Beijing has gone through a building boom in the past few years, spurred on by the 2008 Olympics. As a result the city has sprouted some amazing modern architecture from the new airport and various stadia, to apartment blocks, hotels and my favourite, the CCTV Headquarters.
Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, this building is so extraordinary that once seen, never forgotten. It is located quite near us in the CBD (central business district) in Chaoyang, so I go past it all the time and never tire of looking at it as it changes shape depending which position you view it from.
I’ve read that it has the second largest floor area of any structure in the world (the first is the Pentagon). As yet the public are not allowed in, – I am not too sure if it is actually occupied – I would LOVE to look out over Beijing from inside it.
Soon after the building was up, Beijingers gave it the nickname ‘Big Underpants’ because some of them thought it looked like a pair of Long Johns, and the nickname stuck – much to the annoyance of the authorities!
Many people dislike it, considering it too modern; but it has already become a Beijing icon, and soon they will all be so used to it that it will become another much loved symbol of this extraordinary megalopolis.