen's house in Wenling. (Reuters/China Daily) #


The former home of duck farmer Luo Baogen comes down under the arm of an excavator, in Zhejiang province, on December 1, 2012. Luo's house was the only building left standing on the road, which was paved through the village. (Reuters/China Daily)

In Taiyuan, in northern China's Shanxi province, construction began on a new high-end residential compound last year. When developers needed to excavate a cemetery for the building's foundation, they offered to pay villagers to relocate the remains of loved ones. One family refused to budge, complaining that the compensation was too low. In China, such disputed plots are typically known as "nail houses," and developers continue to build around them while the issue is resolved. In this case, workers carved out a "nail grave" belonging to the family of Chang Jinzhu. The small, bizarre column stood 10 meters above the foundation floor for months. This week, it was reported that Jinzhu's family had reached an agreement with the construction consortium, receiving 800 Yuan ($128 USD) in compensation. A platform and bridge to the gravesite were built, and the family had the four coffins and gravestones removed.

A 10-meter-high tomb stands in a construction site, waiting to be relocated, in Taiyuan, north China's Shanxi province, after the owner of this "nail grave" reached an agreement with the construction consortium and would receive 800 yuan ($128 USD) in compensation, on December 13, 2012. Government-backed land grabs have become a volatile problem as officials and developers seek to cash in on the nation's property boom, sometimes forcing people out of their homes without proper compensation. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)


Construction workers building around a grave mound 10 meters high, at a construction site in a village in Taiyuan, China, on December 6, 2012. The owner of the grave and the construction consortium are arguing over compensation to be paid. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


Construction takes place around a grave mound 10 meters high, at a residential construction site in Taiyuan, China, on December 6, 2012.(STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


Looking up at the "nail grave" from the bottom of a construction pit, a new residential structure rising up nearby, in Taiyuan, China, on December 6, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


An isolated family gravesite measuring 10 square meters, in the construction site of a building in Taiyuan, China, on December 6, 2012.(Reuters/Stringer) #


Workers erect scaffolding as they prepare to relocate an ancestral tomb in Taiyuan, on December 12, 2012. According to local reports, village officers have reached an agreement with the family of the deceased to move the grave without raising compensation. The family was contacting a feng shui master for an auspicious day for the move. (Reuters/Stringer) #


A newly-erected bridge and platform surround Taiyuan's "nail grave", awaiting grave relocators, on December 13, 2012.(STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


Villagers stand around an ancestral tomb which is being relocated from a construction site of a residential compound in Taiyuan, on December 18, 2012. The tomb had been left in the middle of the construction site for about 7 months after the building project started.(Reuters/Stringer) #


A worker watches as an ancestral tomb is moved from a construction site of a residential compound in Taiyuan, on December 18, 2012.(Reuters/Stringer) #


Villagers carry coffins containing remains of deceased from an ancestral tomb away from a construction site in Taiyuan, on December 18, 2012. The family owners of the tomb, with the help of some villagers, relocated four coffins containing the remains of the deceased on Tuesday morning. According to local reports, the family did not fulfil their agreement with village officers which requires them to move the tomb before December 15. The family said they were waiting for an auspicious date for relocation. (Reuters/Stringer) #


Villagers carry a gravestone of an ancestral tomb away from a construction site in Taiyuan, on December 18, 2012. According to local reports, the family failed to meet their agreement with village officers which required them to move the tomb before December 15. The family said they had been waiting for an auspicious date for relocation. (Reuters/Stringer) #


Inside the Jin Mao Tower in the financial district of Pudong, the Grand Hyatt hotel occupies 34 floors. Photo taken on January 17, 2011.(Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images) #


A visitor uses her mobile phone to take a picture of herself in front of the Liyuan Library at Jiaojiehe village of Huairou district, in Beijing, on September 8, 2012. A total of 45,000 firewood sticks were used to cover the glass wall of the building. The library opens its door to public for free every weekend, local media reported. (Reuters/Barry Huang) #


People visit the Liyuan Library at Jiaojiehe village, in Beijing, on September 8, 2012. The 175-square-meter library, designed by Professor Li Xiaodong from the School of Architecture of Tsinghua University, took seven months to build and costs more than one million yuan ($157,660). The library has no electricity and closes at 4:30 pm, when the light fades. (Reuters/Barry Huang) #


