Global Politics

Copy That: Architectural 'Borrowing' in China

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A building (right) resembling the one designed by architect Zaha Hadid (left) is going up in the city of Chongqing, China.

For tourists who travel to China, one thing they may find is the incredible array of designer goods. But caveat emptor!

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

China is also the land of the knock-off: knock-off designer handbags, knock-off blockbuster movies on DVDs, etc. But now, it seems the knock-off has gone off the charts in terms of proportion: entire buildings.

The Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid unveiled her designs (left in the picture above) for the Wangjing Soho complex in Beijing in 2011. It's now under construction.

But a building that looks a lot like Hadid's is going up in the city of Chongqing, and it may actually be finished first.

Avi Friedman is a professor of architecture at McGill University in Montreal.

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