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Beijing probes anti-quake capabilities of "Bird's Nest," CCTV leaning towers
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13:15, June 18, 2008

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Following the Sichuan earthquake that claimed nearly 70,000 lives as confirmed so far, Beijing authorities are probing the anti-earthquake capabilities of major super-high buildings in the capital, including the uniquely-shaped National Stadium and the leaning towers of the new headquarters for China Central Television (CCTV).

Many super-high buildings with innovative design and unique shape have been sprouting up in the city in recent years. But "many were designed by foreign designers who came from non-quake zones and lacked anti-quake design experience," said a Beijing Municipal Construction Committee official on Wednesday.

"Some architecture plans are quite abnormal and beyond the existing design criteria," he said.

The committee examined 58 super-high or complicated-style buildings with a total area of 6.2 million square meters earlier this month. The final assessment results have not been released.

"It would ask developers to make changes if there were quake-prevention risks," the committee said.

Buildings in downtown Beijing and nearby suburbs were required to be able to resist an 8.0-magnitude earthquake after the neighboring Tangshan experienced a massive quake that claimed more than 240,000 lives in 1976.

The National Stadium, nicknamed the "Bird's Nest," is famous nationwide for its giant twig-like structure of metal girders and bowl-shaped roof. Covering an area of 20.4 hectares, it can seat 91,000 spectators over three floors for the Olympics.

The stadium employs a sophisticated structural design created by the China Architecture Design and Research Group through a collaboration with the Swiss-based firm Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

The two conjoined CCTV towers, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, became known worldwide for their unique shape even while under construction.

The towers, 234 meters and 194 meters high, respectively, lean six degrees and form the main building for the the new complex that has a floor space of 495,900 square meters.

Beijing will strictly carry out the anti-quake probe on all the super-high buildings from now, the Beijing Municipal Construction Committee said.

It also plans a comprehensive anti-quake probe on all the structures in Beijing. It suggests that the local residents consider quake prevention in house renovation and decoration.

All buildings must have their quake prevention plan approved by the government before being erected, it said.

Source: Xinhua

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