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Beijing architecture is its own spectator sport


I kept this picture of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium in my header for as long as I could stand it.

There is some stunning architecture in Beijing, but the Bird’s Nest is not one of those “wow” structures for me. It ranks more as a “hmm” or a “weird.”

Then there was the day I finally realized what it reminded me of, and I wasn’t able to see it any other way after that. Especially when I see aerial views:

It’s a bed pan. A giant bed pan. With rubber bands around it. Sorry, but that’s the way I feel about it. I know that’s probably a very impolitic observation, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Perhaps I can redeem myself by looking beyond the Olympic stadium. Right across the way is the National Aquatic Center, aka the “Water Cube,” the Olympic swimming and diving venue.

Pretty cool. But before any of the athletes got to their Olympic venues, they probably landed at Beijing Capital International Airport’s new Terminal 3:

It sports China’s traditional red and gold, and the roof is supposed to evoke the scales of a dragon. Overall it is twice the size of the Pentagon, making it the largest building in the world (although I’ve no idea how that is calculated). It’s even Feng Shui compliant.

This is Pangu Plaza, dubbed “The Dragon Building”:

The tallest tower is the dragon’s head, with the four towers behind it forming the dragon’s tail. Not what I’d call jaw-dropping beauty, but an interesting concept. The New York Times ran a fascinating article about it, along with a picture of the entire building (I had to spank my hands to keep from putting it in here.) It’s huge (seven football fields long), still under construction, and contains incredibly expensive apartments, a shopping mall, office space, and a seven-star hotel (naive ‘lil country girl that I am, I thought five-star was the top rating). (Okay, I just read this is one of two seven-star hotels in the world, the other being Dubai’s Burj Al Arab. Remember that for your next Trivial Pursuit game.)

I’ve saved the best for last. My absolute favorite “Holy cow! Wow!” building in Beijing is the CCTV (China Central Television) headquarters building.

2 Comments »

  1. but the Bird’s Nest is not one of those “wow” structures for me. It ranks more as a “hmm” or a “weird.”

    I have to say I agree with you – when I heard way back when that they were building a birds nest and that is was going to be stunning – I was intrigued.

    Then I saw it being built and finally finished – all I thought then was that is was a load of crap.

    Totally pointless and, indeed, ugly.
    ___________
    No doubt it’s full of all the latest technology. And I understand bird nests are special to the Chinese. Maybe they love it.

  2. I’d be afraid to look in that CCT building, at least in the top horizontal frame.
    ___________
    Good point. I hadn’t thought about that. Definitely, that bldg is something I’m content to admire from afar. I’ve never been real big on gravity-defying except, strangely, I do love flying. But see, planes are MEANT to defy gravity. Buildings … not so much. Uhh … hard to explain, but my gut knows the difference.

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