Evil Has a New Home

Take a look at this building:

Evil's new home

I know what you’re thinking: this building radiates pure evil! What on God’s green earth could this architectural abomination be?!

Well, I’ll tell you. It’s Shanghai’s municipal PSB headquarters.

Now I’m not saying that China’s Public Security Bureau is “bad.” All I’m saying is that I think dark forces were involved in the creation of this particular structure.

But don’t just take my word for it. Amy agrees with me. But you must stand before it in the flesh for the full effect.

This building casts its shadow of fear on South Wuning Road (武宁南路).


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. half way across the globe I can almost feel the creepyness this building exudes. Wonder what it looks like in real life (i’m assuming that’s a 3D mockup).

  2. I was there pketh! I fought off Gozar the Gozarian and the gate keeper long enough for John to get the shot, so don’t tell me that’s not real! The only way to beat it is to cross the streams.

  3. John,

    There definitely is something a little, uh, imposing about that building. It looks like it belongs on the capital planet of some galactic empire.

    It’s really funny how certain buildings inspire a certain uneasiness, no matter what their purpose. I’ll always remember the library at Queen’s, my alma mater in Kingston, Ontario. Although it was supposed to be a place of learning (and super modern at that), it always creeped me out. check it out at:


    Tell me that does not look like some evil warlord’s fortress.

  4. To me the building looks like it could house “The Daily Planet”. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Clark Kent walk out, or Superman fly across the sky.

  5. Is that a “death’s head” (skull) image it see lurking in the background at the top of the building?

  6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: China has the world’s most abyssmal architects.

  7. Are you living in Gotham City? I can hear the Joker’s evil cackle as he sits in some office on the top floor planning his conquest of Shanghai and then the world.

  8. FreeJack Says: March 24, 2004 at 9:43 am

    You just needed to Photoshop a giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man walking by and a swirling vortex of clouds above, and the image would be complete. There is no Dana, only Zool…

  9. Da Xiangchang Says: March 24, 2004 at 9:44 am

    Oh, give me a break. Would the building look even a tenth as scary if the sky wasn’t embellished? With that sky, the Statue of Liberty would look scary!

    I personally find architecture in China fascinating. One interesting fact is that most, if not all, of China’s skyscrapers were built within the past decade. There are no Chrysler or Empire State Building to offset the ultramodernity of its present highrises. So, despite the fact that China’s a very old country, its cities’ skylines are the most modern in the world. Of course, a lot of the buildings are not aesthetically pleasing–i.e., they’re ugly as shit–but so what? You are witnessing architectural history!

  10. history it may be, but even with a nice blue sky I don’t anyone would remember a sight like this favorably .. even moreso now that I know it’s real 🙂

  11. Da Xiangchang Says: March 24, 2004 at 11:00 am

    Incidentally, there’s a great website on skyscrapers:


    The database includes all the major buildings in the world, including highrises in China. You can search by city too, like Shanghai or Hong Kong or Beijing . . . I can spend hours on this website!!!

  12. The building is a modestly updated version of the standard government buildings throughout the old Soviet Union and its then satellites. If you’ve ever been to any of those places, this style – in various sizes – is cookie-cuttered as city/county/sstate hall everywhere you go.

    You expect Commies to have imagination or to allow others to create freely or that an architect would dare to depart far from the party lines?

  13. Da Xiangchang,

    I’m also really interested in architecture, and that was one of the reasons I was really excited to come live in China (Shanghai, Hong Kong,etc.)

    In North America at least, people want their skyscrapers unique and original. A company won’t come across very well if its HQ is a dirty concrete block (see Hydro Quebec in Montreal, ugghghgh). A memorable building is a way to sell a corporate name (see Sun Life building in Montreal).

    In China, however, modernization is the overarching goal, aethestics be damned. The building’s basic shapes aren’t really the problem: I would say you are looking more at the result of rushed building with cheap materials and shoddy workmanship. North American cities, in their current state, seem to think one building at a time. But Chinese cities, in their rush to catch up with some fictional America (not to mention outdo each other), go for broke and want whole downtown cores popping up over night. With this kind of instant modernization, creative design gets tossed. It might be a cultural difference in terms of aesthetics; many people around here think that a concrete block with reflective windows drowned in neon is beautiful because it is “modern”. It fairly obvious this sort of design would fare very well back home.

    They could build amazing skyscrapers around here given Chinese architectural history. So it’s a bit sad to see so many cities opting for America on the cheap. And given the poor quality of certain buildings, it might get a bit scary around here in 10-20 years or so.

  14. no, Da Xiangchang, it really DOES look that creepy/evil, even w/out the embellished sky. the sky john “improved” just accentuates the true aspect of the building, which i remember as looking even darker and eerie than this picture conveys. i started making gotham city comments from the moment i saw it. the fact that there’s a high concrete wall all around the base makes it seem like some inpregnable fortress of evil from which there can be no escape….

  15. greg, you crack me up! i miss you and the rest of the gang!!! hugs all around 🙂

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