Liebian International Building – Guiyang, China - Atlas Obscura
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Guiyang, China

Liebian International Building

On special occasions, one of the world's tallest artificial waterfalls gushes down the side of this Chinese skyscraper. 

What looks like a massive burst pipe or out of hand indoor flooding situation is actually one of the world’s tallest artificial waterfalls. On special occasions, a blend of recycled tap water and rainwater thunders down the side of this Chinese skyscraper, creating an utterly unexpected urban scene.

China has seen the rise of a lot of spectacular architecture over the years, with both architects and cities striving for attention. The Liebian International Building in Guiyang, southern China, is no exception.

Rushing down the exterior of the building is 350-foot-tall (108-meter-tall) artificial waterfall powered by four pumps. The artificial watery wonder comes at a hefty price: it reportedly costs 800 yuan (118 USD) per hour to run, and as such, is only used on special occasions.

The reactions to this architectural oddity have been mixed. Some have found it to be a creative addition to the city. Others have cruelly ridiculed it, saying that it will break soon since it was made in China. Still more joke that a lot more bathrooms will be needed on that side of the building. The first time the waterfall was turned, on it even caused local residents to report a major water leak.

Criticism aside, the Liebian International Building Waterfall is without a doubt an impressive piece of engineering. But this might be the beginning of the end of the era with this kind of spectacular architecture. In 2014, the Chinese president Xi Jinping called for an end to what he called “weird architecture” in the country.

Know Before You Go

You can walk by the building at any time, but there's a good chance you won't get to see the waterfall in action as it's only used for special occasions. 

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