Thursday, 3 January 2008

China Central Television Building (CCTV)

I took a taxi ride out to the new CCTV building over the Christmas break. They have recently connected the two main pillars in a feat of engineering that can only be truly appreciated by standing under it, walking around it and hopefully the next time I go by sneaking into it.

Architecture for me is a love affair and I've been folllowing the Dutch mastermind for the CCTV building in Beijing for a while now. His name is Rem Koolhaas and this latest project is truly the only building since the the Guggenheim in Bilbao, which I've felt has challenged and then extended my appreciation and meaning of the building form. I was close to trembling while standing under that huge overhang - but maybe that was the hangover too. Its all steel and feels like a Airbus A340 is suspended over your head. Here are the pictures from my N95 mobile phone camera that really don't do it justice.

It appears to defy general gravitational and architectural balance guidelines. I'd really like to hear what Owen Hatherley of Nasty Brutalist and Short thinks of this design. I feel that this qualifies in some respects as as good example of brutalist with other design nods and dimensions that I'd love to hear Owen's erudite (and quality socialist I might add) views.

The shot below is really pushing the zoom feature on the N95 to the max. The slightest movement shows up on the final shot but I think it starts to give a feel for all the safety netting suspended underneath the overhang as it was conjoined recently.

I couldn't help but look at all the lovely media space waiting to be made beautiful. Or at least let Beijing use it as a graffiti space. Its huge and rusting at the moment.

It needs to be walked around to appreciate all its angles.

If you look really hard. You can see the construction workers walking on a little horizontal section at the point where the sky meets the upper part of the joining section. Or put another way the other side of where the sun's glare is.

Just seeing this building means I have no choice now but to buy a decent camera. Any suggestions very much welcome. You might be able to see what I'm trying to capture. Expect more Beijing architecture. There are some amazing pieces around the city for the Olympics.


  1. Wow, that is incredible. Canon EOS range is meant to be good.

    Although my wife is in China right now, she isn't going to Shanghai; so i'm still I would hate to go to China and not see some of that exciting architecture. (and I have to work...)

  2. rem's the man! you would probably find dubai equally as fascinating charles - in fact, i think there is a koolhas building there too! i'm looking forward to more posts about some of the interesting architecture/urban planning that's happening in your new home town, mr.

  3. And some advertising people think their jobs are difficult ...

    I'm quite possibly going to be in your new town in a couple of weeks Mr Frith - drinkiepoos?

  4. I think Shanghai has one of the most exciting skylines in the world Rob M. However Beijing has certainly pushed the envelope with work like the CCTV building.

    When ya comin' Lauren? I went to the art district for new year. I think you would like it.

    Cynical Rob. Yes way. Just let me know where and when to meet and I'll make it there. Otherwise I'm planning a Shanghai trip and can do that when you are there too. I just have to write a presentation to show my face there.

  5. Tops ... will let you know, depends on a rather nasty phonecall I'm having in 2 hours, ha!

  6. Is it seriously called the CCTV building? I once had a heart sinking time living in Brutalist housing on Roosevelt Island, NY - home to amputees, the insane and film crews looking for cheap locations. Strikes me the CCTV is not so much brutalist as caesarist, towering with a view of all - a see-tzar-ist. Moxie. X

  7. Hi Sash. Yes its called the CCTV building and I don't think anyone here knows the irony. Excellent comment m'lady.