RMJM skyscraper dubbed 'big pants'
by Chinese – Telegraph


Gate to the East tower image by RMJM Architects

Dezeen Wire: a new skyscraper in Suzhou designed by British architects RMJM has been likened to 'giant underpants' by Chinese commentators, reports the Telegraph.

Update 6 September 2012: RMJM have sent an official response to our story, saying "While some critics view the unfinished skeleton as a laughable pair of low-rise jeans, the gateway is a far cry from a joking matter." For the full statement, scroll down to the comments section or click here.

The two-legged Gate to the East tower, which is due to be completed by the end of the year, has come under attack from Chinese media outlets and bloggers. "Is it an arch or just plain pants?" asked a recent front page of the Shanghai Daily, while the state-run news agency Xinhua quoted a Chinese blogger who wrote: “Why does China look like the playground of foreign designers with laughable architecture ideas?”

The 300 metre high RMJM skyscraper has been billed by the architects as an "iconic gateway" to Suzhou, 45 miles west of Shanghai.

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  • spatch

    Nobody wants to wear the trousers in the RMJM office right now.

  • abbs

    I am really sorry, but it is very pathetic they picked this concept. Bad form, bad concept, bad taste.

  • zizi

    China has been the playground of architects with laughable
    ideas for a long time now, about time someone said it out loud.

  • JWP
  • Tiffany

    The CCTV tower in Beijing is also known as Big Shorts… the next wave of unwelcome pants-based architecture in China seems to be coming along well.

  • Marcus/Dezeen

    RMJM have supplied the following official response to our story:


    There has been much controversy over the development site home to the Gate of the Orient in Suzhou, Jiamgsu province, China. Some say its early stages of construction resemble an 88-story pair of trousers. The “Gateway to the East,” as locals call it, has become an iconic symbol of the recent economic rise in Asia, and will be the largest gate-like structure in the world when completed.

    Designed by global award-winning Architecture and Design firm, RMJM, the Gate of the Orient sits at the centerpiece of Suzhou’s industrial zone, and bears an arch-like resemblance to that of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Just as the Arc remembers those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, celebrating their various victories over oppressors, the “Gateway to the East” beckons a commemoration of the modern rise of Asia’s status on the global stage, celebrating its unprecedented economic rise and towering six times as high as her French counterpart.

    While some critics view the unfinished skeleton as a laughable pair of low-rise jeans, the gateway is a far cry from a joking matter. The Gate of the Orient promises to be one of the most complex high-rise structures in the world, boasting the most use of steel per unit volume in China, the highest Suzhou-style Chinese classic garden, the deepest cellar in China containing a massive intermodal transport hub, the highest overpass in China and the highest swimming pool in China – just to name a few of its soon-to-be architectural feats.

    So who’s wearing the pants, you ask? China. During the last thirty years China’s economy has changed from a centrally planned system that was in large part closed to international trade to a market-oriented structure with a rapidly growing private sector, ushering China into the present as the second largest economy in the world.

    Thanks to the architectural ingenuity of the global architectural team at RMJM, the Suzhou horizon will forever be defined by a welcoming arch under which all can pass. It will tell the story to those who visit the “Venice of the East” that China isn’t a maritime trade route of the past, but a global powerhouse of the future.

    • reader

      “Boasting the most use of steel per unit volume in China.”

      How does RMJM normally promote its’ sustainability credentials? Which engineers were instructed to use as much steel as possible? Otherwise its a cleverly written though bland and autocratic response. Congratulations.

    • hgj

      This PR response is as nonsensical and lame as the tower they designed in the first place. Is this even real or is someone pretending to be Marcus?

      • Yes it's actually me and the response is genuine, from RMJM's marketing director.


    • guest

      WelI guess it'll need some kind of architectural feat to go at the bottom of its architectural legs…

  • Heraud

    I was in Suzhou. It seems that one “leg” has foundation issues (sink of two meters…) The work is stopped…

    Stephane Paris

  • Natalie M.

    Those are some tight pants LOL! While I can see the likeness now, I have a feeling the project will look much better once it's finished. But for now, yes, a pair of pants indeed!

  • jack ho

    China is the test place for rubbish buildings in the world today. Great pity! Chinese people have to stop it quickly.

  • Jbone

    Doesn’t matter how ugly it is. It’ll remain half built and they’ll never find tenants or buyers to fill it like every other building in China.

    Watch the bubble burst people. It will make the Lehman shock look like nothing.

  • Suzhou is a interesting city and will become more interesting with this big pants building.