On Monday officials from Beijing’s Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau gave Beijing resident Zhang Biqing 15 days to demolish the mountainous two-story villa he built on the rooftop of an entire apartment block. Local media sources have reported that Zang, a doctor of Chinese medicine and owner of a large chain of acupuncture clinics, spent six years and $130,000 constructing the villa as an extension of his penthouse flat. The bizarre structure is made of real grass and tress as well as fake rocks, and it covers the entire 1000-square-meter roof of a 26-story apartment building located in Beijing’s Haidian district. According to a report from the Bejing Morning Post building residents have complained about damage to their pipes and walls due to the rooftop construction, and at least two owners have moved out of the building after disputes with Zang.
Zang was ordered to take down his artificial mountain villa due to Chinese regulations and laws associated with the structure and layout of buildings. These laws explicitly state that, regardless of ownership, one cannot build additional roof-top structures without going through the necessary legal procedures and subsequent approval processes. Since Zang failed to seek out this approval, his villa is not only illegal but might also be unsafe. In a ChinaDaily article, Liu, an expert from the China Academy of Building Research said that an initial evaluation of the building’s design needs to be conducted prior to beginning construction. He went on to explain, “without such a risk evaluation, the construction can be very dangerous to the whole building.”
While there are many people in Beijing who move forward with building plans without receiving official government approval, Zang’s dispute came to a head because of the many disgruntled building residents affected by the construction. According to the South China Morning Post neighbors have complained repeatedly to the building management company, local urban management officials and even the police. They’ve also reported that some of the neighbors issuing complaints have endured years of harassment and threats from Zang – one 77-year-old man was forced to move out after being beaten up by Zang several times.