The new Terminal 3 at Beijing airport—the largest building in the world—is not only the gateway for visitors streaming into the Chinese capital for this summer's Olympics. It's also the capstone for an unprecedented building program that has transformed Beijing into a world-scale architectural showcase. The New York Times looks at how China is translating its rapid growth and political ambition into such projects—and hoping the world notices.
The massive airport opened after only 4 years, a speed many thought impossible, and suffered none of the glitches that plagued the new Heathrow in London. The "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium, a huge aquatics center, and the state's TV headquarters, are only a few of the nation's new projects. All were designed by renowned foreign architects. “Beijing is a huge experimental site right now,” says an architectural school dean. “This modern architecture is the identity of modern China.”