Sunday, July 22, 2012

Beijing CCTV Building

While in Beijing to teach a three-week class earlier this summer, I made sure to visit some of that city's remarkable contemporary architecture. Naturally my first stop was the China Central Television Headquarters [Jintaixizhao Station, Exit C].

The 44-story CCTV Headquarters was opened this past May (groundbreaking was in 2004). The adjacent Television Cultural Center, which was torched by wayward fireworks in 2009, remains under construction. There are, as yet, no public tours.

Writing in Newsweek, July 23/30, 2012, Christopher Dickey quotes Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas's thoughts on how his "loop" structure [supposedly nicknamed "Big Boxer Shorts" by locals] fits into the Beijing skyline: "All earlier conditions of the city coexist in Beijing -- successive waves of modernization in the '60s, '70s, and '80s -- CCTV amalgamates them in a new substance, not quite old, not quite new" (p. 50). 

Though the CCTV Headquarters is closed to visitors, I plan one day to stroll across that crooked bridge and its stunning view of the city. China is aiming to become the capital of the 21st Century, and I want to see more of how this place represents that vision.

(Photographs by Andrew Wood)

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