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Ping An Finance Centre. Imae courtesy of Tim Grifith.

Ping An Finance Centre. Imae courtesy of Tim Grifith.

/ Press / People

James von Klemperer Speaks to Fast Company on Building Height Limits in China

With the firm’s extensive supertall portfolio in the region, the KPF President spoke with Nate Berg on the urban, economic, and aesthetic reasoning and impacts of the new restrictions.

Expanding on the 2016 declaration by the national government that “odd-shaped” buildings would no longer be approved for development, China recently prohibited the construction of new buildings over 500 meters, with additional limitations on buildings over 250 meters. James von Klemperer spoke with Fast Company’s Nate Berg on the topic, noting that the results will mean that only a handful of buildings will not be built. He said, “Cities don’t really need dozens of 500-meter towers. It’s a special, rarified building type and it does not belong everywhere for a number of reasons.” Towers over a certain height also come with economic and construction challenges and limitations – “building tall for the sake of building tall often doesn’t make sense,” writes Berg.

Over the last 15 years, China has amassed half of the top 20 tallest buildings, including KPF-designed Ping An Finance Centre, CITIC Tower, and Shanghai World Financial Center. Comparing cities to a chessboard that requires a balance between the majority of lower-rise buildings and only a few supertalls, von Klemperer said, “In China, we’ve gotten to the point now where the major cities have their kings and queens.”

Read the full article from Fast Company here.