Clothes hang outside a bus which has been converted into a dwelling for Lu Changshan and his wife, near newly-constructed residential buildings in Hefei, Anhui province, on November 12, 2012. Lu, 39, and his 36-year-old wife Zhang Dingmei have been living in a bus for more than three years selling cement and sand as their livelihood. In order to constantly watch over their construction materials and save on rent, they chose to live in the bus. They have moved three times during the past three years to be next to newly-constructed residential buildings where they could have more customers, local media reported. (Reuters/Stringer) #


The Opus building, in Hong Kong, photographed on August 27, 2012. A luxury apartment in the Opus building was sold for a record 470 million HKD (61 million USD), making it the priciest condominium in the Chinese city and possibly in Asia, reports said on August 24.(Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #


Chinese newlyweds pose for wedding photographs in Thames Town on November 19, 2010 in Songjiang, China. Chinese wedding couples gather daily to have their wedding portraits taken in the themed "Thames Town", 35 km from central Shanghai, China and situated on the Yangtze River. The architecture both imitates and is influenced by classic English market town styles.(Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) #


An emblem decorates the pavement next to a fountain inside a building designed to look like a Roman Colosseum, at Florentia Village in the district of Wuqing, located on the outskirts of the city of Tianjin, on June 13, 2012. The shopping center, which covers an area of some 200,000 square meters, was constructed on a former corn field at an estimated cost of US$220 million and copies old Italian-style architecture with Florentine arcades, a grand canal, bridges, and a Colosseum-like building. (Reuters/David Gray) #


A bus passes along a highway in front of residential housing in Hong Kong, on August 17, 2010. (Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images) #


Heavy traffic on a highway through Shanghai, on March 26, 2012. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) #


Earthen Tulou buildings in Tianluokeng village, Nanjing county. The walled structures, constructed to defend against outside dangers, have served the Hakka people since 11th century, when their ancestors settled in southwest Fujian province. (Reuters/Stringer) #


Interior view of an earth building located at Chuxi Village, Xiayang town, Yongding county, in east China's Fujian Province. There are about 30,000 earth buildings, dating mostly from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, in the Fujian Province, southern and eastern China. (Reuters/Kin Cheung) #


Interior view of "Yuchang" earth buildings located in Xiayang town, Yongding county, in east China's Fujian Province.(Reuters/Kin Cheung) #


Lightning strikes the top of a building in Foshan in south China's Guangdong province, on June 21, 2010. (AP Photo) #


A worker looks up at the honeycomb-shaped walls of the National Aquatics Centr, also known as the "Water Cube", which was the venue for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games swimming and diving competitions in Beijing, on March 27, 2012. (Reuters/David Gray) #


The 2008 Beijing Olympics venue for the beach volleyball competition lies deserted and unmaintained in central Beijing, on April 2, 2012. While the gigantic structures built for the Beijing Olympics, such as the "Bird's Nest", and the "Water Cube", are now used for cultural and sports events, some other Beijing Olympic venues, such as the rowing and kayaking center, baseball arena and BMX track, have been left either deserted or been completely demolished. (Reuters/David Gray) #


A man climbs down a ladder after sweeping dust from atop the entrance to his small residence in a "hutong", (or small alley in Chinese) in central Beijing, on April 22, 2011. Doorways leading to "hutongs" and their "siheyuan" (or small courtyard houses in Chinese) once criss-crossed the city, but they are quickly disappearing with Beijing's fast evolution into a modern metropolis. (Reuters/David Gray) #


The former Kunming city hall topples during a controlled demolition in Kunming, Yunnan province, on December 25, 2011.(Reuters/China Daily) #


Xian Xiyong, son of Li Jie'e, cries next to a police line after his mother jumped off a building and died at a demolition site of Yangji village in Guangzhou, Guangdong province May 10, 2012. Jie'e, a resident of Yangji village, jumped off a building on Thursday after her house was demolished on March 21, local media reported. (Reuters/Stringer) #


A laborer paints framework as he stands on the roof of a building at a construction site in Wuhan, Hubei province, on August 26, 2011.(Reuters/Stringer) #


A construction worker at a building site in Shanghai, on August 4, 2010. (Reuters/Aly Song) #


Residential buildings in the Sham Shui Po region in Kowloon, on November 21, 2011 in Hong Kong. (Aaron Tam/AFP/Getty Images) #


The main square in the city center of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, on September 12, 2011. The city which is commonly referred to as a "Ghost Town" due to its lack of people, is being built to house 1.5 million inhabitants. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #


