I don’t know if you heard about this yet or not, but part of the CCTV building complex in Beijing is on fire. The TVCC, or the Television Cultural Center, is a public structure housing a state-of-the-art broadcasting theater, cultural facilities, and The Mandarin Oriental, a five-star hotel. It was designed by Rem Koolhaas, head of the OMA (Office of Metropolitan Architecture). The building was set to open this year.
Here is a clip on youtube
of the fire.
The fire hasn’t spread to the more iconic CCTV tower “dakucha” or “Big Shorts” as the locals call it, though the flames are reflected in its exterior.
The cause isn’t immediately known, but it is probably due to fireworks from the Lunar New Year Celebration.
The CCTV complex has been a highly anticipated building, a showcase for China’s building boom that’s happened since the mid-1980s. It was an edifice of progress, along with the famous Olympic Stadium, the “Bird’s Nest” designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Muron. In 2004 I watched a News Hour special on China’s cultural (and architectural) explosion that’s happened over the last twenty-five years. In 1985, Shanghai had one skyscraper (over 328 feet).
At the time of syndication, there were more than 300 skyscrapers. That number has only increased, and includes dozens of cities across China.
A lot of people are calling this tragedy particularly inauspicious, coming at the end of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. In fact, this year (the year of the ox) is being approached with some trepidation in general because of the global financial crisis. See the New York Times article
Erik Amir who is a senior architect at the OMA rushed to the site. The Associated Press quoted him as saying, “I think it’s really sad that this building is destroyed before it can be opened to the public.”