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Thursday, June 24, 2010

China Insights

- Steve Hoekzema, AIA, NCARB
Principal - K12 Group Leader

My wife and I just returned from a visit to Seoul, Korea and Beijing, China to spend some time with our daughter and son-in-law who are stationed at the Army Post in Seoul. We spent five days touring Beijing, and were amazed by the modern buildings - the most amazing (aside from the “water cube” and the “Bird’s nest” at Olympic Park) was the Central China Television (CCTV) building:

This project was part of an international design competition in 2002 in preparation for the 2008 summer Olympics. The Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) won with design principals Rem Koolhaas (Netherlands) and Ole Scheeren (Germany). This amazing structure appears to defy gravity with its cantilevered upper floors. The building forms a “continuous loop” at the base and at the top. The irregular grid on the building’s facades is an expression of the forces traveling through its structure.

The Chinese definitely wanted to make a major international statement with the 2008 Olympics as a backdrop; and after visiting Beijing, I believe that they succeeded. As further proof of their determination, the 2010 World Exposition is currently taking place in Shanghai, China.

Maybe it’s time to learn Mandarin…