The 74-story Gate to the East was designed to bring some architectural triumph to the Chinese city of Suzhou, 45 miles east of Shanghai. RNJM, the British architecture firm behind the building, called it “a mix of westernised pure form and Chinese subtlety” that “represents the significance of the China in the world today”.
Unfortunately, now the 4.5bn yuan ($700 million) construction is nearing an end, the building is suddenly being mocked widely in Chinese press and social networks. Even state-run news agency Xinhua has published a (completely hilarious) take-down of the building, with an intro that reads: “It’s the Arc de Triomphe with an oriental twist, but many Chinese netizens think it resembles a pair of long underwear.”
According to Xinhua, Weibo users first picked up on the trend, with hundreds of thousands of comments reading “long-johns vs. big boxer shorts” in less than an hour. “No matter what kind of pants, it is good construction if it does not fall apart,” one blogger wrote. “Otherwise, it will become open-crotch pants.”
The Telegraph reports that other papers have got in on the act — “Is it an Arch or just pants?”, reads the Shanghai Daily’s front page.
Here’s an artists impression of the finished building: