Beijing man builds plush country villa - on top of 26-floor high rise compound

UPDATE: The man, known only to his neighbours as "Professor Zhang", has received no planning permission and now has 15 days to show it is legal or the house will be pulled down

A mysterious Chinese medicine practitioner has built an unplanned, unlicensed multi-story villa on top of a 26-floor residential high rise compound in Beijing.

It comes complete with elaborate fake rockeries, real trees and grass, and covers the entire of the top of the building.

The reportedly illegal construction at the Park View building in Haidian district has taken some six years, after its owner – known only to his neighbours as “Professor Zhang” – bought the then-relatively modest penthouse apartment.

Residents living below him have complained of the noise coming from the extraordinary villa, as well as water leaks and structural damage.

But amid growing anger in China that the rich can do as they please with a large degree of impunity, the building’s management company, local urban management officials and even the police have been asked to step in and help.

They initially refused to take steps to stop Prof. Zhang, and would not speak to local media.

However, Haidian district urban management official Dai Jun has now said that authorities will tear down the structure in 15 days unless the owner does so himself or presents evidence it was legally built.

The newspaper Beijing Morning News said its reporters were able to confront the eccentric homeowner, but he told them he was not concerned by what his neighbours had to say.

He said: “Since I dare to live here, I am not worried about complaints.”

And he put the noise down to the fact that he has a high-flying lifestyle, saying: “Famous people come to my place and sing. How can you stop them?”

The owner of the villa on top of this building, only known as 'Professor Yang', has been instructed to tear down the illegal building according to property managers The owner of the villa on top of this building, only known as 'Professor Yang', has been instructed to tear down the illegal building according to property managers

Users on social media website Weibo are thought initially to have drawn attention to the structure, and while many have rallied together with the increasingly discontent residents, others poked fun at the villa’s unusual appearance.

“Even the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are overshadowed by this hanging villa in Beijing,” wrote one person on the site, according to the South China Morning Post.

A view of a villa built privately on the rooftop of a 26-storey residential block in Beijing, China A view of a villa built privately on the rooftop of a 26-storey residential block in Beijing, China  

The vast majority of add-ons, alterations and renovations in China are done without proper permits, but that doesn’t stop an increasing trend of wealthier landowners moving their fences to claim public space, adding extensions to the side of buildings, and even putting extra floors (and trees) on top of their homes.

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