China Says Goodbye To Its Mysterious, Illegal High-Rise Fortress

The luxurious "mountain villa" built atop a Beijing high-rise is being torn down. The $4 million penthouse was built by a Chinese health care entrepreneur named Zhang Lin on the roof of an existing apartment building earlier this year, much to the chagrin of its party-pooper occupants.

To build his totally unregulated shangri-la, Lin’s construction team had installed extra steel beams along the facade of the existing building—theoretically offsetting the extra weight. But tenants below complained of burst pipes and cracked walls, and back in August, officials demanded that Lin demolish the structure. “Now I realize it was a huge mistake,” a forlorn Lin told the New York Times.


A mistake, maybe, but a glorious one. [The People's Daily via Curbed]

Images by The People's Daily.


FYI: It's Illegal To Build a Castle On a High Rise Without Permission

In case you had dreams of one day building a giant stone fortress atop a towering apartment building without asking anybody's permission or attempting to get the proper permits, let this be a warning to you: eventually, someone's going to ask you to tear it down. That's what's happening to Zhang Lin, a wealthy professor who made a fortune in medicine and then spent six years turning the top floor of his apartment building into an illegal stone Shangri-La.

Before starting such an audacious and expensive project most people would look into the proper permits, and even conduct feasibility studies to make sure the building could support such a structure. But not Lin. He just started building, slowly bringing up the materials and supplies needed to construct the rooftop palace, including additional metal supports so that it didn't collapse into the floors below.


Unsurprisingly, cracks in the building's structure are starting to show, and the addition has resulted in broken pipes that lead to constant flooding for the residents below. Until recently, Lin hasn't seemed too concerned with their plight, throwing loud parties and doing whatever he wants, but now his neighbors have made formal complaints to the government, and given the publicity this monstrosity has generated, he's probably got some 'splainin' to do.

If Lin isn't able to prove his creation is safe and sturdy—hopefully via engineering reports and other hard data instead of giant rolls of money which have presumably kept the local government off his back until now—he's going to have to tear it all down. Or, if he's rich enough, have it airlifted to another high rise that's happy to have him as a tenant. [The Guardian & The Daily Mail]