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Reviled Bund plan gets review

SHANGHAI'S urban planning authority will reconsider the plan for a modern high-rise complex on the historic Bund after a large majority of local citizens disapproved of the design, a senior official said yesterday. In a public survey launched by the authority, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they consider the proposed 136-meter-high SOHO twin towers too high and out of harmony with the rest of the Bund's architecture. The green-capped Peace Hotel, the tallest among Bund buildings, is 77 meters high. The planning body will organize an expert panel and involve the public to improve the plan, Xu Jian, director of the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Planning and Land Resources of Huangpu District, told Shanghai Daily. The authority accepted public opinion on the plan from July 20-25, after residents heavily criticized it in Internet postings. Construction has begun on the underground part of the complex on Zhongshan Road E2, but officials have said people can still weigh in on how to improve the building designs. A total of 1,945 residents took part in the survey after the artist's rendition of the building complex was released last month. Only 12 percent of respondents completely backed the modern high-rise design. "The Bund shall never be an experimental place for the modern buildings," a citizen surnamed Xu told the survey. "The modern buildings will look weird along with the historic Bund buildings," another citizen said. Opinions among experts were divided. Zheng Shiling, director of the Institute of Architecture and Urban Space of Shanghai at Tongji University, said the buildings should be shorter and the color should be changed, but Zheng also noted that it could be difficult to make big changes on the plan because the construction has begun. Qian Zonghao, a Bund architecture expert who supported the plan, said it would look stranger if the developer built an antique-style building. The complex, due to be completed in 2014, features four tall office buildings and two shorter buildings for commercia! l use wi th heights ranging from 136 meters to 21.5 meters. Local citizens dubbed the tallest tower, at 31 stories, and a nearby 16-story building the "harmonica-like buildings" that would mar the landscape of the city's iconic Bund. The area features more than 50 buildings of various Western architectural styles such as Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, most of which were built in the 1930s.

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