As Guangzhou is one of China's leading commercial and manufacturing regions, it seems rather appropriate (if not overly blunt) to have an iconic building on its skyline that looks like money. The brand new Guangzhou Circle is the new home for the Guangdong Plastic Exchange, where over 33 billion USD in plastic is expected to trade hands this year.
The 138-meter-tall building resembles an ancient Chinese coin, or a "bi" (a jade disc which symbolized the elite, and the heavens). The building rests on the edge of the Pearl River, and with its reflection below, the building takes the form of the number eight -- and eights, of course, are considered to represent good fortune in China.
On World Architecture News, the building's chief engineer, Wang Zhanshan, commented, "It's a real fusion of Western and Chinese design. The distinctive feature of the building is that it is shaped like an old Chinese jade, or a waterwheel, and also has good feng shui for attracting fortune. A golden coin, jade or waterwheel alongside the river means luck to Cantonese: Water brings money."
Money is a recurring theme of the edifice, as the building cost 159 million USD to create, but not everybody thinks the money was well spent. The online commentary on the building is overwhelmingly negative. Bloggers call the architect "an idiot," dismissing the building as a waste of taxpayers' money. One described the structure as China's best example of what is done by the "tuhao jin" (China's new and unrefined millionaires). But even the critics will surely snap a few cell phone pictures of the giant coin, if only to further criticize it.
As the Circle Building just opened in December 2013, the public spaces are not yet open. In the future, a restaurant-cafe is slated to open up on the outdoor patio within the building's central hollow.
Address: #1 Yuan Rd, Liwan District,
Getting there: Xilang subway station is the closest to the building, though the building is still 6 km southeast of the station.