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Above: Greenland Centre, render courtesy BVN Architects/ Woods Bagot.
The Greenland Centre, a tower set for Sydney, is recorded as having 82 floors – but in actual fact will only have 66.
Set to be the tallest residential building in Sydney, it will be without floors 4, 14, 24, 34, 40–49, 54, 64 or 74, a decision that can be attributed to Chinese superstition. In many varieties of Chinese, the words “four” and “death” sound very similar, and as such, cultural superstition dictates the avoidance of the number. Greenland Group are the property developers behind the building, and are based in Shanghai. While avoidance of the number can stem from developers’ backgrounds, buildings that cater to foreign superstitions also work in favour when it comes to appealing to overseas investors. Domain report that there have been “5245 property approvals for foreign buyers worth $9.61 billion” in the nine months leading up to March, a number that is set to increase.
Avoidance of the number four is not exclusive to China, with the same superstition occurring in Japan, and less so in other areas of Southeast Asia.
While four is to be avoided, eight is often seen as good luck in China. Australia 108 is a residential skyscraper in Melbourne’s Southbank, and is specifically built with cultural superstition and feng shui in mind to appeal to Chinese buyers. Initial designs for the building were submitted with 108 floors (388m), and despite it now having been restricted to 100 levels, the name “108” remains due to its synonymity with good luck. The building is still under construction, and the penthouse of the building has already sold to a Chinese billionaire for a hefty $25 million.
If Chinese property investment and development continues to grow within the Australian market, it is possible that we will see more buildings curiously missing a floor, or four.