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China adds 98 sites to architectural heritage list

The country’s first 20th-Century Chinese Architectural Heritage List debuted with look-worthy sites

When you think "Chinese architecture" you might imagine the country’s contemporary experimental buildings (or bizarre collection of "weird" designs). You probably don’t think of China’s historic 20th-century structures. But the Chinese Society of Cultural Relics and the Architectural Society of China want to change all that.

The groups just issued a list of 98 preservation-worthy buildings in the first 20th-Century Chinese Architectural Heritage List. The structures range from the Great Hall of the People running along the western edge of Tiananmen Square to the Russian-style Saint Sofia Cathedral in Harbin, Heilongjiang.

The buildings were selected both for their architectural importance and for the roles they played in China’s history. While it isn’t clear whether the sites will receive additional resources, Mr. Shan Jixiang, head of the Chinese Society of Cultural Relics, told The Straits Times that the list should help raise awareness of the need to preserve more recent buildings for posterity.

"Masterpieces of the 20th century prove that Chinese architects' spirit and techniques are well inherited. And they deserve to be passed on to modern times," said Mr. Jixiang.

The list comes just after reports of a botched restoration of the Great Wall, that left a 5-mile stretch of the 700-year-old architectural icon capped with cement.