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Posts Tagged ‘Beijing architecture’

Architecture In Beijing Is On Fire. Literally.

Monday, February 9th, 2009

CCTV Tower Fire

This morning I awoke to news that one of the towers in OMA’s CCTV complex, the not yet completed TVCC tower and the future home to the 241 room Mandarin Oriental Hotel, was burning. I have written about this high profile architectural project several times previously, so news of the fire definitely got my attention. Actually, by the time I had gotten news of this event the tower had been completely destroyed by the fire, and authorities were fearing that it would collapse, with news that the fire spread across the entire building in less than an hour. This is what the 34 story tower looked like before the fire (TVCC is the building in the middle):

TVCC Tower

The fire was started by a fireworks display, and this video seems to actually catch the start of the fire on the rooftop of the building, though this is not yet verified:

Some incredibly shaky video of the building burning and disintegrating:

No word yet on anybody injured or killed by the blaze. More on this at the and at , where there are several more videos of the fire. BLDGBLOG gets in a jab with .

Update: Here’s a much better video showing the building ablaze with the sound of fireworks in the background:

Update 2: There are some incredible images, like this one below (which I saw at ), available at :


Update 3: Holy crap!

Update 4: An excellent article in the bringing a bit more detail to this architectural tragedy, perhaps the biggest revelations being that the fire stemmed from an illegal fireworks show being put on by CCTV in very close proximity to the TVCC building (see first video above), and that the Chinese government and media went into overdrive trying to prevent news and images of this fire from surfacing in any of the Chinese news channels. There is also an excellent slide show with the article, some of the images in which depict the burnt aftermath of the TVCC fire.

There are many more detailed images of the burned out TVCC tower .

Tiny Architecture

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

If you cannot identify the two buildings above you’ve been living under a rock. Both have graced the covers of just about every mainstream magazine and newpaper in the last year, not to mention my own obsession not just with the bird’s nest and watercube pictured above, but also with the CCTV Tower. Architecture in Beijing has been very, very hot with not only a rolodex of high profile architects present, but some incredibly innovative design and use of materials.

Over the last year a favorite blogger, , has captured stunning images of this new Beijing architecture as it was completed prior to the olympics being hosted in Beijing last summer. You can see more of her work on her page. The image above was taken by toomanytribbles from the Ling Long Pagoda, and for it she employed the very cool effect called . I love it.

Let The Games Begin

Friday, August 8th, 2008

And begin in an incredibly memorable way. Holy crap. A couple breathtaking images of the fireworks display for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing earlier today. Gorgeous. Below, Beijing National Stadium (The Bird’s Nest) explodes in a crown of thousands of fireworks.

This next image is the Beijing National Stadium again but with the National Aquatics Center in the foreground:

Definitely an impressive display, and all the more because of the dramatic architecture that is the backdrop for the spectacle. Nice work, everyone.

Images are from and I found them via .

For CCTV, The Fog of Reality

Friday, July 4th, 2008

I came across the image above, taken by  on June 20, 2008, this morning at . I have been following the progress of the OMA team’s CCTV tower in Beijing for the last few months as it has been an incredibly interesting project to see come together. I said before that the construction of this tower is at least as interesting as the design itself.

This picture of the CCTV tower blanketed in the thick smog of Beijing is quite a contrast to the other crisp, clear images I have shown here. Sadly, this will be how people experience this structure a good part of the time, at least those times that there is a lack of the strong, but infrequent, northerly wind that can clear the air of the city. In the brief dispatch from James Follows at The Atlantic, he points out that the Olympics are less than two months away. This pollution is creating a serious image problem for the city of Beijing, especially given the enormous emphasis the Chinese government has put on hosting the Olympics this year, and the symbolism of hosting this event to the rest of the world.

CCTV Tower Update

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

As construction crews rush to complete the CCTV tower in Beijing the systems for using the building’s surface as a broadcast medium are beginning to be tested. It was intended from the beginning with the original that the skin of the tower would be active and dynamic. This video gives us an idea of what that will be like.


OMA’s CCTV Tower Fetishists

Friday, May 16th, 2008

CCTV Tower construction photo

It would seem that I am very much not alone in my utter fascination with the design and construction of the CCTV tower going up in Beijing. I recently came across a mother load of incredible images on that are expansive in capturing the progress of building the tower, and beautiful in the quality of the photography. Last night these images cost me close to two hours of sleep.

The Water Cube

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

The Beijing Aquatics Center (The Water Cube)

Having recently discussed the Beijing National Stadium it seems only fitting to also take a look at its immediate neighbor, the Beijing National Aquatics Center. This building is the manifestation of the winning designs presented by the team of Australian architecture firm PTW, Arup, and the China State Construction and Engineering Corporation (CSCEC). It is made up of a steel space frame fitted with polymer pillows allowing more light penetration than traditional glass while providing a potential 30% reduction in energy costs.

The rendering below shows the Water Cube next to the also very recognizable Beijing National Stadium, or “Bird’s Nest”.

The Water Cube and The Bird’s Nest

It is a gorgeous building, and for the Olympics will hold 17,000 people for the swimming, diving and synchronized swimming events. After the Olympics it will be converted into a community recreational center. The facade can be lit and animated, adding another level of dynamism to an already dynamic design.

The Water Cube lighting show

I found the following video via , a favorite blog of mine by an expat living in Beijing:

44,000 Tons of Steel

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

The Bird’s Nest via toomanytribbles

That would be 44,000 tons of steel and the equivalent of $423 million in construction cost. The Beijing National Stadium (pictured above in a gorgeous photo by ), often referred to as Herzog & de Meuron’s “Bird’s Nest”, is essentially completed after four years of very high profile construction. Though Herzog & de Meuron are usually given credit for the design, credit in fact goes to the incredibly effective team made up of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, ArupSport, and the Chinese Architecture Design and Research Group in collaboration with the team from Herzog & de Meuron. Regardless, this is an incredible project to have pulled off.

It’s a stunning structure. The massive yet delicate quality of the steel skeleton seems to defy the enormous scale of the building. The image below is a detail of the steel super structure while under construction:

Herzog & de Meuron’s Bird Nest detail

I love this image below with the light glinting off of the steel at night:

The Bird’s Nest at night

Progress Photos of OMA’s CCTV Tower

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

CCTV Tower by toomanytribbles

The author of , a blog that I follow and really enjoy, lives in Beijing and periodically posts her progress photos of the looming CCTV tower (posted about here previously) designed by Rem Koolhaas and the team at OMA. She just posted a set of beautiful photos on that I highly suggest viewing. The CCTV tower is impressive as a design, but I find myself even more intrigued by watching it be constructed.

The Evolution of CCTV

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

CCTV via toomanytribles

I have been closely following the progress of with Chinese Central Television (CCTV). The initial design presented an iconic tension, but also seemed to be dangerously monolithic. The writer of , a blog that I thoroughly enjoy and subscribe to, was recently in China and snapped several gorgeous images from which she produced a cool video of the CCTV tower under construction and in the context of the neighboring buildings. Seeing this building take shape in its environment is exciting, and reassures me that OMA knows what the hell they are doing. This is a very, very cool building. I cannot wait to see the interior environments. Here is a rendering of the building design:

CCTV Tower rendering