Daring Architecture Energizes Beijing

Some buildings work, some don't, but overall vibe among residents is a good one
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2008 5:30 PM CDT
Beijing's new National Stadium, constructed for the Olympics Games.   (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)
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(Newser) – Some of the world’s most adventurous architects have found a gung-ho partner in Beijing, the most noticable payoff being the soon-to-be completed CCTV headquarters—"a dazzling reinvention of the skyscraper," writes Paul Goldberger in the New Yorker. Other creations, such as an ovoid peforming arts center dismissed as "the egg" by residents, come off as "silly and cumbersome," but such risks are worth it.

"Crowding, pollution, and sprawl still define the city, but the new architecture, far from replicating an American mistake, surpasses what most American cities would be willing, or able, to do," writes Goldberger. "This has an effect on the city’s mood: people talk about the new buildings and, whether they approve or not, recognize that such daring constructions would not get built anywhere else."