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The Beijing Man Who Built a Fake Mountaintop on His Penthouse Now Has to Destroy It

A Beijing professor's cyberpunk dream is dying.

by Derek Mead
Aug 13 2013, 2:50pm

In a bid to create the most outlandish residence possible, a wealthy Chinese man built his own mountaintop on the roof of a Beijing apartment building—a villa replete with foliage and fake craggy outcrops that took six years to build. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the structure was built illegally, and now the Chinese government has ordered Zhang Biqing to remove the 800 square meter villa within 15 days.

As you can see in the Al Jazeera report above, Zhang's home is built on top of a pretty standard 26-story apartment building. So how was he able to sneak it past regulators? Apparently, Zhang—who's referred to as both a professor and a titan of traditional medicine—was able to pay construction crews to do the work at night.

Naturally, that didn't sit well with neighbors. According to China Daily, neighbors have complained of structural damage to their apartments, as well as damage to cars parked on the street from falling construction materials. That's hardly a shock, as we are talking building a fake mountain, illegally and at night, on top of an apartment building. At least two tenants moved out of the building because of the work.

Zhang owns the penthouse apartment, and has defended his actions by saying the $130,000 he spent on the roof construction was just an effort to beautify his living space, and as time went on it kind of just sprawled out of control.

Neighbor complaints aside, the condemnation does seem a bit sudden. Local officials told China Daily that they'd been trying to contact him about the construction since 2009, but were never able to. And according to them, as soon as a structure is deemed illegal, it is required to be demolished. Zhang can appeal the decision, and if he's successful, Beijing's most incongruous rooftop will live on.