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Nanluoguxiang to get a fakeover?

(Global Times)

08:32, December 07, 2011

Subway Line 8 construction work is ongoing at the south end of Nanluoguxiang. Photo: Guo Yingguang/GT

A design company's makeover plan for Nanluoguxiang, Dongcheng district has received extensive online criticism from experts and residents for altering its original historic structures.

Boston International Design Group (BIDG), a design company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which mainly employs Chinese staff, released a series of artistic impressions of the area's future look on their website.

The design shows two-story buildings replacing the current one-story courtyard houses to the east and west of the south entrance to Nanluoguxiang, along Di'anmen Dongdajie.

The whole area will be filled with new ancient-style buildings and stores with glass roofs and French windows, according to the plan.

"This design would seriously damage the original historic style of the area, which is against the regulations on historic and cultural sites protection," said Hua Xinmin, a land property rights expert in Beijing, who is known for her work protecting the city's hutong.

"Nanluoguxiang is where I grew up and it bears all my best childhood memories. It would be such a shame to see a wonderful place get ruined," said Lin Jie, a resident who used to live in Yu'er Hutong, which connects to Nanluoguxiang.

"The protection of a historic district should at least keep the original residents there," he said.

"Reconstructions everywhere have made Beijing a fake city already, and now people don't recognise their way home," Lin said.

The future look of the south end of Nanluoguxiang, where a number of houses have been demolished already for subway construction on the Line 8 extension, is part of BIDG's project called "Nanluoguxiang subway construction, Dongcheng district, Beijing," connecting to Yu River and Shichahai area to the west, their website says.

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