There’s no shame in designing a cultural icon for China’s government, says Jacques Herzog, the man behind the already famous “Bird’s Nest” Olympic stadium in Beijing. Though he deplores the regime’s political record, Herzog saw taking the project as a way to change more in China than he would have by declining—and was able to sneak some subversive capabilities into its design, he told der Spiegel.
“We see the stadium as a type of Trojan horse,” Herzog says. “We made everyday meeting places possible in locations that are not easily monitored, places with all kinds of niches and smaller segments. It’s like a mountain with all kinds of different routes and paths where people can run into each other in unexpected ways.”