Chinese Architects Attempting to Faithfully Recreate Austrian UNESCO World Heritage Site

Speaking of China, as we were in that last post, currently making the rounds this week is a story out of Spiegel about a small mountain town in Austria named Hallstatt that has found itself the muse of a Chinese architecture firm. However, not wanting to merely create something inspired by the sleepy, waterfront hamlet, the firm has decided that it will make an outright recreation of the town, just located “in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.” Spiegel reports that the town’s residents aren’t happy about the prospect, but perhaps even more likely to shut the project down is that Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and already that organization is looking into the legality of such a thing:

…creating an exact duplicate of a city may not be legal, according to Hans-Jorg Kaiser from Icomos Austria, the national board for monument preservation under UNESCO. “The legal situation still needs to be examined,” he said. Building new structures based on photographs is legal, he explained, but owners must give their permission for them to be measured.

Archinect reminds its readers that this isn’t the first time a Chinese firm has gotten interested in recreating a European town. They cite Thames Town, a small village outside of Shanghai that it a recreation of “classic English market town styles.”