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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

Controversial culture projects

By Yan Shuang (Global Times)

14:30, January 20, 2012

All design projects from the controversial Boston International Design Group (BIDG) have been officially cancelled by the government. (Global Times Photo)

It follows complaints from cultural heritage experts, who accused the company of destroying Beijing's historic structures and districts, including Nanluoguxiang and the Drum and Bell Tower area.

Government-owned Beijing Oriental Culture Economic Development Group hired BIDG to develop projects, but they were all cancelled, after the designs were roundly criticized by both heritage experts and the public, according to the Municipal Commission of Urban Planning Wednesday.

Their aborted designs include Nanluoguxiang's southern end reconstruction, and a "Time Cultural City" project at the Drum Tower which was abandoned in December 2010, and later replaced by a small museum plan.

According to BIDG's "Nanluoguxiang subway construction, Dongcheng district" plan, seen on their website, two-story buildings would replace the current one-story courtyard houses along Di'anmen Dongdajie. New, ancient-style structures with glass roofs and French windows would replace the demolished houses that have made way for the Line 8 subway extension at the south end of Nanluoguxiang.

"BIDG's designs are concepts that didn't receive government approval, while designs on historic districts require expert discussion, public notices and final government approval," an anonymous official with the commission's construction management section told the Global Times.

"We've written letters to the Dongcheng and Xicheng district governments about it," said the official, "and informed them to follow regulations and make sure the reconstructions restore their original look."

An employee with BIDG's Beijing office said yesterday she was unclear about the status of their Beijing projects, as all the bosses have left for the New Year holidays.

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