The Chinese are well known for inventiveness and creativity. Consider, for example, "Chinese DIY Inventions," an Atlantic Monthly In Focus gallery of home-built vehicles, aircraft, submarines, and robots. One peculiar trend in Chinese architecture is the practice of building single-family houses on the flat roofs of high-rise buildings, as in this example from Twisted Sifter: ("Houses Built on Roof of Shopping Mall in China").
But even in the Far East, you can go too far. One Chinese man's dream is about to end, reports Yahoo News ("Beijing cracks down on bizarre apartment-top villa," by Christopher Bodeen/AP). Professor Zhang Li, who owns a chain of acupuncture clinics, has been undone by Internet fame after the story of his over-the-top project went viral on the Web.
"A medicine mogul spent six years building his own private mountain peak and luxury villa atop a high-rise apartment block in China's capital, earning the unofficial title of 'most outrageous illegal structure.' Now, authorities are giving him 15 days to tear it down," the story reports. "The craggy complex of rooms, rocks, trees and bushes looming over the 26-story building looks like something built into a seaside cliff, and has become the latest symbol of disregard for the law among the rich as well as the rampant practice of building illegal additions."
Neighbors have complained for years, but were met with indifference, CNN reports ("Beijing professor builds illegal mountain villa on rooftop of apartment block," by David McKenzie). "It's very noisy and they are always bringing rocks and things up the elevator," neighbor Zhang Li told the network. "It's definitely not safe. With all those boulders up there, what would happen if there was an earthquake?"
People on the street reacted with cynicism, but also with some admiration. "It's obvious he is powerful, there's no way he could do illegal building like that without knowing people," one passerby told CNN. But another commented: "If I had that kind of money, I would do it too."