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Bad boy architects & China's new face

(China Daily)

14:14, October 16, 2011

The iconic CCTV Tower in Beijing is the subject of much debate.(Source: China Daily)

BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- They are an unmistakable part of the urban cityscapes. But is China a playground for international architects or an abused testing ground for bad design? Liu Yujie examines the landscape and finds out if these new buildings are towering landmarks or lasting eyesores.

In Beijing, the National Stadium, otherwise known as the Bird's Nest, was designed by Herzog & de Muron from Switzerland. The National Center for the Performing Arts was by French architect Paul Andreu and the landmark China Central Television Headquarters in the heart of the central business district is the work of Rem Koolhaas from the Netherlands, while the Beijing Capital International Airport was designed by Norman Foster from the United Kingdom.

Since the beginning of the millennium, the works of international architects have sprung up like mushrooms in China's cities. These urban gurus not only brought their cutting-edge designs here, but also brought the whole world's attention to what can be built in China. Constant global media coverage has portrayed China as an open stage for ambitious, innovative urban design, a reputation which initially pleased those who were commissioning the building, but later raised doubts and reflections of whether the country was being misused as a testing ground for maverick projects.

It is true that today's China has both money and mind for probably the largest urban construction movement in human history, a major motivation for first-class architects overseas.

Zaha Hadid, the world's foremost female architect, drives it home when she compares China to "a perfect blank canvas" for architects with unlimited creation.

Nevertheless, Peng Peikeng, a senior commentator at Tsinghua University, is angered by the fact that some well-known foreign architects have obviously taken advantage of China's eagerness to build dazzling modern cityscapes. He feels there has been too many architectural experiments here in recent years.

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Canada at 2011-10-1770.36.49.*
Stalin suppressed artistic creativity. Some beautiful art was coming out of Russia after the 1917 revolution, but that ended when Stalin came to power. When China builds landmark buildings, if there is space, it would be nice if there was people space around or near the building, with benches, perhaps plants, etc. so people could sit and enjoy the atmosphere. One of the most important things that makes Vancouver, Canada, a liveable city is the land next to the ocean is all public space [not privately owned], mostly with walkways next to the ocean, and people can walk for miles. Best wishes for the future of China’s architects.
vita at 2011-10-16122.244.19.*
concerned observer at 2011-10-1686.183.27.*
These architectural landmarks will be white elephants and eyesores in in years to come. These western architects would never have been allowed to vandalise the skyline in their home countries as they did in China. Enough of western rubbish and get rid of the egoistic architects. China should develop its own styles of architecture organically.

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