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Tuesday22 July 2014

Chinese liken RMJM tower to pair of underpants

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Critics turn on Gate to the East design

A new building by RMJM going up in Suzhou has been likened by Chinese media to a pair of giant underpants.

The 74-storey Gate to the East is due to be completed later this year and, according to RMJM’s website, “has drawn inspiration from the historic and cultural references of the traditional famous Gardens of Suzhou and the curtain wall overlays the tower like the local Suzhou silk”.

gate to the east

RMJM’s Gate to the East under construction

But after an initially positive reaction, the Daily Telegraph reported that the Chinese press has changed its tune.

The Shanghai Daily asked: ‘Is it an arch or just plain pants?’ while the state-run agency Xinhua wrote: ‘New giant tower branded “pants”’.

And users of China’s version of Twitter, Weibo, have also weighed in. “This should be called Pants of the East, not the Gate of the East,” said one. Another blogger quoted by Xinhau asked: “Why does China look like the playground of foreign designers with laughable architecture ideas?”

RMJM Gate to the East China

How RMJM’s Gate to the East will look when completed

RMJM is not the first overseas architect to stir up a storm in China with Rem Koolhaas’s newly completed Beijing headquarters for China Central Television being likened by some bloggers to a pair of “big shorts”.

Once completed, the Gate to the East will run across 340,000sq m.

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Readers' comments (27)

  • Munter Roe

    It look like a entrance to something all right...

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  • Looks like a pair of skinny jeans. It's well weapon.

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  • zecks_marquise

    that's funny because RMJM's directors are full of sh..

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  • Unbelievable that a whole lot of people were looking at this for months and not one of them realised it looked like a pair of lederhosen!

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  • Hope it doesn't emanate a load of sh... and hot air like those at '....' !

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  • That building looks just like my warm winter long johns. I'm not sure I want to see my long johns magnified to hundreds of times their actual size though. But it's interesting to see how when architects no longer understand architectural form and can't speak any architectural language, that they revert to archetypes lying deep in their personal consciousness: Foster's suppository (a/k/a the "Gherkin) is the most glaringly embarrassing example, and now we have a pair of underpants. I wonder what's next?

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  • I think there's confusion here between the English and American definitions of "pants" - surely it's the American one that's been referenced here - so what we see is an enormous pair of trousers - with big boots on! The reporter's suggestion of underpants is erroneous?

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  • Sebastian Cuff

    At least QT never looked in his wardrobe for design inspiration.

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  • "I think there's confusion here between the English and American definitions of "pants" - surely it's the American one that's been referenced here - so what we see is an enormous pair of trousers - with big boots on! The reporter's suggestion of underpants is erroneous?"

    Spot on David: What's the point of having a reporter who doesn't know the Chinese speak 'American'! Doh.

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  • Kirsten Elliott

    Blue jeans and Doc Martens. Wonderful!

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