From a piano-shaped building to a Star Trek Enterprise replica, it's no secret China has become creative with its architecture. Here are 10 of the weirdest buildings you'll find scattered across the country.
1. Guangzhou Circle, China
Sitting at the edge of the Pearl River, this iconic landmark is the world's tallest circular building. 138 meters high and spread over 33 floors, the circular-shaped skyscraper serves as the headquarters for the world's largest stock exchange for raw plastic material, with over $38 billion worth of plastics traded inside annually.
Completed in 2013, the building was designed by Italian architect Joseph di Pasquale and was inspired by the iconic ancient jade discs in China.
"The architectural concept is for a building that will be immediately perceived as a native Chinese landmark using a closed and central structure instead of the usual western skyscrapers stereotype," Pasquale said of his creation.
It's best to visit the doughnut-shaped building when the sun is out as its reflection in the river forms a figure of eight which is famously a symbol of luck in Chinese culture. So much so, the Beijing Olympics kicked off at 8:08 am, on 8-8-2008.
2. Olympic Green, Beijing
Speaking of the Olympics, you can visit the Olympic Green, where the Summer Games were held. The two main attractions are the Bird's Nest (also known as the National Stadium) and Water Cube (aka the National Aquatic Centre). No doubt, their wacky design layout left a lasting impression on those who traveled from far and wide to watch the world's best athletes compete.
The Water Cube
Following a much-needed renovation, the aquatic centre was transformed into one of the most epic water parks in the world. Bright and vibrant inside, the building now houses water slides, an AquaLoop ride, and an area where you can swim beneath giant suspended jellyfish.
The Bird's Nest
Construction of the Bird's Nest began in 2003 and took 17,000 workers to create the eye-catching stadium. The clever design meant that no matter where the spectator was sitting during the Olympics, they could see the whole game without any obstruction. The tallest point of the stadium is 68.5 metres above ground and the open air area is covered by a transparent film which prevents water from falling through.
Since the closing ceremony, it has become one of the most successful landmarks in Beijing, drawing 20, 000 people to the site each day. The Bird's Nest is also a hotspot for people eager to snap a photo of the masterpiece and is lit up in the evenings from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm with red and yellow neon lights that give the illusion that the stadium is a burning fire.
During the winter, the stadium is transformed into an ice skating rink.
3. Teapot Building, Wuxi
Inspired by the red clay teapots that originated from the Eastern province of Jaingsu during the 15th century, the 10-storey Teapot Building is a major tourist attraction in Wuxi, China. The landmark was funded by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin of the Dalian Wanda group.
Nearly 50-metres wide and 40-meters high, the structure is made from steel and covered in aluminum sheets and stained glass.
Despite its extravagant exterior and its ability to rotate 360-degrees, the building is used as a tourist information office!
4. CCTV Headquarters, Beijing
In a city filled with two-dimensional towers, the China Central Television Headquarters is an alternative to the typology of the skyscraper.
A loop of six horizontal and vertical sections that were joined to become one and a half buildings, the CCTV Headquarters stands 234-metres tall and serves as the offices for China Media Group.
Construction began in 2004 and the complex design wasn't completed until early 2008. After two towers were built, they were eventually joined together in a perpendicular, 75-metre cantilever.
Because of its unusual shape, locals refer to the masterpiece— that won the 2013 Best Tall Building Worldwide— as "big pants."
5. Starship Enterprise, Changle
Built by a Star Trek fanatic to house his gaming and mobile app business, NetDragon Websoft, the headquarters look identical to the sci-fi film franchise's famous starship, USS Enterprise.
Located in the coastal city of Changle in China, the impressive building— which commenced construction in 2010 and ended in 2015— cost Liu Dejian, Chinese tech executive and founder of NetDragon $100 million. Dejian purchased the rights to build a home and an office space that's identical to the ship and to date, it is the only licensed Star Trek building in the world.
Viewed from the ground, the 260 metre long and 100 metre wide building looks like a normal office space, however, satellite imagery shows the entire campus, complete with a football field and indoor pool.
6. Hot Spring Resort, Huzhou
Nicknamed "Horseshoe Hotel," the Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort was designed by Beijing-based architect, Ma Yansong.
Shaped like a doughnut and standing at 100-metres tall and 116-metres wide, the popular hotel lies beside Taihu Lake and is a two-hour drive from Shanghai. At night, LED lights shine on its exterior, creating beautiful patterns and colours that also reflect in the lake water.
The resort comprises of 321 rooms and villas and every room has a view of the lake.
7. National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing
Designed by Paul Andreu, the French architect considered the creation of the National Centre for Performing Arts "his life work." Dubbed as the "alien egg," Andreu set out to create a structure that resembled a futuristic bubble.
The $300 million building resides in an artificial lake surrounded by 39,000 square metres of tranquil green gardens. The dome itself is covered in glass and titanium.
Guests arrive in the building after walking through an underwater corridor with glass ceilings. The building, which can hold up to 7000 guests also features an opera house, a theatre, and a concert hall.
Andreu's creation is best appreciated at night under the spotlights.
8. Ordos Museum, Kangbashi
The city of Ordos lies at the southwestern edge of the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia. The small town isn't even 15 years old yet but has a brand-new museum that is said to be inspired by the Gobi Desert.
Shaped like a large undulating blob, the Ordos Museum is meant to look futuristic and is covered in polished metal tiles. Galleries inside the museum are housed in smaller blobs and are connected by small brides. The interior is simple and bright.
9. The Lotus Building, Wujun
It's one of China's most beautiful buildings, and we have Australian architects Studio 505 to that for that!
Located at the heart of Wujun and blooming out of an artificial lake, the Lotus Building was an addition to an existing double storey subterranean municipal facility. It was designed to show three stages of the lotus flower in bloom and is home to departments of the city’s planning bureau. Much of the building and its conference rooms are hidden beneath the lake.
Oozing light and warmth, the external petals are filled with pink and yellow ribs which further enhance the atmosphere.
Since its completion in 2013, The Lotus Centre has become one of the most popular landmarks.
10.The Piano Building, Huainan
Combining music and architecture, the Piano Building is one of the most famous landmarks in China. The masterpiece was built in 2007 by architectural students at Hefei University of technology and is designed almost entirely out of black and transparent glass.
The violin serves as an escalator for visitors to make their way through the different floors of the main piano building. Beneath the lid of the piano lies a roof terrace and below is comprised of various concert halls and practice areas for musicians who attended local colleges in the area.
The building is now a showroom for city development plans.