A MAN with sky-high ambitions for his penthouse spent six years building a CAVE on the roof of a 26-story apartment block in Beijing.
Wealthy Chinese businessman Zhang Biqing spent more than £100,000 on his extraordinary skyline mountain retreat.
Rocks, wood, and shrubs crown the top of the otherwise drab building, while foliage swells out on the sides and is adorned with artificial rock outcroppings.
Zhang decorated his 8,600 square meter penthouse in an affluent corner of Beijing’s Haidian district with trees, bushes and stones.
There was even reportedly a garden area, a swimming pool and a small stream.
The sanctuary, located almost by the sea, was built by a construction crew over six years of painstaking detail work – in the middle of the night.
Frustrated residents had to hear banging and banging in the early hours for six long years while Zhang dodged the city’s housing inspectors who snooped around during the day.
The professor, who founded a chain of Chinese medicine clinics, originally just pimped the roof of his two-story penthouse paradise with bamboo and a few plants.
But his plans to make the roof pipes look prettier soon spiraled out of control, resulting in hordes of builders being regularly seen on the apartment complex.
The quiet penthouse found itself at the center of a bizarre legal scandal after residents filed a series of angry complaints.
Residents below the roof cave said the six-year renovation wreaked havoc on the building for over half a decade.
In addition to the annoying noise and unrest, the neighbors complained that the construction work had led to leaking cracks in the ceilings.
Others feared that the weight of the luxurious mountain palace would have compromised the structural integrity of the block of flats.
An anonymous resident said: “I’m really worried about safety. It is so heavy and could damage the foundations of the building.”
“We have complained to the building management, the city government and the People’s Congress, but no one has responded.”
Some residents said Zhang’s project damaged internal plumbing, while his wayward decorations would fall off the roof and crash into their cars on the street below.
A man who rents an apartment in the apartment building said: “He blocks the happiness of the people who live below him.”
At least two tenants are said to have moved out of the posh complex because of the tireless work.
Another resident on the 25th floor complained, “They’ve been renovating for years. They usually do this at night.”
They claimed they confronted Zhang, but said the professor was “very arrogant” and they “don’t care” about their frustrations.
A fourth neighbor added: “Our freight elevator is always full of his materials. It’s so dirty.”
Despite his alleged resistance, authorities eventually caught up with Zhang and ordered him to demolish his beloved lair in 2013.
Local officials claimed they had been trying to contact the former government adviser about the construction for four years.
The medicine mogul was forced to remove the two-story oasis within 15 days after the county government found it had not received prior approval.
In China, almost all additions to residential buildings are illegal – although wealthy residents flout the strict rules.
But as soon as they are deemed illegal, the government demands that they demolish the building as soon as possible.
Although he defended his ambitious penthouse den, Zhang agreed to obey orders and demolished the work.
However, he has criticized attempts to label the structure as a villa, saying it is “just an ornamental garden”.
Much of the rock-like building was actually made of painted materials.