The City Library (left) and the Ordos Museum building, in the city center of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, on September 12, 2011. The city is being built to house 1.5 million inhabitants and has been dubbed as the "Dubai of China" by locals. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #


Fishermen navigate their boats past older buildings, which are under demolition work in front of hotel buildings that are under construction on the man-made Fenghuang (Phoenix) island, at a fishing port in Sanya, Hainan province, on April 18, 2012. A central government plan to create a high end tourist industry on the tropical Hainan island has delivered a much-anticipated surge in economic growth, but it has also widened the wealth gap between rich and poor that Beijing was trying to close. (Reuters/China Daily) #


A replica of Stonehenge stands in a park beside a new housing project in Hefei, east China's Anhui province, on May 7, 2012.(STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


A building in the shape of a castle stands uncompleted in a field in what would have been an amusement park called 'Wonderland', on the outskirts of Beijing, on December 5, 2011. Construction work at the park, which was promoted by developers as 'the largest amusement park in Asia', stopped around 1998 after funds were withdrawn due to disagreements over property prices with the local government and farmers. For more on this site, see China's Abandoned Wonderland. (Reuters/David Gray) #


A girl wearing ballet clothes poses for a photo by the Apple Community in Beijing, on July 7, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #


Laborers install ledges on the balcony of an apartment at an unfinished residential building in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on March 11, 2011.(Reuters/Sean Yong) #


Ongoing construction of what will be the highest building in Shanghai, the Shanghai Tower, seen on August 5, 2012.(STR/AFP/Getty Images) #


A Chinese man paints the scenery while a villager rows a wooden boat passing by some of the Ming Dynasty's ancient buildings built along a river in Xitang, Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province, on May 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #


Laborers work on the roof of a building under construction in Beijing, on July 13, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #


Migrant laborers work at a demolished residential site in downtown Shanghai, on September 5, 2012. (Reuters/Aly Song) #


A resident hangs clothes to dry in the sun in front of a row of newly built apartment buildings in Hefei, Anhui province, on September 24, 2010. (Reuters/Stringer) #


Laborers work on top of a building near a 24.2 meter tall statue of Song Qingling, the wife of Sun Yat-sen, in Zhengzhou, Henan province, on November 4, 2011. (Reuters/Donald Chan) #


A visitor prepares to take a picture of the newly opened Galaxy Soho building, in Beijing, on October 27, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #


Remnants of an old house interior, after demolition in the old district of Kashgar, in Xinjiang province, on August 4, 2011.(Reuters/Carlos Barria) #


The old district of Kashgar, in Xinjiang province, seen before newer construction in the background, on August 4, 2011. The renovations of the old Kashgar center are a prime example of China's modernizing campaigns in minority ethnic regions. However many city residents have mixed feelings about the disappearance of the narrow streets and adobe homes once hailed as the best surviving example of Central Asian architecture. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) #


A student hangs a quilt to dry on the balcony of her university dormitory on a sunny day in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on February 18, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) #


A collapsed building in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, March 21, 2011. The seven-story building, which was under construction, collapsed and damaged nearby shops. No casualties were reported and the cause of the collapse was being investigated, according to China Daily.(Reuters/China Daily) #


Window cleaners stand on a platform hanging from the front of the CCTV (China Central Television) building on a sunny day in central Beijing, on March 22, 2011. (Reuters/David Gray) #


Labourers use excavators to demolish residential building from the top down, in Yuhuan County of Taizhou City, Zhejiang province, on December 6, 2011. The building, completed in January 2011, was discovered to incline to the west due to a weak piling foundation on November 1. (Reuters/China Daily) #


Modern apartments rise behind older buildings in the Sheung Wan district of Hong Kong, on August 3, 2010.(Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images) #


Li Rong, a 37-year-old woman, sits on a bed as she poses for photos in her 35-square-foot (3.2 square meter) subdivided flat inside an industrial building in Hong Kong, on November 1, 2012. In a cramped space on the fifth floor of an old industrial building in Hong Kong, Li lives in some of the priciest real estate per square foot in the world - a 35 sq ft room with a bunk bed and small TV.(Reuters/Tyrone Siu) #


Newly-built apartments near the downtown of Kashgar, in Xinjiang province, on August 5, 2011. Picture taken through a window of an airplane. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) #


A construction site for the high speed railway, linking Hong Kong to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, in Hong Kong's Kowloon, on November 25, 2010. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu) #


Public and private residential blocks line a hillside in Hong Kong, on June 19, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)


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