chinese doctor builds illegal mountaintop villa on bejing hi-rise
chinese doctor builds illegal mountaintop villa on bejing hi-rise chinese doctor builds illegal mountaintop villa on bejing hi-rise
aug 13, 2013

chinese doctor builds illegal mountaintop villa on bejing hi-rise

chinese doctor builds illegal mountaintop villa on bejing hi-rise
image © imaginechina



zhang biqing, a doctor of traditional medicine and owner of a successful chain of acupuncture clinics, has spent the past six years building a mountaintop villa– albeit on a bejing hi-rise rooftop. the illegal penthouse, while striking with its shrub-filled, bucolic-looking rocky expanse, has quickly become a symbol of systemic disregard for authority and regulation in contemporary chinese building culture. the sprawling synthetic landscape is essentially a private mountain peak embedded with a luxury villa and adds an extra two storeys to the 26 level building. the high-end residential compound in beijing’s haidan district, aptly dubbed park view, is conspicuously topped by the rocky terrain, winding walkways and garden trellises. the unabashed complex of staggered rooms has been subject to years of complaints by neighbors, but only recently have authorities deemed 1000 square meter mansion prime for demolition. the owner, a successful director of a traditional chinese medicine practice and former member of the district’s political advisory board, has 15 days to demolish the 15 million yuan (over 2.4 million USD) structure or provide incontrovertible proof that it is safe and structurally sound.



the issue of illegally built architecture is symptomatic of greater issues of economic disparity and the vague limits of ownership in the space-hungry country. in china, technically all land belongs to the state and homebuyers are merely bestowed a 70-year lease, thereby creating an opportunistic climate for wealth-based  impunity and rampant corruption to quickly manifest in the formation, alteration and acquisition of contested spaces. see recent designboom coverage of a cloned zaha hadid building in china here.




neighbors comment on the sizable and intrusive endeavor of the illegal mountaintop villa beijing

video © al jazeera



although the owner was reportedly cleared to build a two level villa, the addition of a full-on landscape, complete with trees, shrubbery and sizable rocks is well outside the law
image © imaginechina



elements of the addition are significantly outside safely buildable borders in the illegal mountaintop villa beijing
image © imaginechina



view of the conspicuous addition
image © imaginechina



the 24 storey structure now has an additional two ‘mountain villa’ levels
image © imaginechina

  • I guess he brought up the boulders in the middle of the night on the elevator. It should only be considered illegal if the the building became 14 floors.


    JimCan says:
  • The concept is very nice. The fake materials are not in keeping with the supposedly natural design. So sad.

    Fred A. Saas, Architect says:
  • FYI You missed the decimal place. 15 Million yuan is more like 2.4 million USD 😉

    Huo Xin Rong says:
  • they started demolishing it yesterday.

    Damian Holmes says:
  • How did the residents let the construction take place for so long anyway? Now that is complete they want “mountaintop” demolished ?

    Alexander Kandisaputro says:
  • love it

    junqueking says:
  • LOVE IT!
    Wish I’d seen it when I was in Beijing it would have given me a thrill. A little flirtation with nature in an architectural deadzone.

    egan whalen says:

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